This is a commonly seen scenario in any work environment: You are given a huge task but relatively short period of time to complete it. You know from the bottom of your heart, your existing resources namely your current team does not have the capacity to accomplish the task within the timeframe.

What would you do?

Needless to say I would get my team to complete the work despite the short timeframe and sometimes, lack of certain resources. And every time I managed to accomplish the task. The more I did it and the more hardworking I became, I became less likeable by my superior and the management.

After years of making the same mistakes only then I came to some realizations:

1. You must have your own opinion
No one likes anyone that has no opinion. The ‘Yes Man’ or ‘Yes Woman’ will always become the blue eye boy – This is a myth and will not lead you to the Yellow Brick Road. Too many people try to win favour by flattering the Top Guys; so with you doing the same thing doesn’t put you in a better position. This is exactly what I did. I would say yes to any request including those unreasonable ones and will not choose to express my opinions so that I don’t upset anyone.

2. You must be able to add value
When you are ready to express you own opinion then you are ready to add value. You need to assess situation from a different perspective that may lead you to say or do something differently from the rest. Put yourself in the spotlight can be very tricky, but with the right amount of preparation works you are opening a door to a greater personal and professional development experience.

3. Gaining Respect and not increasing likeability
Being able to express your own opinion and then adding value, you are already on the way in gaining respect not only from your superior and management, but from your team as well.

Too many people focus on increasing likeability simply by nodding their heads to unreasonable requests or tasks that could not be accomplished; and eventually get away by either overloading their subordinates or putting the blame to someone or something else. Beware this is a downward spiral – When you lose the respect of your team or subordinates it gets even more difficult for you to get things done.

At the end of the day, what is the one thing that you can do today to starting adding value to your team? Nothing is too small.

This article is contributed by Deanie, the founder of She believes everyone possess the potential to create an extraordinary life. When she is not busy with her day job as Structural Engineer she enjoys writing career advices for young people.

    2 replies to "Workplace Dilemma: Gaining Respect vs Increase Likeability"

    • Cally Tan

      Agreed.This is especially obvious in the palm bulk trading office.

      • Deanie

        Hi Cally,

        Thanks for your feedback. Do you work in a palm bulk trading office? What are the typical issues you face in your working environment?

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