corporate culture | November 16, 2017

Can Popularity Affect Professional Status? Psychologist Mitch Prinstein Offers Some Surprising Tips


Mitch Prinstein hates to break it to you, but popularity still matters … at work. “Ideas offered by those most likeable will generate far greater buy-in, allegiance, and team cohesion,” says the distinguished professor of psychology, and author of the book Popular: The Power of Likeability in a Status-Obsessed World in a much-shared BBC article this week. So, how do you become more likeable?  

Prinstein, who’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, NPR and TIME Magazine, offers some tips: 

  1. 1. “A likeable leader expresses interest in their direct reports as people.” Many leaders opt to dispense with pleasantries, favoring power-assertion as a method of motivation over genuine connection. But research shows that time spent investing in others: learning about their goals and lives outside of the office, will result in loyalty and a drive to succeed.


  3. 2. “In meetings, be the last to speak up, and reflect upon what others have contributed before offering your own ideas.” This one may seem obvious, but people often forget to listen, and it shows. Suggestions that appears to be the result of collaboration as opposed to a command go a lot further.


  5. 3. Remember one detail about a person, and ask them about it from time to time. “Nothing makes us feel more connected than when someone takes time out of their busy schedule to enquire about our lives. This simple compassionate act is remarkably powerful in gaining trust and building camaraderie.” 

And remember, likeability is not to be confused with status: the empty, attention-based form of popularity that adolescents crave in high school, and too many adults seek today in social media. 


To book Mitch Prinstein, or another educational speaker, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers’ bureau.  

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