Should managers and leaders focus on being feared, liked or respected?

Should I be Feared
Many managers focus on using fear or intimidation as their overall leadership style.  And yes, they do get results. Employees will perform the required jobs, tasks and duties assigned, however they will not give their best performance, take ownership, be innovative or take initiative. Instead they will do just enough not to get fired. Although there are times when managers and leaders do have to be direct and firm in their communication, they must be careful not to overuse that leadership style, since employees do not want to work under a dictator style of leadership for an extended period of time. Some employees will quit and leave, others will quit and stay and start going through the motions at work simply to collect the paycheck.

Should I be Liked
Sometimes new and recently promoted managers think that if they can just get their employees to like them, they will perform better for them. This type of thinking is dangerous. If you’re focused on being liked, then your decisions and actions as a manager will become blurred since they will be based on if your employees will like you. Remember, you do not have to be best friends or buddy-buddy with your employees. They may like you on Monday for something you’ve done, and then can’t stand you on Friday for something else you’ve done. Being liked will change and fluctuate like the weather. Your employees do not necessarily have to like you in order to perform for you. If your employees happen to like you, that’s just icing on the cake.

Should I be Respected
Respect is something that you’re always in the process of earning from your employees. How do you earn it? Do what you say you’re going to do and be consistent. Also, admit mistakes and take full responsibility. A manger of a logistics company calls a team meeting every time he makes a significant mistake. In the meeting, he informs his team about the mistake, admits it without excuses, discusses the impacts to the team, and what he will do differently next time. Why does he do this? To reinforce the desired behavior of accountability in their minds. Employees respect leaders who are honest, have integrity and have their back. Protect your employees from other department heads and senior-level leaders. If they make mistakes, do not leave them by themselves to face the music. When your employees respect you, they will perform for you even if they disagree with you, or don’t really like you.

If you work for the mafia, its better to be feared. If you work with kids at Disney World, its better to be liked. But if you’re manager or leader in today’s workplace, its more effective to be respected.

Grind for Greatness!

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