Look around. Have you noticed how exceptionally likable people are also some of the most honest? You think there's a correlation? Bet money on it.

To increase your odds of starting new relationships with others, you need to be aware of how likable you are (emotional intelligence will get you there).

Having traits that are appealing to others is key. To the outgoing person on a first day of work, energy, excitement, and an invitation to happy hour with a large group of friends works like magic. To the introvert, a quiet lunch with two peers from the same department will do the trick.

But honesty is the most appealing, non-negotiable, and transcending trait of all.

Some have elevated it to radical transparency and emotional honesty--uncharted terrain that I have found challenging for so many of my clients residing up in the C suite.

I say "challenging" because this is a courageous, superhuman skill that, when mastered, works wonders in squashing ambiguity, setting boundaries, and diffusing conflict. It is one of the most sought-after leadership competencies I'm asked to help develop.

But let's get one thing straight: Emotional honesty isn't license to offend and speak your mind without filters.

Remarkably honest people are well-liked because they are fair, considerate, respectful, listen to all sides, and hold themselves and others to a higher standard.

They're also not doormats. When the rubber meets the road, their integrity will call you on the carpet for a wrongdoing or injustice.

It means, perhaps, ending a relationship, firing an employee, or severing a partnership that no longer defines their true nature. More the reason for their likability.

Your first step to being likable: Get rid of your masks

Likable people don't play mental games or manipulate: They speak their mind and don't rely on cryptic hints or other passive-aggressive tactics to get their point across.

This was a classic toxic trait of mine before I integrated myself into an honest, likable man. For example, in dating relationships, whenever pivotal discussion points came up for topics such as finances, religion, and child-rearing, I downplayed the scene, let my ego dictate ("No worries, not an issue"), and allowed the moment to slip under my cool and calculated demeanor.

It was one of the many, fake, self-sabotaging masks that I wore. Endless broken relationships later, I finally broke the cycle and am now happily married to the first woman I ever showed 100 percent emotional honesty. I took the mask off.

Honesty is everything, and then some

If you're struggling with becoming a likable boss or employee, showing up with honesty has everything to do with commanding respect and admiration. Here's what to always expect from the most remarkably honest people:

1. They get trust and respect from others: When you're true to yourself, you not only trust the judgments and decisions that you make, but others trust you as well. They'll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.

2. They live in integrity: When you're honest, you don't hesitate to do the right thing. You never have to second-guess yourself. Who you are, what you do, and what you believe in--all of these align perfectly.

3. They deal with problems seamlessly: When you're honest with yourself and others, you have the strength and openness to deal with problems quickly, instead of procrastinating, avoiding conflict, or sweeping things under the rug.

4. They know who they are and where they're headed:  Remarkably honest people are true to their character regardless of the outside pressures or temptations to act otherwise. They are willing to accept the consequences of being true to what they consider to be right, at the core of their being. They don't cave in to others dictating their course. They take control of life and move forward with confidence.

5. They are consistent: By being consistent in who they are and what they do, truly honest people will ensure they always put their best foot forward and treat every person and situation the same.

6. They manage to have less stress: How would you feel if, every day, you said what you meant, stayed true to yourself, and behaved in accordance with this? Imagine the happiness and self-respect you'd feel. Being honest to yourself is far less stressful than being someone you are not.

Bringing it home

I will make you a promise. You will experience these six amazing benefits of honesty, but the shift only happens when you consciously choose to drop the masks and show up with your most authentic self.

It will take work and courage, but like any change in behavior, practice, practice, and more practice is the only way to rewire the brain for new habits to form.

Your life will dramatically change in a powerful and positive direction. I've seen it in my clients', and I know that I will see it in yours, too.

Published on: Jun 22, 2016
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