According to recent research, 86 percent of employees believe that if they like their boss they are more productive. So forget about cracking the whip. Instead, build these seven habits into your leadership persona.

1. Be Friendly

Sounds obvious, but simply taking a moment to greet your employees (by name!) and make small talk with them goes a long way to increasing your likeability as a boss. Be as approachable and accessible as possible. Take time to compliment employees and ask them how their day is going. Be patient; remember that it's important to set aside time for your people, no matter how busy you are. In fact, that busyness-;yours and theirs-;makes a friendly word even more important.

2. Be Available

Some pretty amazing ideas come from front-line employees, but if the higher-ups aren't approachable by employees most these ideas will never surface. Employees are more likely to come to their bosses with ideas and potential solutions when their bosses make it clear that they value their employees' opinions and want to hear them. While not every idea is going to be a winner, it's very much in your interest to hear people out. Showing employees that their opinions and ideas are important to the company is a wonderful way to keep your team energized and happy--and boost your likeability along the way.

3. Be Flexible

Life happens, so try to be flexible whenever you can. Decide what rules you will make exceptions for and avoid putting too much stress on the little things. Be understanding when things go wrong, and accept that people make mistakes. Offer second chances whenever possible. Make sure that the work gets done, but be flexible when it comes to personal matters, weather, or traffic.

4. Be Positive

Just as negative energy can rub off on others, so can positive energy. While negative emotions on your part tend to create negative outcomes in both your people and your organization, positive emotions help your employees open up to a universe of new options and alternatives. Be optimistic and genuine with the people working around you and they will be more likely to react in the same way, making the workplace a healthy and constructive place to be.

5. Be Dependable

You need to believe that your employees will get the job done, and they need to be able to depend on you to support them in good times and bad. Don't make promises you can't keep, no matter how small. Employees must be able to trust you because their future is in your hands. Having a flaky boss will result in unhappy and disengaged employees who would rather be working somewhere else.

6. Be Grateful

Everyone wants to know how they are doing, so give feedback. Praise is just important as criticism, and you should regularly complement your people for a job well done. As human beings, we subconsciously seek praise in all aspects of our lives, including the job. Show your appreciation in a variety of ways. Keep it fresh and genuine.

7. Be Compassionate

Try to see yourself through your employees' eyes--are you someone you would like? Put yourself in your employees' shoes and have compassion for their trials and tribulations as well as their accomplishments and victories. Having (and showing) true compassion for your employees may take effort on your part, but the results will be well worth it. Your people will respect you as a leader, and they will find you more likeable--increasing their loyalty and effectiveness as a result.