Is It Better To Be Liked or Respected?

Is it better to be liked or respected?

Is it better to be liked or respected?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss which is more important – to be liked or respected – and reveal 10 tips about how to be both liked and respected – at the office and at home.

First a quick update:

“Why We Take Celebs Deaths So Hard”
Almost all of us could name a celebrity’s death that has affected us: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Amy Winehouse, Steve Jobs and so forth. But what is it that makes us so affected by celebrities’ deaths, whether they’re untimely or not?  Read the interview and insights I gave to Shape magazine about our emotional connection to people who help shape or impact our lives.

Now, let’s talk about which is more important – to be liked or respected – and reveal 10 tips about how to be both liked and respected – at the office and at home.

Many years ago when I was a TV reporter for Ten News in Australia, I was covering the inaugural elections for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which was now being granted self-governance by the Australian Commonwealth. Canberra, the capital of Australia is in the ACT.

The elections proved to be somewhat of a farce as some people formed political parties such as “The Sun-Ripened Warm Tomato Party”, “The Party, Party, Party Party” and “The Abolish Self-Government Party.” Yes, the latter party asked people to vote for it so it could then abolish the government, thus voting itself out of power. Absurd but true. At the end of the voting there was no clear winner and suddenly various parties were having private discussions to form coalitions to try and form government; even the Liberal and Labor Parties were discussing this possibility.

The TV news director told me that the politicians didn’t like me but they highly respected me. The respect was earned because I refused to accept their attempts to hide or withhold the truth; I exposed one politician’s past which involved distributing pamphlets claiming the Holocaust was a hoax.

However, one day, an official in the Administration deliberately misled me so that I would not get the full information regarding the announcing of the some of the administrative posts.

Why did he try and sabotage me?

He didn’t like me.

At that point I pondered about the difference between being liked and being respected.

Which is more important: to be liked or to be respected?

Is it possible to be both liked and respected?

As I will explain shortly, the attempt to be both liked and respected causes tremendous problems for people who are in positions of authority such as bosses and company executives or parents who inevitably hurt their children, albeit unintentionally.

To be respected infers that people honor, admire, esteem and praise your talents, abilities and knowledge.

To be liked infers that people perceive you and your personality as being agreeable, enjoyable, satisfactory or pleasing.

Here are tips on how to earn respect and how to become liked.

Earning respect

  1. Give respect
    Treat everyone at all levels with dignity; be fair, just and reasonable; be consistent; show consideration, be helpful and supportive
  2. Maintain integrity
    Be true to your values and principles, even if it makes you unpopular
  3. Create a vision
    As a parent or a CEO, create a unified vision for the goals, expectations and objectives of your family or company.
  4. Take pride in your work
    Do a good job for its own sake
  5. Be punctual and dress appropriately
  6. Act out of passion and purpose, not fear or obligation
    Don’t say yes to please everyone when you know it’s not in everyone’s best interests
  7. Accept feedback and criticism
    Encourage others to share their opinions and perspectives; avoid taking it personally; be willing to learn.
  8. Demonstrate concern and care
    Avoid gossip and social politics; seek to praise not condemn others
  9. Be emotionally intelligent
    Be tenacious and committed but become aware of your own emotions and those of other people around you
  10. Accept responsibility
    Be willing to be accountable and responsible for your decisions, choices and their consequences. Make courageous decisions.

Becoming liked

  1. Earn respect
    Being respectful to others also leads to being liked, although a person can be respected for talent but not necessarily liked
  2. Significance
    Make the other person feel significant and special – praise and encourage them; thank them – express gratitude for them and their contributions; tell them why they are significant in your life or company
  3. Smile
    When you smile you express an acceptance towards others
  4. Express interest
    Express sincere interest in the other person; ask questions and listen attentively
  5. Focused attention
    We all crave and need attention (it makes us feel significant); give all of your attention to the person at hand i.e. stop texting, reading your phone or computer while speaking or being with someone; face them and look at them when talking to them
  6. Encourage potential
    Learn what inspires and motivates each person; encourage them to pursue and realize their dream and express their potential, even if that means they will eventually outgrow your company or leave home and move to another state.
  7. Be kind, fair and just
    This trait also falls in the category of “earning respect” but it also leads to be liked. Additionally, be helpful.
  8. Become aware of your temperament
    Your temperament is your personality. Do you laugh easily? Do you become emotional too easily or do you never show any emotion and therefore people perceive you as cold and uncaring? Think of the most appropriate response for each situation.

Being respected is about being admired for our talents while being liked can also be compared to being popular. Too often, people in positions of power, authority and leadership end up losing the respect of the people around them because they are more concerned with being liked (and being invited out socially) than they are concerned with doing the right thing – that which is best for the company, team or family.

Parents make this mistake easily today, particularly single parents. They try to become friends or popular with their children: they want to hang out with them or go shopping with them and thus they avoid any form of confrontation, conflict or uneasy response by the children.

Read my article: The dangers of being your child’s friend.

In order to be an effective leader or parent, you must first be respected. You must be the example and role model. When making tough decisions with harsh consequences, you must be prepared to accept that people will not like or welcome the decision and consequences, no matter how necessary.

If a parent chooses to only be liked by his/her children, then the parent will never be able to enforce rules and boundaries. He/she will not become an effective teacher because of the fear that doing what is in the best interests of the child will make the child uncomfortable or angry with the parent. In this relationship dynamic, there must be some space, some gap between the leader/boss and the team. Both the parent and the company leader must focus on the goal and vision and not on seeking the approval, acceptance or popularity vote of the children or team members.

Simply put, each choice must be made within the context of what is in the best interests of the family/child or company/team members. It is not possible to have a constant equal share between being respected and being liked since some decisions will result in not being liked.

After my experience uncovering so much hypocrisy and corruption within the then Australian political system such as the Senator who was screaming about perverted pamphlets while he was cheating on his wife, I left the world of TV politics since I neither respected nor liked them!

When a person neither likes you nor respects you, you have nothing left.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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