“I don’t care if people like me; I want them to respect me!”

That’s a stupid thing to say!

A Harvard Business Review article notes that the highest performing CEOs “do not invest their energy in wanting to be liked.” But the best leadership researchers out there agree that leaders should want to be liked: “People want to follow those leaders for whom they have genuine affection.”

So who is right?

Both!!! You can be loved without kissing up to people and being a people-pleaser! That’s what we go after in this week’s video.

“I don’t care if people like me; I want them to respect me!”


First of all, that would make it a binary choice stating, “you can have respect,” OR “you can be liked.” You can have both!

Second, that goes against our experience! Most people that we respect, we also like them (and vice versa). If you are respected but not liked… that’s on you!

Finally, we like the people who treat us with kindness, support us, and show confidence in us. Act nice and respectful, and you’ll probably be liked.

Likeability. It’s great to have, but leaders don’t gain it by kissing up to others, they earn by loving their people and delivering results!

Bottom line: Your people will perform far better when you treat them with dignity, listen to their ideas, grow their skills, and choose to believe in them. They will love you and you will succeed together! Being liked is not a bad thing!

Our FREE downloadable bonus this week gives you the research we talk about. It’s a short, easy read that will help you settle the issue in your own heart.

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  1. Interesting perspective on this subject. I know for me I do not like conflict. At times it takes me a little while to get over things (Depending on the situation) I explained this to a mentor, who challenged me to actually embrace constructive conflict and look for ways to engage in constructive conflict. In my current dept I have been challenged quite a bit to embrace constructive conflict. There has been times where I did not see eye to eye with a fellow colleague on a decision and we had to more or less “hash it out”, and after everything was hashed out I had to get over it and continue working with my colleague daily. At the end of the day I believe there can be a mutual respect that is gained between colleagues through constructive conflict. @ Dr Rob I believe Patrick Lencioni talks about the “Fear of conflict” in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

    1. Hey Jason, Thanks for sharing this great post. Yes, Lencioni does talk about this in his books 5 Dysfunctions and The Advantage. CONSTRUCTIVE (issue centered) conflict is great. People-centered conflict is usually unproductive and hurtful. If you want to hear Lencioni go after this in a hilarious way, start at the 17:00 mark of this video:

  2. Great blog. What seems like a contradicition is actually something that just needs further examination which you have done masterfully. Being liked shouldn’t be the goal. Being respectful, treating people with dignity and supporting their growth to create results is the the focus. And being liked will actually just be the byproduct. Well done Robster!

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