“This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
For as long as we have had written history, we know that people in power have used fear as a tool to control others. While fear may be an effective means of exerting control, it shows desperation on the part of a leader who is at a loss for any other means of gaining influence. Fear creates a culture where gains and progress are short lived. Employees will not thrive in this type of environment and where employees do not thrive, neither do the leaders or the organization as a whole. So, do not create a culture of fear!
A culture of fear will result in dread. Employees who dread coming to work will never give 100% of their potential productivity. A culture of fear creates a destructive circle where all trust is lost. And, without trust you, as a leader, lose your ability to influence others and in turn must resort to fear as a means of control. By creating a culture of fear you are drastically reducing your options for getting the results you desire.
A culture of fear is a breeding ground for hate. Hate creates a contentious environment where energy and focus are diverted from the tasks at hand to hateful and disgusted feelings toward others. When you, as a leader, use fear to control others you pit one group against another in order to perpetuate the fear and trigger distrust. Hate and distrust eliminate any chance for effective teamwork and collaboration. By creating a culture of fear you are undermining your own leadership effectiveness.
You Have the Control
As a leader, you have control over the culture you chose to create. If fear is your only option to influence your employees, you need to seriously reconsider whether you are leadership material. A culture of fear only leads to distrust and hate. This is not a culture that encourages teamwork and the contribution of 100% of employee potential to achieving organizational goals. You have the control. Either you will create a culture of fear that will give you short-term results but will undermine your leadership in the long run or you will create a supportive, trusting environment where everyone wants to work together for the success of the whole.
© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli
Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.