Does Your Boss Like You?

There have been a few people who have made a big difference in my life.  Mentors.  Role models.

They all had one thing in common from my perspective:

I felt like all of them liked me.  Personally liked me.

Now, they showed it in different ways.  Some of which included:

  • Telling me they liked me (!)
  • Giving me more responsibility
  • Smiling at me and making me feel welcome
  • Giving me their time when I needed it
  • Asking me to help or teach another employee
  • Asking for my input

I once had a conversation with Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingermans group of businesses (as covered in Small Giants, Inc., and the New York Times) and he said that he aimed to approach new hires within their first few weeks of hire to ask them about their views on the strategic direction of the company.  Read more about Zingermans here:

He wanted them to feel liked and valued.

It’s so basic.

There are four main human emotions





Now ask, which of these makes you want to come to work in the morning and contribute?

Not sad, surely.  Sad makes you want to quit.

Mad can’t help a lot, unless you’re a professional athlete wanting to get even.  Even then it’s a short-term motivator.

Same with scared.  I guess fear can push you to work harder for a short time, but it quickly wears off.

But glad.

Glad is the one that makes us feel engaged

And one of the key ways to make an employee feel glad is to let them know you’re cheering for them.  That you care.  And that you actually like them.

So, have you worked to convey that to your team members?  If not, give it a try and you’ll see an immediate difference in their engagement.  And I do mean immediate.

People believe and listen to people who they think like them.

And they ignore and disbelieve people who they think don’t like them.

Read that again.  Do you want to be listened to?  Do you want to be believed?  Then convey to others that you like them.

I always assumed that my high school teachers hated me.  Which they probably did.  And which made me worse.  So they liked me even less.  Which made me even worse.  And so on.

If you don’t like the person, find something to like about them that you can be genuine about, and communicate that.

If you really don’t like anything about them, they’ll feel it, and they’ll constantly under perform, and eventually they’ll quit and stay.  In other words, they’ll give up and keep hanging around to pull a cheque.  That’s the worst possible outcome.

Here’s a way to start.

Say (or write in a note) “Hey, here’s something I like about working with you.”  And then state it.  They’ll be shocked.  No one’s ever said stuff like that before.  And they’ll like you back, and they’ll be open to what you have to say, and they’ll want to follow you too.

Getting ahead is about getting started,

Trevor head shot in office 1

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here:

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    6 thoughts on “Does Your Boss Like You?”

    1. Good thoughts Trevor, for some it takes a lot to show some vulnerability in this way. Often for men, they think it is a weakness to emote like you are saying. But it is the one thing that makes all the difference in attitude towards the company.

    2. THAT’S why I believe you all the time. I like YOU, Trevor. How much further does this message resonate if you feel the person not only likes you, but loves you??! [In the most brotherly/close friend form of the word ‘love’, of course 😉 ]

      1. Thanks Jerry! We don’t often say it at work, and when we do we risk prison :), but love is the most powerful motivator there is. Appropriate love of course 🙂

    3. Kathy Maxwell

      Positive affirmation is so important. I was at the mall and a woman looked really sad. I walked up to her and said “That is a gorgeous sweater, it look amazing on you!” Her face lit up like a Christmas tree and she told me she really needed that and thanked me. I love your idea of leaving notes for people, it is simple and can be kept in a drawer for when a person needs a reminder pick me up. Great tip Trevor, thank you I will definitely be using this amazing idea.

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