Is It Better to Be Liked or Feared?

Do you find your newly promoted manager vacillating between wanting to be feared and needing to be liked? It may be that the new position requires interpersonal skills that the manager doesn’t possess. He was great at his previous job where working solo was a necessity, but how to lead a team currently eludes him.

Therefore, he swings from being a power player —someone who rules the roost through fear—to a pushover— someone who will do anything to please. This can make you feel as if you’re on an emotional roller coaster—trying to determine what type of TOT he’s going to be today.

In my latest BloombergBusinessWeek article I posted that instead of vacillating between being power players and pushovers, leaders should try to earn respect. A recent LinkedIn discussion I led supported this premise. Most members of the Human Resource Management group felt that in order to garner respect, being liked is indeed better than being feared—but that at times some fear of authority is necessary to get the job done.

Has a Terrible Two tantrum ever been thrust upon you? Please take a look at BloombergBusinessWeek for a perspective on how real power thrives on respect.