As a young leader coming up, I kept hearing that it is better for a leader to be respected than liked. After being in various levels of leadership for the past 25 years, I must admit that I completely disagree with that statement. It is actually the question’s premise that I disagree with. It’s not an either/or, it’s both.
The people you lead will not respect you unless they like you. Relationship is the foundation that respect is built on. Here is the connection:
- Respect without Relationship = Responsibility. The team says, “Just let me do my job. I’m a professional. I’ll give you what you want.” Just make sure you are paying everyone well.
- Relationship without Respect = Recess. The team is having a great time. We are having fun but there is no accomplishment.
- Respect + Relationship = Remarkable Results. Great leaders understand that the best teams have people who CAN help you (skill) and WANT to help you (passion).
Many leaders who are reading this post will disagree with me. You think as long as you produce a great organization that people will build a monument to you tomorrow out of the stones they wish to throw at you today. Let me give you a different perspective from those you serve.
No matter what you accomplish, your team is thinking “Can you imagine what we could have done if we just had a better leader? We would have done so much more.”
Leaders, people are your greatest asset. They are the only thing in your organization that appreciates over time. Enjoy them. Love them. Invest in them. And when you do, your organization will achieve things you are currently only dreaming of.
On a side note, I think the root problem many leaders have is that at their core, they don’t even like themselves which is why they don’t like others. That is why they define themselves by their work.
Leaders, a couple of basic questions. Do you like yourself? Think long and hard about that question. And then ask, do you truly like your people or view them only as units of production?