Leading with Fear vs. Leading with Respect

Fear vs. Respect - 1I think if you boil it down to the lowest common denominator there are two basic leadership styles, Leading with Fear and Leading with Respect. Many people mistake fear for respect, you cannot have both.

Leading and Parenting are not the same thing. Whomever came up with that notion was sadly mistaken, and either had a bad leader, or strange parents. If you treat your followers like children they will not respect you and they may even resent you. No one likes to be treated like a child except an actual child.

There are very few leaders or employers who have enough self-esteem (or maybe self-respect) to follow this. A respect based leader is decent and correct in character and behavior. A respect based employer willingly listens to the complaints of their employees and recognizes that not everything is always perfect.

Fear vs. Respect - 2Very few people in the world are totally honest. People hate honesty as it is a hard pill to swallow. If a leader wants their team to reach its best potential then they must be willing to acquire people who will tell them the truth. “Yes-Men” or Women should be sent packing. A good leader needs to be able to see through the brown-nosing. Employers must be willing to listen to employees that will tell them “No, this cannot be done like that”, “This is not working right”, or “Customers don’t like this” without taking it personally. If leaders take on a “God-Complex” they will lose respect and foster resentment.

If you want everything “simple and to the point” and everything “sunshine and roses”, then leadership is most likely not the ideal position for you. Simply because things are not always “simple and to the point” you will need the input of your team. Remember intelligence and information are not always concrete or accurate. If you are a person that just wants the “bottom line”, I hope you have a lot of money already and all those above that bottom line have personal integrity. Because, the “Bottom Line” can be deceptive and it often is. As a leader you are not expected “Know it all”.

If something is not a team members assigned task and is passed off on to do, then don’t get mad at them for not doing it correctly, or not at all. Make the person who passed it off on them, understand, that teaching and educating is everyone’s responsibility. Then be clear in what each member’s responsibility is and why that distinction is important. This is one of the biggest reasons for team trauma and drama.

Fear vs. Respect - 3Respect is a two way street, set by the example of the team. A leader who respects their followers does not talk down to them and does not “micro-manage” them. An employer who respects their staff allows their staff to have input on how the business is run. A leader who respects their team willingly admits sometimes a team member may know more than they do, and have a better idea.

Team members who respect their leader will be harder working, more loyal, and will be more successful.



Photo credit: yellowdogparty / Foter / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: Kevin B 3 / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: sjsharktank / Foter / CC BY-SA

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I am a Christian, a Husband and a Father, in that order. Leadership is important to me, because I see too many outside influences acting on the lives of my children, and I need support to make sure I am the most dominant influence. I appreciate your feedback and enjoy reading your input. Thanks in advance for being part of this endeavor.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.