Management Philosophy

When leading people, is it better to be feared than loved? In the book “The Prince” written by Niccolò Machiavelli in 1532, he mentioned it’s good to be both. However if you can’t have both, then be feared. Unfortunately, quite a few managers still subscribe to thinking nearly 500 years old.

When top performers are promoted to management, they are often untrained on how to manage people. They either perform badly and have their responsibilities taken away, or they become angry placing their frustrations on their staff. In doing the later, they become feared and create a hostile work environment. This propensity resonates throughout the organization as mangers are promoted to upper management. Hence we often hear the “do it or your fired” mentality.

If you think this doesn’t happen to leaders, you’re wrong. Read a few leadership autobiographies that lead you to believe the person can walk on water. Next reread the book and create a timeline of the actions they took. Did they fire or lay off multiple divisions that were not performing? If they fixed the problem through a process or other fundamental change they are, in my humble opinion, a great leader.

So how does one become loved, fix the organizational problems, and influence people? Easy, boost your emotional intelligence. Ok not that simple, but think of it this way, “Judgment is the enemy of understanding”. Hold off on judging people when talking to your immediate staff. Listen and understand their perspectives. Once you withhold judgment and start listening, you begin to understand how to motivate them in new ways. Afterwards, give them positive feedback.

Listening skills of leaders and managers are a rarity these days. If you want to test their skills, just ask them a simple question. Did they “passively listen” giving you a long winded answer or “actively listen” succinctly restating their idea of what you meant?

Overall remember to listen, withhold judgment, and you’ll find the true problems plaguing your staff and organization. You’ll also find new ways to motivate you staff and gain a positive reputation. Imagine people in other departments hearing about and wanting to work for you, you’ll find it’s a good feeling.

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