Frank Barone, brilliantly played by the late-Peter Boyle on TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond, had some wisdom buried deep inside his crusty exterior.
My favorite line of his: If your kids like you, you failed as a parent. Translated into a work truism: If your employees like you, you failed as a manager.
Um…yes and no.
If you do your job as a parent or a manager, you might not be the most popular person out there. Neither kids nor employees like being told what to do. Neither like having strict boundaries placed on them. Neither may enjoy being held accountable for their actions. Neither desire to redo a chore or job over and over again until it’s done the right way. Neither savor the moment when they hear you say NO to a request. Neither want to hear negative feedback or criticism.
On the other hand, if you fail to provide instruction and direction…if you let them do whatever they want to do without establishing boundaries or expecting accountability…if you let them slide, considering a job finished although it’s been finished poorly…if you don’t have the courage to say No when to do otherwise would lead to problems…and if you fail to share relevant, necessary feedback on performance, they still will not like you. Nor will they respect you.
The best parents and managers have one desired outcome: Bring out the best in others. That is accomplished by balancing structure with a heavy dose of praise and encouragement. When children and employees feel successful, feel like they are doing well, feel like they are contributing to something that is bigger then the moment in which they live, they tend to like those leaders who contribute to their success. When they feel like failures, they tend to blame those who let them fail.
Parents and managers, your goal is to create successful, balanced, independent, competent, productive children or employees. Like is not a goal in itself, it’s an outcome built by sharing mutual success.
And about Frank Barone’s comment? I would amend it to this: If your children or employees like you, make sure it’s because you are bringing out the best in them, not because you have no expectations for them.
Are you trying to be liked by others? Or are you trying to create success in others?