How do I get my employees to like me?

How do I get my employees to like me?

Generally speaking, who doesn’t want to be liked, right? When I was a new manager, my first question was, “How do I get my employees to like me?” That’s a valid question because I want to be liked like most normal, sane people. I wasn’t sure how close I needed to be to them in order to motivate them toward productivity and efficiency. But does my team need to like me or simply do what I tell them to do? Is one related to the other?

Let’s look at both perspectives.

From my employees’ perspective, having a manager they genuinely like can significantly improve their overall job satisfaction.

When my former team members liked me, they were likelier to feel motivated, engaged, and loyal to the organization.

Building a positive relationship with them fosters a sense of support, trust, and camaraderie, leading to a more harmonious and collaborative work environment. When my employees genuinely liked me, I found that they were more inclined to go the extra mile, meet deadlines, exceed expectations, and contribute to the team’s success.

How do I get my employees to like me

How to gain respect at work as a leader

On the other hand, from my former managerial standpoint, it is not always necessary for my employees to like me in order to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

While having a likable personality is great, my ultimate goal as a manager was to gain their respect and trust. Being a manager that employees respect is important for credibility and authority.

This directly affects my ability to give guidance, set expectations, and make difficult decisions. Striking a balance between being respected and being liked is essential, as being too focused on being liked can compromise the ability to lead effectively.

While it is desirable for me as a manager to be liked by my employees, it is not the sole determining factor of one’s effectiveness. Building positive relationships, trust, and respect are crucial elements for successful management.

Striving to be a likable manager and one who earns the respect of a team should be the aim, ensuring that employees not only like you but also perform their duties effectively.

Building respect from subordinates is crucial for effective leadership. Here are five ways to earn respect in a professional setting:

  1. How do I get my employees to like me: Lead by Example:
    Demonstrate the qualities and work ethic you expect from your team. Be reliable punctual, and show a strong commitment to your work. Leading by example sets a standard that encourages your subordinates to follow suit.

  2. How do I get my employees to like me: Communicate Effectively:
    Foster open and transparent communication. Actively listen to your team members, value their input, and provide clear and constructive feedback. Keeping everyone informed and involved helps build trust and shows that you respect their perspectives.

  3. How do I get my employees to like me: Show Empathy:
    Understand the challenges and concerns of your subordinates. Empathy creates a supportive environment and demonstrates that you care about their well-being. Acknowledge their professional and personal aspects to build a stronger connection.

  4. How do I get my employees to like me: Acknowledge and Appreciate:
    Recognize and appreciate the efforts and achievements of your team. Publicly acknowledge their contributions and provide positive reinforcement. Feeling valued and appreciated enhances morale and fosters a positive attitude toward the work and the team.

  5. How do I get my employees to like me: Be Consistent and Fair:
    Apply policies and expectations consistently. Fairness is key to earning respect. Avoid favoritism and treat all team members with equity. Consistency in your decision-making establishes a sense of fairness and predictability within the team.

To gain respect from subordinates, prioritize leading by example, emphasizing reliability and commitment.

Open and transparent communication is essential; actively listen, value input, and offer clear feedback.

Try to understand and address the challenges your team faces, showing empathy for professional and personal concerns.

Recognition for their efforts is crucial — I publicly acknowledged achievements and provided positive reinforcement. People love public praise. I was not perfect as a manager, but that is one thing I tried to do.

Listen to my podcast on this subject!

The “Cool” President Syndrome

Remember the presidential candidate who won the race largely because he was someone folks would most likely want to have a beer with? Translation: they liked him.

When we like people, our emotions become involved. Emotions are closely linked to feelings. I think both reach our most primal core when we feel happy, peaceful, excited, and joyful.

Emotions significantly influence our inclination toward others.

Positive emotions, such as joy and contentment, contribute to a sense of liking or affinity. Empathy and understanding, rooted in the ability to comprehend and resonate with another’s emotions, foster connections.

Shared interests and commonalities evoke positive feelings, promoting a sense of familiarity. Trust and security, essential to liking, are closely tied to positive emotions.

Likewise, feelings of respect and admiration often shape favorable perceptions. The nuances of nonverbal communication, including body language and facial expressions, further contribute to the emotional landscape of liking someone. I can’t stand it when a person’s mouth says one thing, but their body language says something completely differently.

Emotions, in a measured and nuanced manner, play a pivotal role in the intricate fabric of human connections and relationships.

Antonio D’Amasio, professor of neuroscience at The University of California, explains the difference between emotions and feelings:

“Feelings are mental experiences of body states, which arise as the brain interprets emotions, themselves physical states arising from the body’s responses to external stimuli. (The order of such events is: I am threatened, experience fear, and feel horror.)” 

Feelings have value in the workplace

Feelings have physiological implications. Feeling bad emotionally can make you feel bad physically.

Think about it. Have you ever felt terrific until you walked into a negative workplace?

Your spirits drop, and so do your shoulders and your head aches. Tension mounts in your neck. It could be bad feelings and emotions manifesting in your body. Time to look for a new job – at least it would be for me.

I digress.

When employees “like” the management, their professional output is more likely to produce good feelings. These good feelings make work less of a chore and more pleasant, I think.

Is the goal to “like” or to “care” about?

I recall doing things I was petrified to do to make my manager proud of me. I cared about her, and I conquered several professional challenges and personal inconveniences (like travel) in an effort to make her happy. It was a win-win for her and me.

