As a former business editor for a group of newspapers, I enjoy reading articles regarding workplace relationships and management styles.
I read an article this morning that can have a direct benefit for Christians who practice the lessons described by the author.
Published orginally in Inc. magazine, the article describes seven characteristics of likeable bosses who foster greater productivity among employees.
As I read this list, I was reminded that these same seven characteristics can help Christians to be more likeable in the workplace or schools or neighborhood or at home.
And the more likeable we are, the more “listen-able” we are to the non-Christians around us.
In view of our mission to share faith with others according to the timing and leading of the Holy Spirit, boosting our ability to influence others is a very important thing.
So let’s appy these faith-adapted principles at every opportunity.
1. Be Friendly
Sounds obvious, but simply taking a moment to greet your unsaved friends by name and make small talk with them goes a long way toward increasing your likeability. Be as approachable and accessible as possible. Take time to compliment others and ask them how their day is going. Be patient; remember that it’s important to set aside time for your people, no matter how busy you are. In fact, that busyness — yours and theirs — makes a friendly word even more important.
2. Be Available
Some pretty amazing ideas for life success come from non-Christians, but if the Christians aren’t approachable by non-Christians, most of these ideas will never surface. Non-Christians are more likely to come to share their ideas and potential solutions when their Christians make it clear that they value their others’ opinions and want to hear them. While not every idea is going to be a winner, it’s very much in your interest to hear people out. Showing non-Christians that their opinions and ideas are important to your life is a wonderful way to keep your relationships energized and happy–and boost your likeability along the way.
3. Be Flexible
Life happens, so try to be flexible whenever you can. Decide what rules you will make exceptions for and avoid putting too much stress on the little things. Be understanding when things go wrong, and accept that people make mistakes. Offer second chances whenever possible. Make sure that the work of living and serving gets done, but be flexible when it comes to personal matters, weather, or traffic.
4. Be Positive
Just as negative energy can rub off on others, so can positive energy. While negative emotions on your part tend to create negative outcomes in both your unsaved friends and your organization, positive emotions help your friends open up to a universe of new options and alternatives. Be optimistic and genuine with the people living around you and they will be more likely to react in the same way, making your relationships healthy and constructive.
5. Be Dependable
You need to believe that your non-Christian friends will do the right things at the right time, and they need to be able to depend on you to support them in good times and bad. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, no matter how small. Your unsaved friends must be able to trust you because their future is in your hands. Being an unreliable Christian will result in unhappy and distant relationships with unsaved people who would rather be friends with someone else.
6. Be Grateful
Everyone wants to know how they are doing, so give feedback. Praise is just important as criticism, and you should regularly complement your non-Christian friends for a job well done. As human beings, we subconsciously seek praise in all aspects of our lives, including the job. Show your appreciation in a variety of ways. Keep it fresh and genuine.
7. Be Compassionate
Try to see yourself through your non-Christian friend’s eyes–are you someone you would like? Put yourself in your others’ shoes and have compassion for their trials and tribulations as well as their accomplishments and victories. Having (and showing) true compassion for your non-Christian friends might take effort on your part, but the results will be well worth it. Your people will respect you as a Christian, and they will find you more likeable–increasing their loyalty and effectiveness as a result.
Let’s do our best to apply these principles. There are many people who need close relationships that these measures can help to produce.
As always, I love you
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