The Crazy Thing About People Who Don’t Like You: They Watch Everything You Do

In the realm of leadership, one of the most intriguing and often perplexing phenomena is the attention we receive from those who don’t particularly like us. Whether you’re leading a team, a community, or an organization, the spotlight isn’t only on you from your supporters but also from your detractors. This paradoxical dynamic offers profound insights into human behavior and presents unique challenges and opportunities for effective leadership.

The Paradox of Attention

It’s a curious thing: those who harbor negative feelings towards you are often the ones who scrutinize your actions the most closely. This paradox can be both unnerving and enlightening. On one hand, it’s unsettling to know that every decision, every statement, and every mistake is under a magnifying glass. On the other hand, this intense focus can push you to be more mindful and deliberate in your leadership journey.

Understanding the Why

Why do people who don’t like you pay so much attention to you? The reasons can be multifaceted:

  1. Confirmation Bias: They seek to validate their negative perceptions. Every misstep or flaw is a confirmation of their preconceived notions about you.
  2. Comparison and Competition: They may be comparing themselves to you, using your actions as a benchmark for their own success or failure.
  3. Curiosity: Human nature is inherently curious. People are drawn to observe and understand those who evoke strong emotions in them, even if those emotions are negative.
  4. Hope for Change: Deep down, some detractors may hope to see a change in you or your approach, leading them to keep a close watch.

Turning Scrutiny into Strength

As a leader, the scrutiny from your detractors can be a powerful tool for growth and resilience. Here’s how to leverage it:

  1. Stay Authentic: Authenticity is your strongest shield. When you remain true to your values and vision, the opinions of detractors lose their power to destabilize you.
  2. Embrace Transparency: Be open about your decisions and the rationale behind them. Transparency can disarm critics and build trust, even among those who are initially skeptical.
  3. Learn from Criticism: Constructive criticism, even from detractors, can be a valuable source of feedback. Distinguish between baseless negativity and genuine insights that can help you improve.
  4. Focus on Growth: Use the awareness of constant observation as motivation to continually grow and evolve. Every challenge and every mistake is an opportunity to demonstrate resilience and adaptability.

Building Resilience

The relentless observation from those who don’t like you can be exhausting. Building resilience is crucial:

  1. Mindfulness and Self-Care: Regularly practice mindfulness and prioritize self-care to maintain your mental and emotional well-being.
  2. Support Systems: Surround yourself with supportive individuals who believe in your vision and provide constructive feedback.
  3. Perspective: Keep the bigger picture in mind. Remember that leadership is a journey, and not everyone will agree with you or like you. Focus on your goals and the positive impact you aim to create.


Leadership is as much about navigating the support of your followers as it is about managing the scrutiny of your detractors. The crazy thing about people who don’t like you is that they often watch everything you do. Embrace this reality as a unique aspect of your leadership journey. Use it as a catalyst for authenticity, transparency, and continuous growth. In doing so, you’ll not only withstand the scrutiny but also transform it into a source of strength and inspiration.