010 - Beyond Likability: Prioritizing Respect in Entrepreneurship

I want to discuss a topic I've been grappling with—understanding the difference between being respected and being liked. As a self-described peacemaker, I've struggled with confrontation and holding people accountable. But through my experiences, I've learned valuable lessons that I'd like to share with you.

I want to discuss a topic I've been grappling with—understanding the difference between being respected and being liked. As a self-described peacemaker, I've struggled with confrontation and holding people accountable. But through my experiences, I've learned valuable lessons that I'd like to share with you.

The Struggle of Being Liked

In the past, I used to prioritize being liked above everything else. As a peacemaker, I would avoid conflicts at all costs, even if it meant compromising my own boundaries. This behavior not only affected my personal life but also had a detrimental impact on my professional life as an entrepreneur. 

For instance, I found it challenging to confront employees when they made mistakes or address issues that arose. Instead, I focused on giving positive feedback rather than providing constructive criticism. I needed to learn how to strike a balance and effectively communicate with my team.

Finding the Middle Ground

Through trial and error, I've discovered that different individuals respond differently to feedback. Some prefer direct, to-the-point advice, while others prefer a tactful approach. Recognizing these differences has enabled me to adapt my communication style accordingly. To offer constructive feedback, I now frame it as "homework," emphasizing that we are all continuously learning and growing.

I also employ the "sandwich method," where I start with a compliment, provide suggestions for improvement, and end on a positive note. This approach has allowed me to address issues effectively while maintaining a supportive and encouraging environment.

The Importance of Accountability

Accountability is a crucial aspect of any business, and as an entrepreneur, I had to learn how to hold my team accountable. Initially, I felt uncomfortable setting specific goals or expectations because I feared the potential consequences of addressing underperformance. 

However, I realized that achieving accountability, growth, and improvement would be easier. I implemented key performance indicators (KPIs) to overcome this challenge and created a culture that values accountability. Additionally, I had to develop the courage to let go of employees who needed to fit the company's vision and goals.

Embracing Change

Implementing change within an organization can be met with resistance from team members. Initially, I would stress over this resistance, but now I understand that change is natural and not everyone will immediately embrace it. 

Trusting my instincts and having confidence in the decisions I make has become crucial. I remind myself that while not everyone may agree with the changes, as a leader, I need to prioritize what is best for the company and the team's growth. By separating emotions from business decisions, I can make rational choices that benefit everyone involved.

The Journey of Personal Growth

Throughout my journey, I have learned to value respect over likability without dismissing the importance of being liked. It is essential to prioritize the health and success of my business over seeking constant validation. 

Holding my ground and making difficult decisions, such as imposing new processes or addressing underperformance, has become a part of my growth as an entrepreneur. Although it is not always easy, I have found peace in focusing on my values and doing what is right for the overall well-being of my business.

In conclusion, my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur has been one of self-discovery and growth. Understanding the difference between being respected and being liked has allowed me to navigate the challenges of leadership more effectively. While striving for respect, I have also come to accept that not everyone will like every decision.

Episode Transcription

010 - Beyond Likability: Prioritizing Respect in Entrepreneurship

Welcome e-commerce empresses to this episode of Woman Powering e-commerce. Join me every Tuesday and Thursday as I take you behind the scenes of my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur. Together we'll explore the highs, the lows, inspiring you to take action and achieve your own business goals. So let's get started.

Today I want to share with you something I have been struggling with. I am getting so much better at it, but I still have a little way to go, and that is understanding the difference between being respected and being liked. So I used to be someone that would do a lot of things just to be liked, and even though sometimes it would go beyond the limits I should have accepted and things like that. So work being like this has affected my professional life as well. And I'll share with you a little bit about that. So if you're into personality tests, when I look into my, what do you call it, the Enneagram, it'll describe me as a number nine, which is a peacemaker, and a peacemaker, what it does is basically we love to create harmony, we will do anything or almost to avoid conflict.

So as you can see, this can become problematic as a business owner. And that's what I did, it caused me issues in my own business. And one example of that is that I wouldn't confront employees when they did something wrong or something went wrong. And I was really good at providing positive feedback and not so much at giving constructive feedback. And it's still difficult for me today, but now I'm able to do it. I'm very able to do it all. I'll usually call it homework, still working on my terminology, but it's what I found that's still positive, because I want to make sure that people understand that we're always there to help them and coach them. And that's why I call it homework. But depending, I mean on the fault. But for now, that's usually what I'll say. If it's something that can be improved pretty easily, and I still use what I call the sandwich method, which is give a compliment, then you give something to work on or something that's not going well, and then you at least finish it off with something positive.

I feel like that's how I like to be given some advice, even though I don't mind now, just very direct advice, I actually appreciate it. We cut it short to the point, move on. But I know not everyone is like that. So I think I'm just trying to learn to adapt to also all kinds of personality types, depending on who you're speaking with. Some people I realize now they just want it straight to the point and some others they want or prefer to have it a little bit more sugarcoated. So, which I find is okay. And I like to try to adapt to the personalities.

