Most of us want to be liked. We have to be liked to succeed in business or other endeavors. Yet here is the question: Can we be liked by everyone?
People who make a positive difference in the world (let’s call them the “credible movers and shakers”) are both bold and principled. It is a challenge to make things happen without these attributes. The emotional problem faced, however, is the fact that there will always be those opposed to their efforts. It comes with the territory. There are individuals in organizations I am active in who will not speak to me, based on ideological grounds. Yet there is enough reinforcement from others that validates my track. I have also been accused of provocative blog posts. (Really?)
A friend at church mentioned he refused to listen to a particular radio/TV personality on the grounds he is divisive. My response is, “Jesus was divisive and even says so, should we be otherwise?” Making a positive difference in the world (in any organization) is going to tick some people off.
A couple of years ago an association head and I “locked horns” over a particular issue (sorry for the vagueness in this article but the problem is not important). I felt he was being a jerk and he thought the same about me. Since then both of us have made some significant community impacts and have reconciled. Those of us in the bold world of ‘jerk-dom’ clash from time to time. If you have doubts on this just read James Madison: A Life Reconsidered. The history of our country’s founding was not a friendly affair; our founding principals were in a constant state of clash. You can see what a miracle our government truly is, knowing it was molded in a forum with more offers to duel than back-slapping. (Think today’s congress is at odds? Read it!)
To be liked by everyone and still make a positive difference in our sphere is naïve and leads to mediocrity. Want to make a real difference? Put a target on your back and get over it!Jim Mullaney
READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “Teaching Your Staff to Become Liars?“
Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a “Fast 55” virtual company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.