By Dr. Jason Carthen
“What are you doing?” “It doesn’t mean anything if you just stand there and do nothing! I mean come on girls, spread out!” My daughter’s team was up 2 to 0 and those were the words of the opposing team’s head coach to his players. On the surface, and read only as a snippet via this article, his words could seem almost harmless…almost. You see, viewed in the context of his behavior throughout the entire day and until the final whistle blew, the full display of his leadership style throughout the day had caused the children to mill about and react with uncertainty as they waited for him to scream directives from the sidelines, which rendered them helpless without his input.
Roles as Leaders
Today, as we reflect and contemplate our roles as leaders, followers, friends, and colleagues, the application for us lies in the danger of negative long-term influence. You see, when the words of a leader are not in alignment with their actions, fear and sheer chaos can ensue. In his book “Stewardship” my friend Peter Block suggests that society has incorrectly pushed leaders into believing that autonomy and leading by harsh directives is the best means of influencing others to achieve successful outcomes.
When the reality is totally the opposite, leaders that lead with fear, and intimidation create a negative organizational sub-culture that reduces followers to reactionary automatons with long-term negative implications, such as poor self-esteem, emotional distress, and debilitating stress.
Creates a Constructive Culture
In contrast to this debilitating and fear induced leadership, a leader who models a positive affect and fosters an organizational culture of openness and vulnerability creates a constructive culture that is built upon mutual respect and the basic human right to say ’no’ if they are not in agreement or do not understand how to proceed.
Build a Shared Leadership
Embracing the call to a healthy stewardship of your people rejects fear and instead builds a shared leadership/partnership with your people as they navigate their day-to-day obligations as followers, colleagues and departmental leaders. As someone who wields influence in his or organization or business, choose today to lead or help create a culture without fear that will begin to permeate the entire organization for many years to come.
Please leave a comment or post on my Facebook Page and share why it’s important to never lead by causing fear. Thanks for being a part of this community!