Respect vs. Likability Factor Of Leadership

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?

Jennifer Olney

Jennifer Olney

Founder and CEO at BEALEADER
Over the course of my career, I have been sought after by numerous organizations to bring my talents in the arenas of sales, marketing and business development. As the Founder and Director of Business BEALEADER, I bring my experience to the table to expand the knowledge base for those seeking to find their own leader within. In 2011, I created BEALEADER to be a platform for individuals to share their expertise and leadership to make others better by being a resource of business, career and marketing solutions for those who are just starting out or maybe have a “few” years under their belt and need keep their skills fresh. In addition to the BEALEADER platform, I have developed the business units BEALEADER Business Services, which provides marketing, business development and human resource management services and BEALEADER Executive Coaching Services, which provides one on one and group coaching services to executives and individuals. These business units expand our ability and brand to make others better as we reach out to our audience with these unique product offerings. In 2014, I was named to the list of Top 101 Leadership Speakers and I have written for several publications such as Yahoo! Small Business, Business 2 Community and others. I have also co-hosted several podcasts and in 2015 will be hosting the BEALEADER podcast for our audience as well.
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney

Latest posts by Jennifer Olney (see all)

Loading Facebook Comments ...


  • November 12, 2013


    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.

  • November 12, 2013

    Jen Olney

    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….

  • November 13, 2013

    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

  • November 13, 2013

    Jen Olney

    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.

  • November 13, 2013


    AlaskaChickBlog – Thanks for the comment, Amber-Lee.  Yes, this is the kind of subject that heats-up the soul.  No “in-between” about it!  Jen Olney  Ali4Coach

Leave a Reply