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Leadership Rules: 50 Timeless Lessons For Leaders by Jo Owen

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CHAPTER 11

POPULARITY VERSUS RESPECT

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People like to be liked. And we can now count our friends on Facebook and see how popular we are: competitive social approval is here to stay.

As most leaders are also human beings, it is natural that leaders want to be liked. Machiavelli, writing in 1512, observed this and saw the dangers of succumbing to Facebook-style popularity. He saw the essential weakness in seeking to be liked: people are fickle in what and who they like, and so courting popularity is a dead end. You seek popularity by giving one concession, and that simply sets up the expectation of more concessions. You remain as popular as you are ...

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