Yeah, I’m team “like your manager.” How about you?

Now, let’s discuss the question: “How do I get my employees to like me”? Let me tell you about a manager that I not only liked, but she changed my entire life.

I’ve blogged about her several times. I was on her team for almost ten years at a nonprofit organization in Kansas City called YouthNet. It’s been several years since I’ve worked with Deborah Craig, but I remain in touch with her to this day…because I like her. No, now I love her like family. 

I can’t quite put my finger on what she did to make me like her in those early years, but she did. In fact, the entire team felt the same way about her.

The irony is she and I didn’t have much in common. We come from completely different worlds, disagree politically, and even have different spiritual and world beliefs.  In spite of being polar opposites, we bonded due to her stellar 360-degree leadership. I don’t know exactly what she did as a manager to make me like her so much.

Either way, it began with me caring about her and what she thought.

Here is what she did…

However, if I had to put my finger on it, I’d say Deborah cared about her team as individuals and not just subordinates.

I don’t know if she cultivated it or had a natural gift for seeing exactly who each person was and what they could become. Then, she would invest in them and offer opportunities for them to soar.

As for me, Deborah knew I could be a great trainer even before I did. She discerned my natural talents and gently pushed me toward them. This means she had me certified in Advancing Youth Development, Epstein’s Six Types of Parent Involvement, and True Colors.

A once shy, introverted young professional found her life calling because Deborah Craig “saw” her, inquired about her passions, and then equipped her for achievement. I’m forever grateful.

Back to the original question: How do I get my employees to like me? It starts with seeing the potential of each person on your team and then nurturing those talents.

Great managers care…about the people.

Who wouldn’t like them?

It’s only normal managers are concerned about business goals, performance, and the company’s bottom line. Still, the catalyst for each of these is the people

Yes, people – whole beings with feelings, souls, and emotions. Smart managers leverage each of these to motivate peak performance and build loyalty.

For instance, think about staff meetings. Smart managers consider how the team might feel about the meeting’s data, changes, and process.

They contemplate possible reactions and the emotional toll they might take on the team. They survey them to find out what team dynamics work best for them.

They are interested. They want the team to leave each meeting happy and invigorated – not burdened and depressed.

They care.

They are professional “psychics”.

Well, not really. But, good managers cultivate the strengths to just be “in touch.” Again, they can look at each employee and see what they can possibly become within the company.  They get to know each person and listen to what is important to them.

They ask questions and discover a person’s passion – inside and outside the company. 

Back in the day, Deborah Craig discovered I loved communication and that I was a thinker. From that, she saw the “potential trainer” that could serve YouthNet and youth-serving agencies. 

Smart, likable managers see past the present and see what can be. Think of it: you may just be the catalyst for changing that person’s life and career just like Deborah changed mine.

Establishing clear boundaries between managers and employees is crucial for maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. A manager’s role involves providing guidance and direction, but it’s important to avoid micromanaging and respect the autonomy of team members. 

Open communication is key; managers should encourage employees to share their concerns or ideas without fear of negative consequences. 

Finding a balance between being professional and approachable helps build trust. 

Clear expectations and consistent enforcement of policies help define roles and responsibilities. Striking this balance ensures a respectful and collaborative workplace where managers have authority while promoting an inclusive and supportive atmosphere.

How do I get my employees to like me?

Be careful being “too friendly.”

While workplace camaraderie can enhance team dynamics, potential pitfalls associated with friendships between managers and employees should be navigated carefully. 

One significant risk is the perception of favoritism, which can compromise the team’s trust and morale. Employees may feel uneasy about reporting issues or providing constructive feedback if they perceive a personal bias. 

Another challenge is the potential for blurred professional boundaries, leading to difficulties in maintaining a balanced and objective management approach. 

Friendship dynamics could make it difficult for managers to make difficult decisions or give constructive feedback when needed. To overcome these challenges, it is important for managers to set clear boundaries, treat all team members equally, and maintain professionalism to uphold their management responsibilities.

I’ll ask again: who wouldn’t like a manager who cares about them, sees wonderful potential, and invests in their success?  Approach the dynamic with some caution to avoid the pitfalls of being “liked.”

A summary for this post, titled
“How do I get my employees to like me?”

I’ve tried to present two perspectives—employee and managerial—regarding likability in the workplace.

From an employee standpoint, having a likable manager significantly enhances job satisfaction, motivation, engagement, and loyalty.

Positive relationships foster support, trust, and collaboration, creating a more harmonious work environment. However, the managerial viewpoint emphasizes that while being liked is desirable, the ultimate goal is to gain respect and trust.

Balancing likability with credibility is crucial for effective leadership, as being too focused on being liked may compromise the ability to lead. I also provided some practical tips for managers to earn respect, such as leading by example, effective communication, showing empathy, acknowledging and appreciating efforts, and being consistent and fair.

Then, I concluded by highlighting the value of caring for employees, understanding their potential, and investing in their success as key elements in building positive workplace relationships.

Good luck, and I hope you liked this post on “How do I get my employees to like me?”

Online resources

Don’t treat Your Employees like you want to be treated

4 Things To Do If Your Team Doesn’t Respect You

Leveraging the 4 personality styles to help you when working with different personalities in the workplace.  I also discuss often how business personalities play a role in how you approach work and manage work personalities in general. I also answer the question” “how does personality influence communication at work?” Your temperament plays a role in everything. I love talking about it and exploring exactly how!