This article stresses likeability as a key characteristic of any good manager and offsets the idea that it has to come at the cost of effectiveness.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Business studies, careers

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the components of likeability?
  • Does it have to come at the cost of effectiveness?
  • How can you be both likeable and effective as a manager?

New Terminology:


Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Often when individuals are appointed managers, they place their attention on effectiveness as the way in which they can best please their superiors and justify their promotion. This frequently comes at the cost of likeability and creates problems for the newly-appointed manager. Too frequently, likeability is equated with softness and a lack of performance expectations. Research, however, is showing that to be anything but the truth. Likeability can actually be inspiring, resulting in increased effectiveness and productivity. This lesson will use the article as a basis to have students debate the degree of importance of both effectiveness and likeability and to realize that they are not mutually exclusive.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students to indicate whether they think likeability or effectiveness is the more important trait in a manager.
  • Have those who indicated likeability move to one side of the room and those who indicated effectiveness move to the other side of the room.
  • Inform the two sides that they have 10 minutes to develop an argument that will support their position.
  • Once the 10 minutes is up, hold a loosely structured debate during which each side can present and defend its case.
  • Once this has been completed, ask the class as a whole to discuss whether or not these two concepts are mutually exclusive; in other words, can a person be a likeable and effective manager?
  • To aid in the discussion, have the students define the term likeable and then explain how a person can remain likeable but also be effective.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Once this has been completed, provide the students with copies of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Ask them to identify anything new they learned from what they have just read and to explain how it supports the idea that a person can be both likeable and effective as a leader.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • explain that likeability and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive;
  • provide details of how a person can be seen as likeable and how those characteristics can actually assist him or her in being effective.

Confirming Activity:

  • Have the students, individually in a brief writing assignment, identify what they believe are the three most important attributes of a likeable person and explain why they believe them to be so important.