Likeability and Leadership

11 May

People don’t follow people they don’t like.

It amazes me how people miss this truism. Truism? Yeah, a truism… click here.

I coined that opening phrase after observing lots of leaders who just didn’t seem to get it.

So let’s get this point straight, once and for all– explaining the truth in both negative and positive-statement forms:

  • People don’t follow people they don’t like
  • People generally follow people they do like

The answer isn’t the Mr. Nice Guy Dale Carnegie Solution: to ditch your convictions and to become a spineless wimp who believes nothing, has no opinions, and who only wants acceptance. You know, the Chamber of Commerce Guy.

But being a person of conviction doesn’t mean you need to earn a (D.D.) Doctorate of Disagreeability to “PROVE” just how much conviction you really have. Lots of leaders are so interested in COMPETENCE and IQ that they have no CHEMISTRY and EQ (emotional quotient). Good social skills are woefully lacking in many a leader and interpersonal interactions are half of our jobs as leaders.

I regularly work to evaluate my own likeability. Sure, people misread you and I sometimes– but that’s life. We can’t lose sleep over those who might assign false motives to us or have some kind of an axe to grind. But we can work to make the most of every opportunity to be our best selves because that’s the one that influences others.


4 Responses to “Likeability and Leadership”

  1. shawn mabry May 26, 2008 at 11:37 pm #

    Likeability or your EQ as a leader will definitey get you further than IQ. People will tolerate leaders who they may not care for, but that’s about it. People sacrifice for leaders who they believe in.


  2. c.w. goad June 19, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    Great blog Freddy! Not sure if you’d remember me, but here’s my blog–


  3. KG June 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    I think that these are excellent observations.


  4. Roger Smith July 23, 2008 at 2:50 am #

    Likeability is important, but what happens when a congregation makes it the one and only aspect of leadership that they will follow? For example, new ideas, concepts, and directions are all seen as reasons to dislike a leader. Basically, what happens when the people tie likeability to complacency?


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