There have been a number of studies in gender diversity showing that when people to something generally considered to be normal for the opposite gender, they are found to be less likable. This has been cited as something that has to be overcome in the workplace. People need to realize that the behaviors should be acceptable. There is another aspect to this that goes undiscussed. Perhaps people shouldn’t be trying so hard to be likable.

In my first job as a camp counselor I decided that I didn’t care if I was liked, but that it was important to me to be looked on as someone who was very good at his job. I kept the kids in line, did my job, and didn’t concern myself with being liked. What ended up happening is that I was liked. Why? People knew that I would go to bat for them. if they needed a hand, I was happy to help. When I disobeyed the camp director (which happened several times) the counselors followed my lead because they knew I was doing what was in the best interest of the kids in the group.

When I talked to the parents, I was told how much the kids loved being in my group. What surprised me was that the kids I disciplined the most were among my biggest fans. In fact, the kids liked me more than the counselor that brought in cookies and treats because they wanted to be liked.

Stop worrying if an action will make you likable. Aim to be of value. You’ll find that likability will follow.

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