Leaders often struggle with the issue of whether being liked by their direct reports is important or not.  I personally believe it is because those on your team not only have to be ABLE to help you, they must also WANT to help you for your organization to thrive.  Otherwise, they will do the bare minimum necessary causing your leadership to be short-lived.

Recently, Nielson Sports partnered with the market research firm E-Poll to put together its list of America’s Most Disliked Athletes In 2013.  Now a quick disclaimer – this is their list, not mine.  However, it is interesting to see why people dislike a person and how long that feeling persists.  There is much here that all leaders can learn from.

Now onto the Top 10 Most Disliked Athletes and why they are on the list.

  • Highly Disliked Leaders Lack Integrity – Unto whom much is given, much is required.  Lance Armstrong was the most disliked athlete on the list.  He lied.  Not only did he lie but he did so from a large platform.  The lesson for leaders is that the larger your platform, the more vital your personal character is.  It also teaches us that even the largest platforms can be lost in an instant because of poor judgment.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Crave Personal Attention – It appears that Manti Te’o (#2 on the list) was the victim of a hoax.  However, those surveyed felt he embellished the idea for personal attention.  When your leadership becomes about you rather than others, you are sure to lose your influence.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Perform Poorly – Tiger Woods was #3 on the list.  We thought we knew Tiger.  His popularity was based both upon his image and high level of play.  When his image was destroyed because of his highly publicized infidelity problems, all that was left of his relationship with the public was his performance.  And that has not returned to its pre-2008 form.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Refuse To Pay The Price Of Leadership – Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (#4) is seen as standoffish with teammates and the public.  Also, the image of him not participating because of injury in the 2011 playoffs still lingers as a picture of  “softness”.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Made Big Mistakes – Meta World Peace (#5), Mike Vick (#7), and Kobe Bryant (#9) were all interesting case studies.  None has made mistakes in the last few years but still made the list because of past indiscretions.  The lesson for leaders is that people are generally forgiving, but it appears they rarely forget.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Have Poor People Skills – I am surprised that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez came in as low as #6.  Depending on the outcome of his latest PED investigation, he may rise to the second position.  Rodriguez simply comes off as unapproachable and unlikable.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Have Anger Issues – NASCAR driver Kurt Busch came in at #8 because of his hot temper and constant arguments with teammates and reporters.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Are Often In High Profile Positions – Sometimes leaders are disliked simply because of the position they hold.  Take Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for example who came in at #10.  He has been a model citizen but because of the high-profile position he holds, he shoulders an excessive amount of blame.

A Lack Of Integrity, Craving Personal Attention, Poor Performance, Refusing To Pay The Leadership Price, Big Mistakes, Poor People Skills, Anger Issues, and being in a High Profile Position.  If you have any of these 8 practices, be careful.  You are mostly disliked as a leader and your tenure could be brief.

If this describes you, what is one thing you can do TODAY to begin building bridges with those you are called to serve?

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