Leading through fear!

In a conversation with a couple of former colleagues recently, the conversation came round to how their bosses, or their bosses boss, were horrible and the culture of fear that they had created.

In all cases this was seen as a bad scenario, not one of them said yes, this has really helped increase our productivity, our staff morale or helped us achieve our targets.

Fear isn’t really a motivator, for sure there are times when fear can help, but they are usually when we find a hungry lion right behind us and we need to run like hell to survive, or some such similar scenario.

Fear shouldn’t be a tool that we as Leaders include in our leadership toolbox.

Fear doesn’t inspire our teams, it doesn’t build trust, it doesn’t encourage people to follow us. On the contrary it achieves the exact opposite.

In the conversations I had, all of the people said, given the opportunity they would leave and take another job in order to work for someone else.

As someone who strongly believes in servant leadership, leading through fear isn’t really a concept that I can understand, nor do i understand why it would be anyones preferred leadership style. The benefits can only be short terms, if any.

Although in each case discussed the leader was very, very senior. It wasn’t clear whether that had used the culture of fear to arrive at the top, or had only started to use fear once they had reached the top.

If anyone can explain to me why and how this works I would be very interested to hear it.