Don’t be the boss everyone likes


I have held managerial responsibility for other people since my first job at 16. I’m pretty sure I haven’t always been great at it. One struggle I have had is always wanting my people to like me. This seems like it would be a good thing but I have discovered several reasons over time why I no longer want to be “the boss everyone likes”.

1. Nothing gets done because the boss holds no one accountable to their commitments. No accountability = no results.

2. Bad news is uncomfortable to deliver and to receive. If you can only say what you think people want to hear, you can’t be honest. No honesty = no trust.

3. No decisions are made because inevitably someone disagrees with someone else. No decisions = perpetual stalemate.

4. No conflict is allowed in meetings when the boss is afraid of hurt feelings. No conflict means there is no healthy exchange of ideas, which generally leads to only mediocre ideas getting presented. Everyone can agree on mediocre. People who want better will leave the organization to find a place where conflict promotes improvement.

I still fight the tendency to fall into these bad habits from time to time, but I clearly recognize that when I choose to prioritize things other than being liked, I am much more effective as a supervisor.

What about you? Ever made these mistakes and suffered the organizational consequences?

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