Jimmy Fallon on Likeability

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Jimmy Fallon has been a fixture on late night television for almost twenty years. Whether as a cast member on Saturday Night Live or as a talk show host, Jimmy has always maintained a likeable persona.

You may be thinking that this is a prerequisite for hosting the Tonight Show, but why should a leader care about being liked? Haven’t we always been taught that respect is more important? This is true, but is having both so bad?

According to the book The Likeability Factor, when a leader is “liked,” others are prone to believe what they say and value their guidance – two things that every leader needs to be successful.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about being liked because you pander to the whims of others, refuse to make unpopular decisions, or lower expectations. Being liked is as simple as treating others with respect.

So how can we be more like Jimmy Fallon? The Likeability Factor tells us that there are four critical elements to consider:

Friendliness. Jimmy has an uncanny ability to communicate kindness and openness. His humor is not mean-spirited; everyone is in on the joke.

Relevance. Jimmy connects with others’ interests, wants, and needs. It’s evident in his enthusiasm for whatever he, his guest, and the audience are into.

Empathy. In interviews, Jimmy is able to recognize and acknowledge other’s feelings. He then reacts appropriately.

Realness. Jimmy’s friendliness, relevance, and empathy seem authentic. His sincerity appears to be genuine and honest.

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