Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö

Strict or soft? Likeable or not?

Kirjoitettu 27.02.21
Esseen kirjoittaja: Jenni Suomalainen
Kirjapisteet: 2
Kirja: The Likeability Trap
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Alicia Menendez
Kategoriat: 9.02. Yhteisöllisyys, 9.03. Yrittäjyys, 9.04. Johtaminen, 9.08. Henkinen kasvu

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I was going through my recommendation in BookBeat when I stumbled upon a book called The Likeability Trap – How to Break Free and Success as You Are by Alicia Menendez and I just thought “That sounds interesting enough” and started listening. As I soon found out the book touched on the topic of women in working environment and the double standards and expectations we are put through. The book handles the topic by going through personal experiences, interviews and research.


Be nice, but not too nice. Be successful, but not too successful. Just be likeable. Whatever that means?


Just to set the record straight at the start I am not the most outspoken fuming feminist usually, so my reason to grap this book wasn’t to feed my rage towards men. To be honest I had no idea that likeability in this book was going to be looked through women’s view. That being said I was surprised of how many things throughout this book resonated with me and connected with my experiences and situations I have faced.

One thing that gave me thoughts was a part where it was discussed that men can more easily pic an aspect to their leadership and stick to that and it will be more easily accepted. For example, when a man in a leadership position is extremely strict that will be seen as a strong trait, not nice but respectable. But if a woman is extremely strict, she’s often seen as a bitch who should loosen up. If a man is gentle and warm, he’s softness is awed upon. But if a woman is gentle and warm, she’s often seen as weak and not suitable for leading positions. And when you try to balance somewhere between you might be seen as a try hard.

If you wish to find solutions and tips on how to be likeable, this book might not be what you’re looking for since it really doesn’t focus on helping with that but rather on the aspect of accepting yourself and being confident as you are and by that starting a path for other’s to be empowered by. This anecdote brought to my mind some conversations I have had with my friend Elisa recently that people love to scrutinize others on their personality traits and expect them to want to change for them. Which is pretty selfish if we think about it.


“You can’t have the good parts of me if you’re not willing to
handle the hard parts too.”


People quite often forget that the purpose of “negative” feedback is to help the other person and not just to tell the other person all the things that bother you about them. You can’t simply expect the other person to fix all the things you see as wrong. You give the feedback, the other person listens and takes it in, they think about what you’ve said and consider if they want to do something about it or not. “Am I just letting out my fumes or do I want to help the other person?” is a question I am gonna be asking myself from now on while giving feedback to ponder on my motives.

What I liked about this book is that it didn’t really give unrealistic expectations of immediate change. It wasn’t too self-helpy but it was more of a wakeup call. The book also doesn’t state that likeability is something to be forsaken but it states that maybe we should prioritize other qualities instead. Because if you only focus on what others think you don’t put enough prioritizing toward your vision to be spread and heard. You don’t need to be approved for everything; you just need to connect with others. This is a reminder for me. I am usually likeable. But I don’t need to seek for it constantly.

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