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Another thing is that I used to feel very bad for holding people accountable for some results. And in that circumstance, I would just not set any goals or very vague ones, because I told myself, "What if they don't reach them? And then what do I do?" I'm not going to fire them. So all that questioning came into my head. I mean, that's not good in a business. You cannot do that. I mean, a business does not work like that. You need to hold your people accountable. You need to set goals, you need to measure. You can only improve what you measure. So you need to set KPIs, key performance indicators, and follow through, make sure everyone follows through. And another thing I was not good at is firing, I don't think anyone loves to do it, but for me it was hell, I haven't done it so many times, but enough to understand where I started, to where I am now.

And my first hire. And I'd love to speak to anyone who did a first... Not my first hire, my first fire. First time I did it, I cried after, it was not an easy thing to do. So, but when needs to be done, needs to be done and we move on, we learned to move on quickly. But it's not impossible to change. That's the number one thing I realized with time. I believe we're not 100% stuck to our personality type. And there is always some wiggling room to change because not all of our personality is genetics. A lot of it has been taught, it has been our environment that kind of dictated or molded us to what we are today. So I think that if we realize that, then it really leaves us room to make some improvements, which I have used and still do up till now to change.

I'm still working on this and I promise to share my journey, ups and downs, not only my successes. So I'm definitely dedicated to doing that. And I think it's just fair and honest and transparent to also share with you my current struggles, things I'm working on. And I hope you'll see the evolution of where I'm heading from now to later. So I'm still working on this and I promise to share my journey, not only my successes. So here it is. I love to share my struggles as well because it just shows how human I am and I'm working like everyone else. So we'll see where this leads us. So just to come back to what I was saying, I see more and more the value now in not necessarily being liked and I'd rather be respected than liked. I don't say this in the sense that I don't want to be liked.

Yes, I still do. But sometimes there are circumstances in a business, for the health of my business, I need to value more being respected than being liked. And for example, if I have some advice to give a team member, some constructive feedback or discipline an employee, I still don't like it. I still don't find it easy. But what helps me make it through it is I think of why, my purpose for doing it, what's more important? Is it being liked or making sure my business is healthy and doing what's best for it? So my values are more important to me than what other people think of me. And this is allows me to stick to what needs to be done, even if the person on the other end will not necessarily be happy with what I have to say. Because in the end, it's about what is the right thing to do.

I spoke earlier about accountability, about how I found it not easy to keep people accountable because if they were underperforming, I knew I'd have to have the talk and I didn't like to go through that. So I used to be an ostrich, let's put it that way. But I slowly am right now trying to implement a culture of accountability in learning as I go. And I'm actually starting to love in. I see the value in it. The more I implement, the more I see the value and the more I want to repeat it. So that's definitely something I love. And I realize if people are upset with you making them accountable, they're just not probably a good team member. They're not an A player. That's actually one value we just added, not two, our e-commerce company, but to my SaaS business. It's so important now to keep people accountable and make sure we have the best people in their role, that we need them to be accountable.

If you don't like that, well that's okay, but you just don't belong to whatever business is. So another example is when it's time to implement something new, implementing a change in the way of doing things in the company, I think it's normal to have some sense of resistance from certain team members. It's normal. I think in general as a human being, we don't really appreciate change naturally, can be learned though, to love it. And so that's fine. And I used to really be stressed about that. But now I'm not anymore. I know we make a change, I know there might be some resistance, and if there is, I know it's normal and that's okay, but I'm not going to take that resistance to rethink my decision. I'm just going to trust my gut on it, because I'm confident that what I'm doing is beneficial for the company and also for the team.

A lot of the time they were not going to see it, but eventually they will. And one thing that definitely helps me, and I still am a very sensitive and emotional person, but I feel I'm learning more and more and I'm much better at it now to just leave emotions aside. Business does not have to be emotional. So when certain things get difficult, if you're able to leave those emotions aside and really just keep things rational, mathematical, well that's great. You'll make much better decisions, because you cannot make good decisions if you become all emotional. That I learning too, the hard way. But I'm learning to be more rational with my decision making, and that is a huge game changer. Love it. And what I still find difficult though, is holding my ground, like imposing a new process, which I think is the best.

Even I usually try to take other people's opinions into account, but in the end, if I'm the decision maker, and it's not a yes for everyone, they don't agree, well I have to be okay with that. So I have to hold my ground that I'm still learning to do. And also, I have to learn to speak up when it's time. If someone is underperforming, not behaving within a culture fit, well, I just need to have that talk and just set things straight and be okay with the fact that the person may not like it in the moment. So I'm much more at peace now than I used to be. And you have to remember, it's a process, that's what I tell myself constantly. It's a process. It's okay if I don't feel 100% doing this and I feel like sometimes I don't know what I'm doing, but I allow myself for it to not be perfect, then that is a big help.

So things I've learned, or I should say that I'm still learning along the way about this is I've done some great progress. If I look at where I came from to where I am now, I've come a long way. So that's very encouraging. I now see the value in not wanting to be liked at all cost. I'm okay with that now in general. And I am at peace with it, like I said. So I sleep very well at night knowing this, and I still have some way to go. And I'm okay with that too as a leader, as long as I always grow, and as long as I always become a better version of myself day by day, then it's all good.

So, that sums up what I had to say about being respected versus being liked. Take a moment to reshare the podcast if you liked it. And your support is very, very important to us to help inspire more and more women entrepreneurs.

Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I hope you gained valuable insights and inspiration today to keep growing and taking action towards your goals. Please follow me on social media. Also follow us on your favorite podcast platform to get notifications every time a new episode is uploaded. See you next time.