Should Leaders Strive To Be Liked?

I was reading an article in the Denver Business Journal that talked about the 10 competencies of a good leader. While I was perusing the list, I saw the usual suspects like having vision, being inspiring, strategic, good communication skills. Then I saw a word I wasn't expecting on this list.

The author of that article included "Likeability" on the list of competencies. 

This got me thinking and is the subject of our #BraveTalk discussion for today.

Is likeability a sign of a good leader?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 
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Background on the #BraveTalk discussion:

It is a comment challenge where I ask a question, present a point of view, or share an idea and you tell me your thoughts on it. There are no right or wrong answers. I just want to stir up an intellectual conversation with my community. By participating you practice key communication skills like giving feebdback, writing clearly and concisely, paraphrasing what others said, etc. Participate and share.

Now that you know what's in it for you and what responsibility you have, let's get started!


  1. Just because a leader is likeable does not necessarily mean they are good at leading other people. I have plenty of friends that I like, but some of them would be terrible leaders.

    I think leaders should strive to be likeable. To be friendly and looked upon as someone approachable, but I also can understand how leaders (like military generals or other officers) might not be at all likeable and yet they may do the best job out of anyone in accomplishing goals.

    I would obviously much prefer to work for a likeable leader, but that doesn't mean that I'll always get it!

  2. I think likeability is nice, and definitely can help, but I think a better focus is on the inspiration side of things. I know that I've had leaders that aren't always easy to get along with, but they inspire me to try my best and do what is necessary. Alternatively, I've known leaders that weren't willing to say the difficult things that needed to be said because they wanted to remain liked.

  3. Daniel nailed a lot of the points I was ready to make. Approachability is important and a likeable leader is more apt to gain trust. So should leaders strive for likeability? Absolutely. Should leaders strive to please everyone? Absolutely not. Impossible. They should, however, strive to do good by as many people as they come across and serve with confidence and candor.

  4. I think you make an interesting distinction Leo. Leaders can aim to be liked but shouldn't aim to please everyone. Thanks for joining the discussiion.

  5. Inspiration--that is a huge conundrum that many leaders are still trying to figure out. How do I inspire? Is the way I inspire working? I can't tell how many leaders I know who won't say the hard truth in fear of being disliked.

  6. Being approachable is essential Daniel, You are right. But the question this article raises for me is should likeability be a competency of leadership? How would one teach one to be likeable? You don't have to answer this specifically. I am just musing.