Is it your job to be liked or to get results? Can you do both? This is an important questions for leader-managers and for project managers.
A study asked lots of MBA students, in three separate studies using both qualitative and quantitative methods, how they saw each other and how they saw their past bosses in terms of like-ability and the ability to get things done. They found that too little and too much assertiveness marks people as ineffective–the inverted U-shape. When you’re too assertive, you have poor working relationships; when you’re not assertive enough, you have poor results. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to be perceived as either too assertive or not assertive enough by your followers.
Whether you’re dealing with conflict, influencing people to do something, or motivating your team, you want to be like Goldilocks and find the ‘sweet spot’ of ‘just right’–moderately assertive–because in the studies, assertiveness levels were complained about more than any other leadership trait–charisma, conscientiousness, intelligence, and so on.
Now you can have your cake and eat it, too.