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Tuesday, 10 October 2017
It's better to be loved than feared — but only if you know what you're doing
Researchers Joseph Folkman and Jack Zenger studied 51,836 leaders to discover how significant of a role likability plays in the success of leaders.
They found that only 27 leaders who were ranked in the bottom 25% of likability also ranked in the top 25% for leadership effectiveness.
That means there is only approximately a 1 in 2000 chance that a leader can be unlikable and successful.
Why does likability matter so much?
Likable leaders earn the trust of their team members and treat them well. Researchers discovered that when people feel respected by their leaders and are comfortable with them, they perform better on teams.
Teams with likable leaders also tend to be more stable in the long-run because of lower turnover rates. A Gallup survey found that almost 50% of people have quit jobs to escape bad bosses. This suggests that one of the reasons unlikable leaders fail to produce positive results is that they can't hold onto their top performing team members.
Even if they can hold on to their top performers, unlikable leaders are almost always incapable of leading teams through changes whether that's introducing a new project, changing a process, or going through a company restructuring.
For organizational change to be implemented effectively, people have to voluntarily change; if a leader forces them to do so, most people won't work efficiently because they are unwilling to adopt the changes. It takes a likable leader who has earned the trust of their teams to convince people to willingly step out of their comfort zones and do something a new way.
Don't underestimate the power of competence
However, competence is also important. An organizational psychologist Erlangen-Nuremberg asked people to choose between two training programs. One focused on competence related skills — more in the realm of being feared. The other focused on warmth-related skills — more in the realm of being loved. Most participants chose the competence-based training for themselves but the warmth-based training for other people. In other words, this is a nuanced issue. Here's how I break it down:
To be loved you value being:
A good team player
Leaders who prefer to be loved are people-oriented and specialize at fostering strong bonds on their teams.
To be feared you value being:
Seen as important
Leaders who prefer to be feared are goal-oriented and value orderliness and obedience.
Both are good and both are also bad. If you are loved, you're not always taken seriously. If you are feared, you're not always liked. Here's the thing, I believe there is a way to get both. I call this the science of charisma. It is the balance between being both warm and competent, both liked and respected. I have a twelve step method for teaching this skill to you.
Read the original article on Science of People. Vanessa Van Edwards is a self-described “recovering awkward person” who researches human behavior to try to figure out what makes us tick. She is the author of “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People.” Copyright 2017. Follow Science of People on Twitter.