Leading by fear – The Respect

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Leadership has changed over the years, we have seen leaders becoming innovative in motivating and getting positive results. Leading by fear was starting to despair in some of the workplaces, thanks to the work done by organisations like Steven V Covery. Since COVID came into our life’s, I have seen the elements of leading by fear returning, it triggered by working from home. Most leaders were not ready for this arrangement.   I have seen it often throughout my career. Many leaders still show a leadership style of fear, even at a time where society is becoming more progressive and entrepreneurial.

One of the problems is that leading by fear can work. Fear is a very effective motivator, even if it involves an unpleasant sensation. There is no doubt that leading by fear can get things done. For humans, fear is a primal motivator that can prevent the lion from eating us. That is when there were lots of lions around. In a work environment, there are no lions. Only people.

Fear is a powerful motivator, there is no doubt about that. However, leading by fear has several consequences that I’ve noticed during my career.

1. Leading By Fear Stops Teamwork

2. Leading By Fear Creates Workplace Gangs

3. Leading By Fear Stops People From Speaking Up

4. Leading By Fear Kills Confidence in Team Members

Tom Flick believe that leading by fear is like a nasty virus that will plague the organisation. Sometimes, leading by fear appears effective in the short term; it can cause immediate action, and ensure temporary accountability, but it’s the biggest problem is that it creates a sense of false urgency in people, a heightened sense of anxiety which in turn creates a lot of activity, but not a lot of productivity. Leading by fear creates false evidence that appears to be real. Often, leaders who have reached a point of desperation will resort to leading with fear. However, there are some drawbacks to joining this dark-side method of leading. Its human nature, when you’re are scared the defencing mode kicks in. That is why leading with fear is effective for the short term. This was not a surprise when    Wikipedia said “Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioural changes, such as mounting an aggressive response or fleeing the threat. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to oneself”

The alternative is a respect-based leadership model. This practice is done by great leaders and can have enormously positive results in the organisation. Great leaders make those around them better. They find ways to discover the best in people and enable their full potential. Those inspired folks, in turn, go out to influence more people, and a domino effect of possibility occurs in the organization.

When employees are empowered, they’re focused externally, and more likely to look outside themselves and put their attention on bettering their team and the customer experience. Respect a man, he will do the more. James Howell

Respect is a key requirement for a healthy work environment. It promotes teamwork and increases productivity and efficiencies in the workplace. It lets employees know they are valued for their abilities, qualities, and achievements, and that their role is important to their company’s success.

The characteristics respect-based leadership model led me to the PositiveMind question of what is in the word RESPECT, illustrated in a quote.

RESPONSIBILITY – Responsibility is accepting that you are the cause & the solution of the matter.

EMPOWER – As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. Bill Gates

SERVE – The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. Albert Schweitzer

PRODUCTIVITY – “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Francis Of Assisi

EFFICIENCY – Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. Peter Drucker

COOPERATION – No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve. Rodrigo Duterte

TRUST – You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough. Frank Crane









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