I was recently asked this question, not from a friend or not from someone I can answer directly, but I found this in my keyword reference in Google Analytics, this means that someone out there are looking for an answer to this question on Google, and he landed on this page And I am not sure that this post answered the question.
At first glance I would answer yes to the question. A leader is a person that inspire for action, and someone not likable… well I imagine that they would have problems getting other people inspired.
That is still not a full answer and my quest to answer this question continues.
A great leader must also be willing to make hard decisions, and if a great leader decide to fire someone, well I’ll bet that special someone would not regard this person a great leader or very likable? So not all people will like a great leader.
If we then look at history there are a lot of great leaders out there with strong enemies, also resulting in murder and violence. So we could work this up to some kind of fulcrum point theory of love/hate? If you have lot of love on one side you need to balance it with a lot of hate on the other side? So the more people that love you there will be fewer that hate you, but they will hate you even more?
So if we now use the Pareto Principle to further our goal to produce an answer to this question, a great leader will have 80 % strong love, 20 % heavy hate, and the ability to inspire other people to feel even greater.