Leadership is not about being liked

Activating soft skills does not mean a leader won’t discipline an employee or is always ‘nice.’ Sometimes a situation requires a leader to be firm and to have difficult conversations with employees, and perhaps even to be seen as ‘not nice.’

A leader’s role means making decisions and, from time to time, those decisions may be unpopular. Employees might even question if it is the right decision and temporarily impede productivity. While feedback is important, if the decision is the right one for the organization, employees who embrace the direction are the ones you want to have as part of your team.

The worst scenario is to do nothing for fear of not being liked. Good employees will come around (even if it takes them some time to accept the changes). Similarly, if an employee is causing disruption within the organization, doing nothing will have the rest of the employees feeling a lack of fairness, and distrust and fear will set in.

Being a great leader doesn’t mean that everything is always serious or that there isn’t any fun or laughter. Having an esprit de corps is important, and even critical, especially in times of stress to be able to ‘let off some steam.’ However, when it comes time to make a decision, a great leader must be able to step above and decide what is best for the organization, even if that means not being liked.


It’s often lonely at the top, but a leader’s role is to lead, not to be popular.


“If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader – sell ice cream.”
Steve Jobs

If you would like to hear more about leadership, reach out to Jo-Anne at
[email protected]

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