Power of Likability: CEO’s $96M Lesson

Effective CEO leadership
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Jennifer Hyman shares a pivotal lesson she learned during her career as a 22-year-old intern, emphasizing the power of likability. Speaking at a Stanford Graduate School of Business event, Hyman, who leads a company with a market cap of $95.93 million, highlighted the importance of being likable in achieving success.

Hyman’s lesson became evident when she pitched the idea of honeymoon registries while interning at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Despite the president’s initial hesitation, she enlisted colleagues’ support by being approachable and relatable. This experience taught her that authority isn’t necessary to lead effectively.

Years later, when founding her own company, Hyman’s likability played a significant role in securing partnerships with renowned designers. She and co-founder Jennifer Fleiss knew they needed to offer well-known designer brands to attract customers to their clothing rental service. By engaging with designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Hyman demonstrated the power of active listening and understanding.

Research supports Hyman’s strategy, showing that likability leads to persuasiveness and better social outcomes. Being warm, friendly, and a good listener helped Hyman sell her ideas as an intern and CEO alike. She continues to employ this approach, recognizing that influential leadership rooted in positivity is a potent force for achieving success.

In her words, “Influential leadership, especially when it’s positive, influential leadership is the most powerful thing you can do.”

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC MakeIt

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