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Leadership is NOW!

You’re a Leader Now. Not Everyone is Going to Like You.

by Martin G. Moore - September 16, 2021

Harvard Business Review

If you’re a new manager, you probably feel a burning desire to be liked and accepted by your team. It’s human nature. You want to win people’s approval, keep them happy, and demonstrate all the desirable attributes of a great boss.

Even so, as the person in charge, almost everything you do will have the potential to trigger conflict. Consider your core responsibilities: Stretching your team to reach higher standards; coaching people one-on-one; setting collective and individual goals; making tough calls; negotiating; drawing out and resolving tensions to unlock diverse thinking.

Most of these tasks will involve some form of conflict, and none of them will go hand in hand with being liked. If you’re not comfortable with that, you’ll struggle to do your job well and gain the respect of others.

The truth is leadership is hard. It demands that we sometimes do things that are opposite our primordial instincts. We constantly risk not being loved by the masses. It’s one of the most difficult psychological barriers to overcome, but ultimately, your job is to deliver results. This means you have to make decisions that not everyone is going to like and you can only do that if you get comfortable with conflict.

In my experience as a corporate executive and CEO in a number of different industries, I’ve had the opportunity to coach and mentor leaders at all levels, many of whom were able to overcome conflict aversion to become stronger, more confident leaders.

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