Leaders: Would you rather be liked or respected?

Leadership is hard and lonely.

Creating a vision and direction can impact many – like shaking up the status quo. So, as you forge a new leadership role or build on an existing one … would you feel better if you are liked or respected?

That’s a tricky question — because most of us would answer that we want both.

However, if we worry too much about being liked, it will start to cloud our ability to lead.

The fact is that your decisions can’t possibly make everyone happy. And the minute you try to, you will lose sight of your goal by spreading yourself too thin.

Cracks will form in the relationships you thought you had and before you know it, someone will think that you are betraying them in some way. And guess what? You will lose his or her respect.

In that case, you won’t be liked anymore or respected. A lose-lose scenario.

Leaders who want to be respected work to earn that respect because it isn’t a ‘given.’

Being respected comes from accomplishing what needs to be done and in turn, creating the desire among others to follow your lead.

It isn’t automatically bestowed on you by others because of a title, corner office, level of education or years in the field.

I believe that one of the most important characteristics of leadership is to treat people fairly and consistently. That shows that you aren’t favoring one person over another and others can anticipate what to expect from you too.

Being respected and liked don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can have both. However, don’t let the popularity contest get in the way of what needs to be done.


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