Jul 18

Here’s Why You Don’t Need to Be Well-Liked to Be a Good Leader

When your employees like you, does it make you a good leader?

Not necessarily.

Tim Sanders, the author of The Likeability Factor, posited that when your colleagues and direct reports like you, they’re more likely to go above and beyond for you. And if you’re a business owner, that’s to your advantage.

However, while Sanders is right for the most part, being liked isn’t and shouldn’t be part of the criteria for effective leadership.

Why? Let’s take a look.

When Wanting To Be Liked Becomes a Problem

Don’t get me wrong. Leaders must maintain good relationships with their employees. It just makes for better harmony at work.

However, too much of a people-pleasing approach can also be problematic.

If you focus too much on being liked, it often comes at the expense of being respected. Earning respect sometimes requires you to make difficult decisions, which people won’t always like or approve of depending on the outcome.

Hence, employers who focus more on being liked tend to neglect establishing their boundaries. Instead, they often feel the need to overcompensate through unhealthy behaviours like:

Trying to Please Everyone

Trying to Please Everyone

It’s natural to seek approval or rapport from your subordinates. However, if this gets in the way of providing your team members with direct and honest feedback just to avoid conflict, you’ve got a problem.



Always give credit where credit is due, sure.

But don’t praise people who don’t deserve it. If you have problems with their performance or output, be equally honest and transparent. Accountability is also important, after all.

Playing Favorites


When you have skilled and competent employees, it’s only natural to gravitate towards them.

However, never play favorites. While it’s okay (and even encouraged) to show your gratitude to your workers, avoid doing so via overtly preferential treatment.


How to Earn Respect – With or Without Being Liked

Being respected yields a lot of benefits. This includes greater satisfaction with your job and more feelings of trust and safety. On top of that, it also gives you a sense of meaning and significance.

So, how do you achieve this? Here are a few strategies:

Telling the Truth

Telling the Truth

Well-respected leaders tell the truth, even( and especially) if it’s unpopular. Moreover, they always explain the reason behind their actions.

This way, their employees will understand the rationale behind every difficult decision that they make and come to respect it – whether they agree with the said decision or not.

Say No When You Need To


This is one of the things that sets exemplary leaders apart from mediocre ones. While the latter will do anything to be liked, the former prioritize more important things. If they have to say no in order to bring forth the best possible results, they will do so. And without hesitation.

Being Consistent and Fair

Being Consistent and Fair

When you don’t have to worry so much about being liked, you can be more consistent and fair when setting rules and expectations. This means you can hold everyone -and I mean, EVERYONE- accountable.

Lastly, respected leaders understand the importance of fairness and consistency in the workplace. And so, they also honor the boundaries that they have set for themselves and for others.


While being liked is good, nothing beats being respected. Hence, if you have to pick between the two, always choose what’s right rather than what’s easy.

Fortunately, it’s possible to get both with Remote Staff.

We have been providing AU SMEs and entrepreneurs with easy access to the right Filipino remote workers for the last 15 years and counting.

So, call us today or schedule a call back and let’s get started.


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Disclaimer: The above article was written according to the information available as of press time.
All opinions and beliefs expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Remote Staff's, its employees, subcontractors, clients, and affiliates.

About The Author

Serena has been working remotely and writing content for the better part of the last decade. To date, she's written for Pepper.ph and Mabuhay Magazine, among others, and has churned out more than a thousand articles on everything from The Basics of Stock Market Investing to How to Make Milk Tea-Flavored Taho at home. Hermits, aspiring hermits, and non-hermits with interesting project propositions may email her at serena.estrella10@gmail.com.

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