Career lessons from Rob Ford
You’re probably wondering what on earth Rob Ford could teach anybody.
The notoriously foul-mouthed mayor of Toronto made headlines yesterday afternoon when he was booted from office over $3, 150 in donations to his private football foundation.
An Ontario municipal court judge ruled that the mayor improperly solicited funds from lobbyists, violating provincial conflict of interest rules, and effectively ordered Rob Ford to step down as mayor.
There’s no denying that this was improper behaviour by Ford. Rules should apply to everybody. But in practice, this isn’t always the case. This case really got me thinking about why people just wouldn’t let up when it came to Rob Ford—and it has everything to do with likeability.
What does this have to do with careers? Truth is—everything.
People wouldn’t have been as adamant about pursuing this “injustice” had Rob Ford been a generally likeable man. It is because he has proven himself to be so extraordinarily unlikeable, that this blew into the catastrophe that it was for him. (And ultimately cost him his job).
This is an important lesson for all of us.
Likeability is a well-documented psychological trait that directly impacts the perception people have of your ability to do good work. In fact, Likeability was touted as one of the top five ways to get promoted in 2013 in this recent Forbes article.
Time and again we see smart, talented people get passed over for promotions because of attitude.
Likeability is directly related to fit. How easygoing someone is, how well they can mesh with the corporate culture: that is what truly makes someone a great hire.
Somebody that manages to rub people the wrong way—no matter how talented he or she is—is never going to be given the benefit of the doubt, or a second chance. Ever. And both of these are something we all need at least once in our careers.
So let’s all take a lesson from the fall of the mayor of Toronto. Be agreeable, nice to people, maintain humility and optimism. You’re much more likely to get ahead if you do so.
* Photo credit: Wikipedia
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