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Would you rather be liked or feared?

If ever there was a trick interview question, this is it.

“Liked” may be a positive sounding answer, but in a business setting it can sound weak without the right spin. Managers, for example, may have to push people to work, or even fire people who aren’t doing the job. If this is your answer, it’s a good idea to qualify it.

“Of the two I’d rather be liked, but at work being liked isn’t the only concern. The job has to get done, and if getting the job done means someone may not like me, I’ll do my best to resolve the situation but not worry about it too much.”

“Feared” is nothing but a negative. Usually this pertains to bosses or managers, but it can pertain to co-workers too – the lady nobody wants to talk to because she always criticizes, or the guy people don’t question because he carries a grudge and reports the smallest thing to the boss. No matter the spin, feared carries negative connotations and should not be the answer.

Task Master:
“People in my department know better than to fool around. Some people don’t understand work isn’t supposed to be fun, that’s why it’s called work. I’m always watching, ready to pounce if they aren’t keeping their nose to the grindstone. If I don’t yell at someone at least once a day, I’m not doing my job.”

The Scrooge management method went out of style a long time ago, Employers don’t want this type of manager, because it makes it hard to keep employees. Constant turnover costs money.

“Do your job and you’re fine around me. But people know I carry a notebook, ready to jot down whatever infraction they commit.”

This type of employee creates conflict in the work force, and overall a negative working environment. Companies and managers don’t want conflict and strife, they want goals met and people happy at work.

The best answer combines shades of “liked” and “feared” with other positive, desirable qualities. Memorize this question and answer – it’s the most set in stone answer of all the interview question answers.

“I don’t want to be liked or feared, I want to be respected.”

One young man gave perhaps the worst answer ever given for this question. “Why, do you have a problem with me?”

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