News flash; it’s not 1532 anymore. So stop leading like it is. ‘Tis better to be feared than respected’ isn’t a game you should be playing with your people. Sorry Machiavelli, but your guidance doesn’t cut it in the corporate world anymore, even if there are holdouts and apostles still trying to pay homage to you. It’s time to get into the 21st century and inspire your people.
If you’re the type of leader who likes to create an environment of fear, I got news for you, you’ve lost. Gen X and Gen Y don’t want to work with you. It doesn’t matter how smart or successful you are (or think you are). If the environment you’ve created breeds fear, you won’t get anything of substance from your people. Let your people breath, take your boot off of their neck. If you don’t think their smart enough to handle it, then why hire them? If you’ve inherited someone who you think can’t cut it, help them. If you can’t do that, be real with them and let them know that it’s time for a change.
If you’re stuck on the little things, not seeing the big picture and not being empathic with your people you’re going to lose them. Don’t create a culture that kills creativity, or you’ll lose your credibility with them. If you want to get your people to work with you, instead of for you, here are a few suggestions on how to get unstuck from the middle.
First, take note of with you, not for you. Your people don’t want to work for you; they work for themselves, for their family. They want to work with you. So inspire them, lead them and get out of their way.
As a leader, you’re responsible for the What, Why and When. Let your people manage the How. Let them amaze you. You would be surprised at how quickly you build commitment, how easy it can be to inspire creativity and ultimately what kind of an impact this has on the culture that you build in your work group. Machiavellian leadership was great in an era of feuding princes and peasant uprisings, but we’ve come a long way since then.
Leaders that lead today by fear, may just be acting out of fear themselves. The fear that their people will learn that they don’t really know how to lead at all.