If you had to pick one– which would it be? This was the question asked by Jon Meacham at an event I attended on Friday. He says you can tell a lot about a politician by the answer to this question, and some of the examples he gave included Bill Clinton (clearly one driven by the need to be liked) versus Pres. Obama (who undoubtedly values respect more than winning some popularity contest).
Especially when dealing with an alpha male or female, keep this in mind: Nothing will trigger a more viceral reaction than being disrespected. After coming from New York, having worked really hard to get to a certain level, and dealing with one crisis after another all day, I admit nothing is going to set me off more at the end of the day than thoughtlessness– don’t park in my spot, break promises, make demands or dismiss my concerns. Luckily, I have no problem telling people when to back off, and after I’m done, I can thaw and move on– but not everyone around me can. This has taken me a long, long time to grasp.
There are I think many more that are concerned with being liked, and many non-New Yorkers or non-litigators that don’t really get the whole respect thing, having an attitude in the beginning, being a bit biting or sacrastic, and later having a good laugh over it all. In court, we all throw punches, and then afterwards, we are all able to go hang out with our colleagues and relish in our war stories over a drink. We go from slinging mud at each other one minute, to hugging each other the next. It has been my M.O. for almost 15 years now, but I am starting to see that this is not the norm for most.
When you only hang out with your own kind, there is so much you can’t see. I love how much my world has expanded over the last several years, but learning to change certain deeply seeded behaviors is hard, and it doesn’t happen over night. While I continue to work on my progress, I just encourage others to be more patient with the alphas they’ll encounter– it’s not that we don’t want to be liked, it’s just that we value respect hundred times more.