Attributes of Leadership – A Pleasing Personality


No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect leaders who do not score highly on all factors of a pleasing personality – Napoleon Hill

Do you have a pleasing personality?[This is the seventh in a series exploring the attributes of leadership outlined by Napoleon Hill]

Some people are just a joy to be around. It’s not that they’re necessarily smiling all the time, or that they’re bubbly and giddy (although you probably know a few that are). Rather, they have a way of making us feel better by how they carry themselves, how they handle situations, and by their consistently positive viewpoint. These people have a pleasing personality, one of the traits necessary to a successful leader. What is a pleasing personality? Is it something a select few have? Most importantly, can I develop one? Let’s find out.

What is a Pleasing Personality?

The first definition for personality on dictionary.com is, “the visible aspect of one’s character as it impresses others: He has a pleasing personality.” Primarily, it focuses on what people perceive about us. This is in keeping with what Mr. Hill mentions regarding this attribute. He speaks of a “slovenly, careless” person lacking the necessary personality to lead others. Yet, there is more than just what one sees. The website also offers modern psychology’s definition, which is “the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual.” Therefore, our personality is both what people see and what lies beneath the surface. The latter is just as important, because it motivates or influences what others see, and therefore helps determine their perception of us. Granted, the values others have

influences their perception of our qualities. Still, having the right mental and emotional framework affects our physical appearance. Our dress and grooming is a direct reflection of our inner makeup, and that has a direct bearing on whether or not others see us as having a personality they consider pleasing.

What do we mean by “pleasing?” Going once again to dictionary.com, we find that it means “giving pleasure; agreeable; gratifying.” In simple terms, it means people like us. I know, that’s really subjective as a definition. What people like will vary from person to person. Still, in general, we all appreciate certain things, such as having people dress in a dignified manner, being greeted and spoken to respectfully, and being treated fairly. (Wow. I just used a bunch of subjective terms to make “like” seem less subjective. Good going, Kerwyn!)

We now know what makes our personalities pleasing. However, is it something you’re “born with?” Is it something only a select few have? Or is it something we can develop?

Born or Made? How Personality Develops

All of us have innate qualities, physical and mental. Some have the gift of an affinity for the arts. Others may have a predisposition for science and math. Still others seem to pick up languages easily. We also have different physical characteristics, which is why some appear more physically attractive in the eyes of others. Additionally, we are all born with the faculty of conscience which helps set our values (Romans 2:14, 15). Yet we can all develop a pleasing personality. How?

Consider each of us as a building. Each building has different dimensions and have different materials used in the construction. Yet, once built, a person with a keen eye can repurpose the interior space and exterior shell to give the building a completely new look that is engaging, vibrant, and desirable to others. True, a building’s contours may make it well suited for certain things, perhaps more than another building. Yet both structures can please those seeing them. The same is true of us as people. Whatever our natural abilities and features, whatever traits and habits we’ve developed, we can reinvent ourselves in new and exciting ways. Sure, some of us may have longer hair, clearer skin, or a wonderful voice quality. Yet each of our personalities can please others.

Admittedly, this isn’t always easy. With a building, sometimes you have to do more than address an undesirable physical feature. There often is an underlying cause requiring attention. For example, what if there is a water stain on the wall? Simply painting over it is not enough. You have to first determine if there’s a leak that needs fixing and correct that before addressing the cosmetic issue. The same is true with our personalities. Do we use poor speech, tending towards slang and…questionable terminology? Simply learning new words may not do the trick. First, find out why you speak the way you do. If you’re in the company of people who constantly speak poorly, you’ll need to either get them to change the way they speak, or stop spending time with them. A great discussion on this topic is found under the subheading “What is ‘Present With Me’?” of this article.

What are some practical steps you can take to develop your personality so that you become more pleasing to others? Essential Life Skills offers these 10 suggestions:

  • Be a better listener
  • Read more and expand your interests
  • Be a good conversationalist
  • Have an opinion
  • Meet new people
  • Be yourself
  • Have a positive outlook and attitude
  • Be fun and see the humorous side of life
  • Be supportive of others
  • Have integrity and treat people with respect

You can click the link above to read how the article develops each of the points mentioned. Then ask yourself these important questions: How do I rate in each of these areas? In the areas where I’m lacking, which can I address right away? Of those I can address immediately, what one step can I take today to improve? The answers become your blueprint for developing a pleasing personality.

How important is a pleasing personality to you? What steps are you currently taking (or plan to take) to help make your personality more pleasing to others? Tell us in the Comments below.

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7 thoughts on “Attributes of Leadership – A Pleasing Personality

  1. Let’s face it: no one wants to be around someone who has a perpetual Eeyore complex. That isn’t to say that it’s not understandable that most of will go through difficult periods in our lives, but allowing it to poison and taint everything is going too far. No one can tolerate that much melancholy (or chaos if you run on the angry side). It is toxic and will eventually seep into your personality and influence your outlook and how you interact with people.

    It is necessary for everyone to take a step back and examine themselves in this regard, but some are not always so forthcoming with themselves when it comes to their flaws or weak points. Too many have taken the “just do you” sentiment to heart, and they don’t really think they have anything to change. Or you can be on the opposite end of the spectrum, where I find myself, and be overly critical of yourself.

    I think the one thing I need to work most on is listening to people who agitate me mentally. Generally I don’t have a problem listening, but if they are turning up the drama full blast and I begin to envision myself climbing the walls, I have been known in the past to reach up and activate my selective hearing… Yes, physically turn the switch on my hearing aid to the “off” position to get some peace and quiet! Having to deal with specific people on a regular basis has taught me the wisdom of limiting contact with them to what’s necessary to get the job done or share information. Also, I have learned the benefits of deliberate speech. This way you can handle your business and guide what comes out of their mouths at the same time, so as to limit the stress of having to engage them in a conversation.

    The other items on the list, to be honest, are not really concerns for me. You may be able to judge better, because you can see me impartially. However, after the experiences I had the past four years of my life, I have no patience, time, or desire to be walking around with *any* burdens weighing me down. I had my fill of seriousness, so being able to be back to my wonderfully amusing and happy-go-lucky self is a gift from Jehovah. And everyone around me gets to benefit from my charm, wit, and fabulous personality!

    • You’re so right, Amy! Debbie (or Danny) Downers tend to suck the life out of those around them. As for the “take me as I am” crowd, the presumption is that they’re prefect as they are. That isn’t always true (note this is not a case of trying to fit into a preset mold, but an acknowledgement of areas in ourselves we can improve).

      My challenge is listening. Sometimes my mind is racing so far ahead that I’ve mentally moved on and don’t stop to see if the other person is still asking for the ride!

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