Can you lead through fear?

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With the film about Steve Jobs’ coming out in cinemas I have been thinking about how different management styles affect the way people work. Does being ruthless and even rude help you get ahead when it comes to business? And how can this affect the people who work for them?

Kris Bush, our Consultant Occupational Psychologist, says “Research has shown that workers are less motivated to work hard if they have rude managers, that these ruthless management styles can lead to higher sickness rates and can have a negative effect on creativity.”

So why despite this do some managers  still think that yelling at their workers will have a positive effect on the rate of work? Some bosses believe that losing your temper can be a motivator – getting you what you want from employees, fast. While for some people it may make them work harder, for others it can be harrowing on them. People, staff, customers, stakeholders and friends will not put up with ruthlessness or rudeness for long.

Machiavelli said “it is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both”, so maybe some leaders consider that to be feared is a good strategy, and being ruthless and rude does command fear if the person is in a position of power – as managers are.

Leaders can get along by instilling  fear in others for a certain amount of time – so maybe you will be a successful leader by being ruthless – but be prepared to sacrifice your friends and your employees – because one day you’ll look around and see you are no leader when no one follows you anymore.

Vita

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