Do You Think A Leader Should Be Feared Or Liked?

When you’re interviewing for a job, the hiring manager may ask you a question like, “Do you think a leader should be feared or liked” or, “Is it more important to be respected or admired”

The hiring manager asks this question to see both how you would approach those you lead and how you would view those who you’d work under. Knowing what personality traits you value shows the hiring manager how you would fit into the established workplace and how you would get along with others on the job.

Points to Emphasize

To answer this question well, show your well-rounded attitude toward leadership.

  • Discuss the benefits of both traits instead of limiting yourself to one.

  • Mention a happy medium or a third option, like “respected,” that blends both choices together.

  • Speak positively while maintaining a neutral demeanor.

  • Use an example of a leader you know who exhibits the traits you discuss.

    It’s important when answering this question to show the hiring manager that you get along well with others and have a positive attitude in regards to authority.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    This question can be confusing if you’re not prepared with an answer or aren’t sure why the hiring manager is asking this particular question. In order to make the best impression, avoid these common mistakes:

  • If you answer “feared,” it may signal to the hiring manager that you would lead too assertively.

  • If you answer “liked,” it could demonstrate that you wouldn’t have proper control over those you manage or supervise.

  • Don’t limit yourself to one or other even though it seems like the hiring manager wants you to choose.

  • Don’t say “neither” without providing a third option.

    Your answer to this question will reveal a lot about your personality, so you’ll want to avoid extremes.

    Sample Answer

    Two great answers to this question about leadership are as follows:

    I think instead of being feared or liked, it’s most important for a leader to be respected. If a leader is just liked, then workers may not follow what he or she says, and if the leader is only feared, then they may feel that they can’t come to him or her with questions or concerns.

    The best leaders are both feared and liked. That way people work hard because they want to make the leader they like happy, and they don’t take advantage because they know the leader won’t stand for that.

    The hiring manager asks this question to learn more about your values in order to determine your candidacy.

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