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Leaders: Fear Is a Very Ineffective Long-Term Motivator

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Leaders: Fear Is a Very Ineffective Long-Term Motivator

What is the role of the leader?

Is the leader supposed to strike fear into the hearts of his or her followers? Is the leader supposed to make sure that everyone is toeing the company line or conforming to the code of conduct? The truth is, tyrants make terrible leaders; and fear is a very ineffective long-term motivator.

Did you know that 70% of Americans are afraid to voice new ideas or suggestions simply because they fear being ridiculed by their teammates or manager?

“Get serious…don’t be ridiculous…that will never work…we already tried that…it’s too impractical…too risky…not in the budget…etc.”

As the leader, you need all the creativity and openness you can get from your team. Make your meetings a safe harbor for new ideas. Help each other be right, not wrong. Look for ways new ideas will work instead of not work. And when people do make mistakes, urge them to openly acknowledge the error, learn from it, and use it to sharpen their future performance.

If all this sounds like a very smart way to manage a team or run an organization, it is. As Robert Townsend wrote, “If people are coming to work excited…if they know they’re making a difference in the world…if they’re making mistakes freely and fearlessly…if they’re having fun…if they’re concentrating on getting things done, rather than just preparing reports—then somewhere you have leaders.”

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