To Be Loved or Feared as a Leader?

In: Business and Management

Submitted By adilfareed
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TO BE LOVED OR FEARED AS A LEADER? Leaders in fields ranging from military and politics to business and even education have been posed with the choice of instilling love or fear among their respective followers. Traits like warmth and trustworthiness of a leader instill love among followers and fear of a leader originates mostly from his strength and competence. Although there are numerous other traits in a leader, warmth and strength are the most influential. According to psychology, a major part of other people's perception about a person is determined by these two dimensions of personality (Cuddy, Kohut and Neffinger, 2013, p. 56). The dilemma of the choice between these two is inherently present in the nature of the two extremes i.e. either of the choices will make you fall at the opposing ends of the human emotional spectrum. It is interesting to note that the question of choosing between the two extremes is not a new one . Tracing this conundrum back to the sixteenth century takes us to the writings of Machiavelli. His political philosophy in 'The Prince' acknowledges the best leaders to command both fear and love. Having said that, Machiavelli recognizes the opposite polarity of the two emotions and maintains that since it is difficult to combine both in one person, it is better to be feared as a leader than to be loved (Machiavelli, 2003, p.53). Today, about five hundred years later, the Machiavellian concept of a feared leader is still quite rigorously followed by leaders in fields including business. The issue that crops up here is the overemphasis on soft emotions like love in almost every facet of life as opposed to the use of fear when it comes to leadership. If humans are managed better through fear, what is the place of emotions like love, empathy and compassion in organizational dynamics and leadership? Another aspect that relates to this…...

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