I want to be liked. I think that everyone wants to be liked. Do you want to be liked?
The question today is this: Do we need to be liked to be an effective leader?
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I am going to speak from a male perspective today. If you are a female, read on. It may be insightful for you to further see how men think and process information. But I am speaking today from a male viewpoint.
What is that point of view?
There is something inside a man that longs for respect. And I think that many, if not most men would choose respect over love if they had to make such a choice. So, what do we do with that reality?
I am not sure what comes easier for our children. But I think it is probably easier or more natural for our children to like and love us. I mean, they come into this world and we are teamed with their closest caregiver – their mother. So it is very easy for them to develop a needs-based affection for us. And it is equally easy for that to further develop into a love relationship based on a family connection.
Respect comes as they grow older and probably comes initially naturally. Our children may not recognize it as respect. But as they grow older they will learn to recognize it as respect and it will grow if we are the father that we are called to be.
What happens if something in the father / child relationship gets fractured and it brings harm to the love relationship?
I would expect that the respect level that they have for us would suffer equally. I am not sure that it is even possible. But what if the love relationship was not restored? Can the father / child relationship be sustained by rebuilding respect alone? And if respect could be restored, would love then follow in time?
This is not a typical article for me. And it certainly presents more questions than answers. But I have been wondering about the effectiveness of leaders who may not be the most liked persons in the world.
Leaders must be the one to be responsible. Leaders are required from time to time to do the things that are not always popular. Leaders are called upon to make tough decisions some times. And people will follow leaders for a multitude of reasons. We can be manipulated into following a leader. We can fear a leader and follow out of a feeling of self-preservation. And we can be drawn to a leader because we genuinely like them and want to follow them out of our desire to please them and be close to them.
So what is the leadership lesson?
I think the leadership lesson is that I will be the most effective father (leader) that I can be when my children have genuine and deep-seeded affection for me, respect for me, and have a desire to “please” me, and be close to me. And it is my job to be the kind of father that would draw that out of my children.
Now project that same thought process and a set of actions and principles to the world outside of our family home and I think that you will find the same results. Those same traits that bind my heart and my child’s hearts together will likewise form a bond between a leader and their followers. A followers willingness to be led by the leader will be the natural outflow of their sense of admiration, respect, and yes, even security, that they feel when that leader is around.
What about you? Are you respectable? Are you likable? Do your followers want to follow you?