People pleasers do not rule the world, in fact, they likely don’t even run companies, according to one self-obsessed millennial who has convinced a following of people that being an ‘asshole’ is the best way to accomplish your goals.

Some people do tend to compromise to the point of stagnation while being arrogant and ignoring those around you seemingly gets you into positions of power if you are willing to intimidate and threaten others. However, somewhere buried under the filth of egomaniacs and martyrs, there is an easy way to achieve your goals without destroying those around you.

In a swirling world of people who think that they are the most important and infallible being wandering the social media minefield and public pavement, it is important to remember that respect will take you further in life than any fad advice popularised because of its unabashed use of unprofessional language.

The Individual

People have become so focused on themselves that they are unable to hear that perhaps, just maybe, they are not the most important, knowledgeable and fun person on the planet. People who are focused on their self-interest push hard for what they want, at any cost. Such people are often ‘successful’ because they often don’t care what other people think and care little about those they hurt.

One popular writer who follows this path, but is certain of his ‘ethical’ standards when being rude and generally distasteful about anyone that does not serve his ends, claims that hurting others is the only way to challenge ourselves to want better. Nice people, in the opinion of that writer, are mediocre and dependant on those who would hurt others for their own ends in order to always be the ‘nice guy.’

It is a very bipartisan way in which to view human interaction. While his view is backed by some dated and basic scientific studies, it seems he has largely misunderstood the basic groundwork that people of influence stand upon; respect.

Respect for self and others is what really matters. If you have morals, you will know that this is the underlying principle to successful business and personal connections.

Whether you are a vocal and proud leader or a quiet and solid leader, you know what really matters is not aggressive attention-seeking, but genuine respect. What other people think of us is not our business, however, the impression you make is in your control.


Remember that scene in ‘American Psycho’ where the men compete to have the most attractive business card? If you work in an office environment that is so toxic with competition that the shade of your business card impacts your promotion prospects, perhaps you need to step back and look again.

People who display emotional maturity tend to command respect. Emotional maturity is not the same as being stoic, and many a failed business leader who has burned out has discovered this the hard way. Emotional maturity means listening to others, knowing when to engage in discussions that could push the business to new heights and when to step back and allow a storm to pass. It is a complex balancing act.

While for some, having an abrasive attitude and being dismissive of others while solely focused on their own goals seems to be propelling them to new heights, it does not come with a reward beyond cash. For those that claim that financial reward is all that they need from their work, then an attitude of doing what I want to get what I want is likely a default setting. Such people often find themselves alienated and not well respected. That person who just blurts out what they think while the rest of the group sits in stunned silence is not respectful and not well-liked.

A respectful person takes time to be kind. While what Bob said in the meeting was stupid and he should be pulled into line, doing it in the heat of the moment in front of his colleagues and clients only diminishes Bob and engenders a culture of fear.

No one actually likes that crude high-school attitude of ‘I just call it as I see it.’ Yes, as you see it. People of maturity are kind, respectful and understand the many complexities as to why Bob could be off his game.


The leaders we talk about and aspire to are empaths. When you think about the world leaders who have a legacy of accomplishment, it is those that used their humanity to appeal to the best in ourselves to create a better world. These leaders likely said ‘no’ a lot. These leaders probably made mistakes and even dismissed people at times, too focused on their own agenda. However, overall those that we rever as a global community showed that they had more on their minds than themselves.

Now think about the leaders that have contributed to the sadness and destruction of the world. Those people who are so self-absorbed that they are deluded into believing that their desires are right for the world at all costs.

Empathy is born of respect. Having the ability to understand another person or their point of view is a powerful business tool. When you can listen and respond, you create an advantage for the development of your business and the innovation of your team.

Finding the balance between nice and mean, means being honest with yourself about what is acceptable to you and to society as a whole. In business, this line can mean the difference between success and failure. A simple test that you can do each and every time you are unsure about how to handle a situation is this:

How would that make me feel?

If your answer is ‘like a piece of sunbaked dog shit’, then don’t choose that path. If your honest answer is ‘like a person’, then that is the empathetic path and walking down that road always leads to respect; for you, others and your business overall.