Why it is ok to be disliked - Executips

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Why it is ok to be disliked



Being likable opens many doors. But being disliked is sometimes a better option.

After Disney released its first Star Wars movie, original creator George Lucas publicly expressed his disappointment. Lucas, who has sold his intellectual property to Disney, was under contract to keep his thoughts private. But Robert Iger, Disney CEO, decided not to sue for breach of contract. He did not even engage in a press war. Iger allowed himself to be disliked by Lucas and maybe other critics,too. By not bothering to defend himself, he prevented damage to the image of the Disney-Lucasfilm partnership. He also preserved his friendship with Lucas who apologized later on.

By the way, Iger was vindicated by fans who made Episode 7: The Force Awakens the highest-grossing Star Wars movie.

We do things with good intentions, with a clean conscience, and with an effort to explain our reasons for doing what we do. But some people may still dislike us.

In the book the Courage to be Disliked, authors  Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga described the belief of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of Psychology. Adler advocated the “separation of tasks.” It means that while we strive to be liked, it is not our task to make people like us. We cannot control other people. We cannot force them to see things our way.

Kishimi and Koga warned that if we live for the approval of other people, we may end up “living other people’s lives.”

Leaders often run the risk of being disliked if they must do the right and necessary things. My boss Gabby Lopez said to me in at least two critical situations: “Let’s not worry about what people might think as long as we are sure we are doing the right thing.”

Many people don’t want to be disliked because it comes with a bad feeling which is felt as stress. So, psychologists Todd B. Kashdon and Robert Biswas-Diener assert in the book The Power of Negative Emotion that being comfortable with a bad feeling that comes with a good decision should be in every leaders’ toolbox. They advised, “it’s helpful to focus on what you want to accomplish than what you feel.”

Being afraid to be disliked may make us vulnerable to manipulation, pressure, or any kind of influence. You can agree with me that saying “yes” easily gets persistent, annoying people out of our way. It also makes us feel good to make people happy.  But what if that short-term good feeling will have long-term bad consequences?

In the book Psychological Triggers, psychology researcher Peter Hollins recognized that “the toughest time in saying no usually occurs right after you say so. It’s when you want to offer help, keep talking, or do anything to reduce the tension that your no has created. This is usually the time when you start wavering.”

So, he recommends that we “don’t need to make excuses.” We should make our “no” short and simple because “the more details you give, the more fodder you give people to pick at.”

Even Jesus Christ accepted being unpopular because he had to say “no” to a request He couldn’t grant. The Jews were expecting someone who would lead them militarily and politically. He was popular at the beginning of His ministry. But when He preached a different Gospel, the Jews soon rejected Him. “From that time, many of His disciples did not walk with Him anymore” (John 6:66).

I’m still an advocate of likability because it disarms and it influences aside from making us care about how other people feel. So, before any “unpopular” person feels justified by this article, they must ask themselves “is my intention good, is my conscience clean, is my explanation clear, is my approach loving? “

If they answer “yes” to the question, they can lean on what Kishimi and Koga wrote: “…as long as you do not lose sight of the guiding star of ‘I contribute to others,’ you will not lose your way, and you can do whatever you like. Whether you’re disliked or not, you pay it no mind and live free.”


Read:

Psychological Triggers: Human Nature, Irrationality and why We do What We Do by Peter Hollins

The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

The Power of Negative Emotion: How Anger, Guilt and Self-Doubt are Essential to Success and Fulfilment by Todd B. Kashdon and Robert Biswas-Diener

The Ride of A Lifetime by Robert Iger






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