How To Be A Likable Leader

How To Be A Likable Leader

When I spoke at career day a few weeks ago, I learned a very valuable lesson.

None of the students were really interested in what I had to say about my day job.

I mean, who really wants to hear about Supply Chain?

I guess I can’t really blame them.

It was like pulling teeth trying to get some engagement.

It was really really painful.

But then, I said something that caught their attention!!!

I casually mentioned to the class that I was engaged and getting married in November.

It was honestly as  if I had mentioned that everyone in the class was going home with $100 that day.

After a huge, “Awwwwwwwww…” from the class, I was suddenly a lot more interesting!

They now wanted to ask me questions about my fiancé…and about the wedding…and about how I felt about getting married so young…

They wanted to see pictures of the two of us…

That’s what they were interested in.

So as I answered their questions, I thought about their weird interest in my personal life, and I had a thought.

I think that when we’re taking advice from someone, or when we’re looking up to someone as our leader- in life, or at work- we want to see that person as a person. We want to see that person not just as a teacher, not just as a manager, but we want to see them as someone we can relate to.

We want a glimpse into their everyday life.

This somehow helps us connect with them better, and I honestly believe that it makes our leaders a lot more likable.

I’ve seen presentations that my CEO has given where he’s been flipping through a PowerPoint and three slides into it, there’s a picture of his dog.

And he says, hey!… that’s my dog! I like my dog…so I decided to include him in my presentation.

And you know what? When I witnessed that, I thought it was way cool.

And that CEO who’s usually this very untouchable- wears stuffy suits kind of guy- in that moment, he gained big brownie points with me.

Because I liked that he had a dog.

I liked that he gave us a tiny glimpse into his personal life.

After work, he goes home (just like the rest of us), and he plays with his pets…just like any other guy.

So I think what I’m trying to say is that I wish more leaders would do that. I wish more executives would feel comfortable sharing a little bit about their personal lives with their staff.

Because you don’t have to be a corporate robot to survive in the workplace…

Instead, you can  be a chill, down-to-earth leader, who’s just as human as the rest of us.

And in return, you’ll probably be liked and respected a whole lot more.

Now here…

Because so many of those students asked for them…

Enjoy some of my engagement pictures taken by the incredible Lara Rios.

Joe’s going to kill me for posting these 🙂

lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 1
lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 2

lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 3 lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 4

lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 5

lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 6

lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 7

lara rios engagement session kayla and joe 8

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  1. Lora Crestan

    April 22, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Right on!! You need to be human, with all your vulnerability, courage, flaws and emotions out there to connect with your team in order to lead. This does not mean being a door-mat – it means helping you & your team members find common ground and new ways to relate to each other. This is authenticity.
    Great post Kayla! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Yayyy for authenticity!! Like you said…it’s great when you’re working with teams. We’re all human, right? So despite age, race, gender, job title…we still have a lot in common. Thanks so much for swinging by! Have a great night 🙂

  2. Meg

    April 22, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Hey girl! Stumbled upon your blog and excited to follow along! Beautiful engagement photos! Wishing you the best <3

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks, Meg!! Same to you!! 🙂

  3. Jasmine

    April 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Love the engagement photos. So pretty.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks, Jasmine!! Hope you’re having a great week!

  4. Émilie

    April 22, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I’m a teacher and I can totally relate to this. My students always ask me if I’m married, if I have kids, where I went to school…It’s just natural to be curious and to want to know who the person standing in the front is putside of work. i don’t feel comfortable telling them everything so I set a limit of what I will and won’t share!

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      Great point! Yes, certainly want to draw a line in the sand regarding what you will and won’t share. Some things are best left outside of the workplace. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  5. Jennifer Hepka

    April 22, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Totally agree with this post. I truly believe that the more we share our success, struggles or life in general it makes us more relatable and people can connect more with us. This is a great post. Love the pictures also! Congrats 🙂

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer. Yea, I’m a big fan of sharing my failures. Because I have a lot. Like the time I walked into work and fell at the bottom of the stairs and ripped my pants. —>

  6. Val

    April 22, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Love your career series and your lovely pics! You are both adorable, I wish you the very best! Thanks for sharing this post!


    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks, Valerie!! Yep! He’s a keeper! Thanks so much for stopping by! Check back in next Monday… we’ll be featuring someone who works in the world of CRAFT BEER in the career series 🙂

  7. Jessica

    April 22, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I love the engagement pictures. BEAUTIFUL!

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks, so much, Jessica!! Our photographer was so wonderful to work with!! 🙂

  8. Ashleigh

    April 22, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Great pictures…you both look wonderful! And a good read! Thank you for sharing! Please link up and share this with me at
    live now! I know others will love it!
    Have a great day! xx Ashleigh

  9. Brittany

    April 22, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Your pictures are so pretty! So funny the students were so interested in wedding details

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks, girl! Isn’t it?? I was like, ok… I can give you all these great insights about the workplace and about college life…and what did they ask me?? “Does your fiancé have blue eyes??” lol

  10. Sherri S

    April 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Hey! Great post, you look gorgeous in the pics too. . Loving your success posts too! Found you through The BLogging Elite group.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks, Sherri! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  11. Vicky @

    April 22, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Great advice!! I do this with my direct reports and others that I work with, but I never really thought about it as a leadership tactic…I just like to get to know them and I always find ways where we can relate, so why not share! I know they feel more comfortable talking to me when they have concerns or issues and maybe that’s why. Love this advice!! Congrats on your upcoming wedding…you two are adorable :).

  12. Megan

    May 21, 2015 at 8:07 am

    I agree…Some of the best CEO’s are ones who remember they’re human and their employees are human lol if that makes sense. Love the photos, y’all look so happy and cute in them 🙂

  13. Justine Y @ Little Dove Creations

    May 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I agree, and that’s something I’ve learned as a blogger too, I really enjoy sharing little personal snippets of my life in my posts, and I really like reading that in other people’s!

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