Respect and Likeability: A Leader’s Balancing Act

To respect someone means to consider that person worthy of high regard or esteem. For a leader, respect is an absolutely crucial component of influence. Leading without respect is a little like trying to run in knee-deep mud…you tire quickly and go nowhere.

Like most people, you have probably observed a boss or supervisor whose teammates did not respect him. No leader wants to be disrespected, but many leaders clearly command little to no respect. What, then, are they doing wrong?

Disrespected leaders prioritize being accepted by others above being respected by others.

Balancing Act

If you are respected and not liked, then your influence will be limited and short-lived. People will not fully trust you and will only follow you at a distance. In fact, they will circle around like vultures, waiting for you to fail. Your team will also have a high rate of turnover because no one enjoys working for an unlikeable leader. Eventually, you will burnout since no one is close enough for you to be able to share their care.

The remedy? Let people see your heart. Convince them you care about their lives.

If you are liked and not respected, your influence will also be limited and short-lived. People will follow you closely, but with insecurity and lack of confidence. They will question you constantly and will soon grow restless under your leadership. In the long run, they will become apathetic and lose enthusiasm.

The remedy? Let people see your vision. Convince them you have a solid plan for the future.

Application

Assuming you’ve not yet struck the perfect balance of respect and likeability, in which of the two areas do you need to invest? What is one practical step you can take either to show your heart or to convey your vision?

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