In today’s business world, I think the question can be rephrased as: Is it better to be “Respected” or “Liked.”
It is always nice to be “liked.” But, people do business with people they respect, not necessarily with those they only like. From that perspective, respect is the more important commodity.
Here is my chart, with number one being the ideal mix.
(1) Respected and Liked (the more of each, the better)
People will WANT to do business with you or work with you. You will not lose clients, teammates, etc.
(2) Respected, but not Liked
People will likely stay working with you, depending on the level of dislike and respect, unless someone else who is respected and liked comes along. Then they will leave you for the better relationship.
(3) Not Respected, but Liked
You are fun to have a beer with, but they will not want to give you business or work with you. If you are working with them, they will leave you for someone they respect and can trust.
(4) Not Respected, Not Liked
You are lonely and broke.
A good business career is dependent on being respected. Do people trust you to do a good job? Do you keep your word and do what you say you’ll do? Are you excellent at your job? Do you go over and above?
The great news is these are not mutually exclusive. So drive to perform, make the hard decisions, be a good teammate, and exceed your goals. If you have a good time along the way and treat people well, you will have the best of all worlds.