Respect vs. Likability Factor Of Leadership

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This week, #bealeader welcomes a special co-host Ali Rodriguez as we tackle the subject of  “Respect vs. Likability” on our weekly #bealeader Tweetchat this Thursday at 7pmET/4pmPT.

Effective leadership builds a following based on a vision and values, rather than just a “nice” personality. When the leader puts the vision above “likability,” the difficult decisions may not be liked, but they build trust and respect. In many cases, trust and respect will lead to friendship — and often deeper relationships than just being liked. In a lot of teams today, we see a real lack of leadership because the leader sacrifices holding people accountable to everyone “getting along.” Think of effective leaders — past or present. How many of them were really likable?LIKEABILITYRESPECT

Leading can be tough at times — decisions have impacts. And those impacts often affect people. When people dislike or question those decisions, the leader sometimes will reopen the decision, recoil from it, or fail to enforce it because they want to be liked. But leading requires followers. Not friends.

Additionally, social relationships are subjective, which can lead to inconsistency with how we treat and hold accountable one team member who is a friend, and one who is not. This inconsistency can lead to team members questioning the leader’s principles and integrity, ultimately impacting trust and performance.

Effective leadership builds a following based on a vision and values, rather than just a “nice” personality. When the leader puts the vision above “likability,” the difficult decisions may not be liked, but they build trust and respect. In many cases, trust and respect will lead to friendship — and often deeper relationships than just being liked.

The challenge for leaders is to distinguish and balance the personal relationship. The business needs to develop a close-knit team of members that trust one other, work well together, and can hold one another accountable to achieve their potential.

Ali has compiled a list of  of 10 Signs Respect is more important than being Liked:

1.   Decisions are consistently successful = Respect
2.   Outcomes shine the spotlight on team members.
3.   Dialogue is bi-directional and not one-sided
4.   Reputation is of the utmost importance.
5.   Acknowledging team’s value
6.   Appreciating individual growth
7.   Admitting to mistakes
8.   Self-accountability
9.   Obstacle remover.
10. Decisive/Quick thinker.

Do you agree with her list? Let’s us hear your thoughts on this debate on Thursday or feel free to add your comments to this post.  To join our chat this Thursday, November 14th 7pmET you can click here to use Tweetchat as the platform to participate.

Preview Questions for Our chat
Q1: Are consistent successful decisions key ingredients to Respect?
Q2: Would you respect a leader that you do not like??? If so, how?
Q3: Would you be swayed if he/she values team members and their efforts?
Q4: Are bi-directional dialogues grounds for respect?
Q5: Is reputation more important than like?
Q6: Will acknowledging a team’s value help you respect even if you still don’t like.
Q7: Is appreciating individual growth important?
Q8: Leaders who admit to mistakes, is that influential to you?
Q9: How important is self-accountability to earn your respect?
Q10: Will decisive, quick thinkers, obstacle removers take you to the respect side of this particular leader.   Will you TRUST them?

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Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney is the Founder of #bealeader. #bealeader is an organization that provides leaders from business, talent management, education and social business a platform to express their leadership and expertise. #bealeader has been at the forefront of bringing the power of community and services to social platforms. #bealeader has taken leadership from online to real world by creating the #beamentor program which puts leaders into action providing their expertise in volunteer and professional coaching services. Jennifer is also the CEO of GingerConsulting. GingerConsulting works with organizations to brings brands to life and transform their bottom line with business development and marketing services. Jennifer is also a Featured Author on SteamFeed.com and appears monthly on SteamFeed Radio. Jennifer is a contributory author to Yahoo! Small Business and Business2Community.
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney

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5 comments
Ben Morton
Ben Morton

Great post Jennifer - I found myself nodding and saying 'yes' a lot.  I totally agree and believe that it's respect that is key and many leaders fall into the wanting to be liked camp - which is understandable as its a basic human need.

There have been some pretty extreme examples in history of leaders who were not liked but were respected (think dictator, rulers, tyrants etc) - although there is an argument that respect blended into fear for many of these.

Either way - I'm a strong supported of respect being a key ingredient and focus. It stood me well in my military career and equally well in my commercial/corporate career.


Great post


AlaskaChickBlog
AlaskaChickBlog

Jen and Ali ~ I really am looking forward to this Tweetchat (Can you believe I used to be terrified at the thought of trying to participate in one?! LOL).

I am ready for this one- with no study!! I have had a leader that I truly did NOT like and yet, ALWAYS respected. This Leader is STILL someone I can call on for an answer.... and I STILL don't like, but ...ya know, respect is huge.


Jen Olney
Jen Olney moderator

@Ben Morton  Thanks, Ben.  I'm glad you found agreement in this post. Many leaders do try to be liked and you are right it's a human desire, need to be liked.  


I will agree there are many "dictators, rulers" who were feared and not well liked but did have the respect factor - it is hard to balance that type of leadership for some folks - they see leadership is only a positive way - not all leaders are liked and respected - but they are leaders. 

I feel that respect is the most important factor for a leader because you may not always be liked for a decision but if you are respected by your team they will understand the reasons behind your decisions.

Jen Olney
Jen Olney moderator

@AlaskaChickBlog I know you have come a long way, Amber-Lee! This is a conversation I'm looking forward to having as well. I've had leaders I've disliked but respected as well - not everyone is "likable" but I respect their courage and ability to lead. I know many folks like this - I respect their ability to lead but their personality is less than desired....