Stop Trying to Make People Like You

Whether you admit it or not, you want people to like you. Not just your family, friends, and colleagues, but you want your supervisor and your subordinates to like you too. Here are a few reasons why you need to stop trying to make people like you.


One of my greatest struggles as a leader is overcoming the desire to be liked. I want to share with you a few lessons I’ve learned about getting people to like you when you’re the leader.

  1. You are making your relationship too personal. Jesus commented that a prophet is honored everywhere but his hometown. Familiarity breeds contempt. The harder you work to make people like you by sharing too much about yourself, the harder it is for you to maintain the leadership respect you need.
  1. You lose focus on your role. While you’re spending time trying to make people like you, they aren’t getting the leadership they need from you to do their job. Your role is to lead, which means you should be guiding, equipping, and training your folks toward the mission.
  1. Resolving conflict is more difficult when you’re trying to be liked. Every leader is going to face conflict. It doesn’t matter if it is conflict you engage in or managing the conflict of your people, you are going to face it. Conflict resolution needs someone whose emotions aren’t invested in the people engaged in conflict.
  1. You need to say, “No.” One of your employees is going to ask you for a promotion, raise, or special treatment, and you need to be able to tell them, “No.” When you’re focused on getting people to like you, you are putting yourself in a difficult position when you have to say, “No.”
  1. You undercut the organizational structure. Your employees need consistency, and if you’re trying to make friends, you will be inconsistent in your communication style, problem solving, and attitude. Stop trying to be liked, and start being the consistent leader your people need.

Question: What lessons have you learned from trying to make people follow you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

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