Ever used fear to get your employees to do what you want? An insinuation of something negative happening in the absence of performance? Maybe just a little jab to light a fire under their ass? Has your "dinner platter" full of previous fear-based comments/actions paralyzed your team?
Fear-based "leadership" comes in different forms, from the explicit "do this or you're fired," to the not-so-explicit comment that rolls too easily off the tongue (shooting your employees' anxiety and fear through the roof). Without any context, or to an outsider, the comment seems innocent enough...but your employee knows better. Each of these "fear events" is a jab in the gut of the employee, a reminder that the boss is the boss, and the employee is sadly just another number, just another cog in the wheel. Bill Lundberg (Office Space) comes to mind with his:
"Now are you going to go ahead and have
Fear is a diminishing "motivator"
Every time you, as a manager, use fear to "motivate" your team, you can expect lower productivity/performance the next time around. Almost like a basketball bouncing down the court - each time the ball bounces, it doesn't quite go as high on the next bounce.
Every time you use fear to push your employee, you create a lower 'high-end' of productivity the next time around. In the back of that employee's mind will be the previous experience, or six. The employee's quality and quantity of work will diminish, eventually they'll become paralyzed with fear, and simply refuse to bring their best every day.
Using Fear? You're NOT a Leader, You're Just a Manager*
(*and probably not a very good one)
Leaders don't "push people to become their best." Rather, they PULL people UP. They reach down, dive deep into what motivates their employee and reach out to pull them up to the next level. If you're doing anything short of this, you're not a leader. Focus on your employees, treat them as individuals, and pull them up to excellence.
Fear-Based "Leadership" = LAZY!
Fear is easy - want your dog to stop eating off the table, flick his nose. Want your kid to stop climbing on the dining room table, flick his nose (just kidding). What's not easy is diving deep into employees' minds - to understand what motivates them, their dreams, hopes & desires. If you want to be an exceptional leader who leads an exceptional team, you've gotta put in the work.
Becoming a true leader takes a ton of time & energy...but trust me, it's worth it!
husband + father + pilot + Leadership Coach | Consultant + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books