Likeability vs Respectability

Likeability vs Respectability

Hey You!

Wondering whether you have to work on being liked or respected in the workplace? Have your parents instilled in you the following proverb: treat people like you want to be treated?

At the beginning of my career, I believed that to get promoted or to get the job done, one had to be ackowledged by their pairs. I have seen many of my previous managers use their likeability to influence their employee to enhance their performance and reach the goals of the project despite their lack of competence. In addition, many books state the importance of being liked in the workplace (see So Smart But…: How Intelligent People Lose Credibility – And How They Can Get It Back by Allen K. Weiner).

In this manner, I countered my instincts, came out my introvert comfort zone and decided to repeat the same practical career model that I have witnessed.

To put this career model into action, on a daily basis, I:

  • First and foremost, dressed for success,
  • shaked my coworkers hands every morning,
  • put on my Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt face,
  • wished everyone a good morning with a sparkling smile,
  • ate lunch with my coworkers,
  • organized outtings to theaters and comedy clubs,
  • engaged in innovative and interesting topics
  • spoke politely, respectfully and ethically.

To my demise, it wasn’t the corporate culture to be happy (see Signs You are a good fit for your new job) and being liked became a draining full-time job.

I soon learnt that I had to find a balance between likeability and respectability.

Below, you will find the pros and cons of being likeable in the workplace.

Likeability vs Respectability


  • Ability to influence and/or manipulate people
  • Establishment of an easy and positive work environment
  • Good performance evaluation besides competence mishaps
  • Good reputation and relationship with subordinates and superiors
  • Withdrawal from office competition
  • Acquisition of an honorable status in office politics
  • Avoidance of burned bridges


  • People are versatile and always changing opinion: wanting to be liked 24/7 is absolutely exhausting
  • Backing out of work related arguments
  • Being exploited and overlooked (for a promotion) because no boundaries have been set
  • Being perceived as weak by your pairs


  • Like yourself and put yourself first
  • Learn to say No
  • Quickly remove yourself from negative and abusive situation
  • Being liked requires being nice but don’t trust anyone, don’t expect anything from anyone, don’t expect your niceness to be returned and consider the people that you are being nice to
  • Stand up for yourself and for what is right


Sometimes being nice isn’t always the best thing because everyone knows that it‘s so easy to hurt nice people.

Abhishek Tiwari

Below, you will find the pros and cons for being respected in the workplace.

Likeability vs Respectability


  • Ability to influence but not manipulate people
  • Establishment of an efficient and productive work environment
  • Acquisition of a respectable status in office politics
  • Embodiment of the company’s culture and values


  • Existence of conflicts
  • Continuously taking the high road


  • Avoid comparing yourself to your coworkers
  • Avoid competing with your coworkers
  • Avoid impulsive and impetuous behaviour
  • Become an expert on your field
  • Learn how to handle office politics
  • Stay focused and in purpose

It is up to you to figure out if you are willing to pay the price.

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27 thoughts on “Likeability vs Respectability

  1. Likability v respectability – that’s a good question – especially since they often do not go hand in hand. Personally I would like to believe I would promote someone I respected even if I couldn’t stand them, before promoting someone because I liked them.Fortunately I have never been put to that test

  2. I always prefer to have respect over being liked. When it comes to work and career your not necessarily in need to be friends with everyone, but having their respect is so much more important.