Respect versus popularity—it is the old conflict between being professional and being personal. We want to do a good job, but we want to be friends with everyone, too. The truth is, you can’t always be liked if you do your job properly. And the desire to keep everyone happy can become a weakness.
“At best,” says management consultant Jennie Lumley, “worrying about what others think makes us reactive when we need to be proactive. At worst, we’re so busy playing the office sweetheart that we lose sight of the demands of the job and our needs.”
This is a particular problem for women professions, Lumley finds. “It’s a childhood hangover. We all long to be the most popular girl in school. Also, girls are brought up to try to please. This need to be liked gets in the way of career progress. At work, men don’t give a thought to what others think so long as they get their way.”