Focus on the goal, not popularity.
While Machiavelli’s advice that it is better to be feared than loved may be a bit extreme for a workplace setting, it is true that strong leaders tend not to worry too much about the popularity of their decisions. Having authority is not easy or fun; it is often hard work, but work that needs to be done — by you.
- Nobody wants to be hated, of course, but you’ll probably find that being direct, making the tough decisions, and doing what must be done will earn the respect of others. If you focus too much on trying to please everyone, you’re likely to sacrifice respect for the sake of some superficial likeability.
- Deep down, most people would probably rather follow someone they respect than someone they like.