To be a good leader, for that's what a project manager is, it is not necessary to be popular. It's nice if you are, but it's not necessary. 'Better the devil you know' is an excellent maxim. It is far more important that your team and stakeholders know where you stand on any particular issue, even if they don't like it, than it is for you to sway in your opinions just to be popular.
So, setting aside your own feelings, what about everyone else's? People are all different. Even if you work in an organization with a strong corporate culture, a large industrial company, an investment bank, the army or a major consultancy, for example, you will still find many different types of individual. The trick with running your team is to keep them all happy. It may in fact be an unachievable goal, but you must still strive to accomplish it. Remember, despite what your resource allocation software says, people cannot all be treated the same. Look after the little things. It's amazing how often discontent can spread through a team over the smallest of issues. Fixing a water machine might be a low priority for your building's corporate services department, but if your team all start walking to the next department for a drink you lose their productivity for that time and, more worrying, they begin to form opinions about your view of their worth. We can all remember taking a very serious view of what others considered to be a minor issue. Even if you can't get the water machine fixed, make a public enough fuss so that your team know you care. It's the caring that matters to them more than your failure to achieve the impossible.
Strive to keep your team content even if you become unpopular in the process.
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