The Idea in Brief When people need help completing complex projects, they select the colleagues best able to do the job—not just those they like. This has big implications for your organization. Good things happen when people who like each other collaborate—projects flow quickly; people gladly help each other. Apply this three-pronged strategy: Manufacture liking in critical relationships.

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Like it or not, likeability matters. The study identified four workplace personality types: Lovable star Competent jerk Incompetent jerk Managers and coworkers clearly prefer the first and avoid the last.

But it gets more interesting when you must choose between the middle two. While managers say "competence trumps likeability," the reverse seems true in practice.

Jerks can turn your workplace into a "Survivor" rerun. It seems like a do-or-die situation, because their whole self-esteem is on the line. If others respond by leaving them out, jerks will blame the other people. Brutally honest self-evaluation may be needed to reinvent your bad self. Try these steps: Review your performance evaluations. Take the comments to heart.

If the answer is no, find out why. Too painful? Melnick suggests an anonymous survey. Ask peers to fill out an anonymous survey on SurveyMonkey.

Then try to figure out who thinks you stink. Reflect on your work relationships. Do people seem happy to see you? Do they respond to emails? Are you included in meetings or on projects? Consider a career coach for work issues and a therapist for personal problems. The best way to influence people is to ask questions and listen to their answers. The best way to get to the top is to have both skill sets, to be competent and likeable.

There are few jobs where you can just sit in your cubicle and do your work alone. Related Articles.


Competent Jerks and Lovable Fools

Further posting, copying or distributing is copyright infringement. To order more copies go to www. Assign likeable best able to do the job—not just those your organization, use these tactics: people to roles where they can link people they like. For example, have them lead a for likeability over ability. Create program to communicate new practices informal gathering areas where people can This has big implications for your organiza- throughout your organization. Others will engage in water-cooler-style chats.


Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks


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