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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

How to Be Liked as A Leader

There are many opinions about this topic, just like in all things business. I suppose the key question you need to ask yourself is: Do I need to concern myself with being liked as a leader?

I have heard people answer this question with:" I don't care whether they like me or not, but I will demand they respect me." Some people answer with an outright lie and say: "I don't need to be liked." In which it is very transparent they actually do need it. I would say this: As human beings, there is a little bit of a bigger issue going on with you if you say you don't care about being liked.

How deep is the need? That is the question and there is a varying degree in humans on the depth of that need. We all need to get approval in some form or fashion, we just simply look for it in different ways. I'm writing this today for the leader who wants to be liked in a healthy way. Let me give you something else. You should be deeply concerned if your team dislikes you. That is a huge problem that is difficult to overcome.

The fact is, we actively resist leaders we do not like. On the other hand, we are likely to be influenced deeply by leaders we do like. Being liked as a person and leader creates a channel of influence for us, whereas people we don't like can seem wrong, stupid, or both (even if they are very smart).

Here are a few quick thoughts on how to be liked:

Find commonality of any kind. Someplace of mutual interest. It's more common than not that your behaviors and motivations are going to be different, so something of interest is the next logical place to find commonality. You might be able to generate some common interest in the business goals with some simple coaching and educating. (Here's why this is very important to our whole team-type thing) We tend to like people who are like us.

Give genuine positive feedback. Also known as genuine compliments. We like people who like us and our work.

Find ways to cooperate that benefit your team collectively and individually. We like people who help us.

The key thing here is to be authentic and genuine in all of these and in all you do regarding your team. They will spot "fake" in a heartbeat and every time they do it makes this harder and harder.

There are some traps to avoid on your mission to be a likable leader:

Say "yes" when you should say "no." It's similar to hugging your child when you should punish them or vice versa. Do not agree to things you know you should disagree with just to try to improve your likability score.

Do not sacrifice long-term benefits for the nice, fuzzy short-term feeling.

Watch out for things that could be in your blind spot, especially if they are comments, suggestions, or ideas that come from someone you really do not like.

If you want to do some journaling or self-searching about this topic, I will just ask myself or my coach, what do you think invites people to like me? Or not?

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