Morale is based on the mood of the organization. The mood is created by leadership first and foremost. Now check out this paradox.
- When a leader has the intention of being liked, the mood sinks and morale decreases.
- When a leader has the intention of being respected, the mood rises and morale increases.
When I ask my clients which one they would rather be, they always seem to respond with “I’d rather be respected than liked”. When we look deeper, though, at how they are behaving… their actions and behaviours are of the “being liked” variety.
Example: A leader who wants to be respected will observe inappropriate behaviour and discuss it openly with the individual no matter how difficult the conversation feels. A leader who wants to be liked will observe inappropriate behaviour and will avoid discussing it with the individual for fear of upsetting them, which ultimately is a form of self-preservation - i.e. wanting to be liked.
The desire of wanting to be liked is a pattern that is conditioned in us from childhood. The need to be liked comes from a child’s requirement for acceptance. A child’s requirement for acceptance comes from a child’s dependence on others for survival. The need to be liked has its place in our adult world… but for adults, it has a completely different place, and it is one that has no place in the work environment. The pattern language of "I need to be liked" is created in childhood. We need a new pattern language as adults.
Your staff want you to first and foremost hold people accountable, including yourself. That will not always put you in a position of being liked.
However, holding people accountable will put you in a place of respect. Respect will raise the mood of the organization, which will in turn increase morale. With increased morale, you will have increased performance. If you can do that in a respectful and kind way, you will also be liked.
So ask yourself, would you rather be liked or would you rather be respected? Now look at your pattern language and set a new intention. What do you think?