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What Happens When You Lead With Fear?

Have you ever been in a work environment where you felt like you were being forced to do something in a way you wouldn’t have done it? Working under a feared leader creates a work culture that molds employees to comply because they think it’s my job.

How do you know you’re working under a feared leader? 

From the highest to the lowest levels of an organization, everyone knows what the punishment is for different infractions, even though these unwritten retributions can’t be found in a policy, practice, or procedure. 

This environment creates mistrust. With a feared leader, people are fearful of losing their jobs – you work hard but you may feel like you can’t deliver at your fullest capability because you want to ensure that you don’t make mistakes. You try not to rock the boat or take risks because you don’t want to get punished.

Does this sound familiar? 

Feared leaders only have disciplinary power over you, these types of leaders often have weak referent power. Lacking the ability as a leader to influence others by having a strong relationship with employees. A power that is critical to earning trust and commitment from employees in a balanced work environment. 

Without a trusted leader, communication becomes completely stifled and when a problem occurs, nobody feels comfortable to share because this environment is too dangerous. Even if you might have a solution to the problem! People tend to only follow who they trust. You can not motivate people by fear. Working with many executive leaders, I have seen this type of work environment, and let me tell you- Feared leadership leads to failure.

Failure in people,

Failure in the teams, 

Failure in projects,

Failure in business.

If you find yourself in the position of feared leader, you have some work to do. It’s essential for your business to create a level of trust within your team. The more trust, the better the leader. 

Drive out fear this week!



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