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"I lead through fear, intimidation, and public humiliation"

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 01-21-11

pointing-finger.jpg

Have you ever heard a leader say, out loud, “I lead through fear, intimidation, and public humiliation”? I doubt it.

Have you ever seen a leader try to lead in this way? I would guess you probably have.

I think most of the people who are leading through such means are not trying to on purpose. Otherwise, they would be much more willing to admit it. If they did admit, it would sound pretty silly to them.

This is what makes self-reflection so important. Yes, you need inputs from other sources as part of that process. But other sources are never as credible as we are with ourselves. We need to provide ourselves honest, candid, and written feedback. When written, the words carry much more waste. Thinking “I am leading through fear” is not nearly as powerful as writing the same statement.

I, for example, am not sensitive to the timing of the feedback I give. I just give it when it comes up, or when convenient. That is not the most effective way to let people receive feedback. In writing it, it becomes much more tangible that I am doing something that hurts my outcomes.

Most people aren’t trying to be a bad leader, it’s just something that happens. The only way we truly improve is to make our own gaps visible, and then work on them. And personal, written reflection is one of the most effective ways to do this.

I would love to hear about your own gaps: what do you need to work on? Make your public declaration here.

Comments

  • Interesting post. I agree most people aren’t trying to be a bad leader.

    A lot of bad behavior gets rationalized as being something that’s good for the organization. A manager who yells and screams thinks that behavior is somehow necessary or somehow inspirational.

    Everyone thinks they are an above-average manager, right?

    Mark Graban January 21, 2011 at 8:45 am
  • Interesting post. I agree most people aren’t trying to be a bad leader.

    A lot of bad behavior gets rationalized as being something that’s good for the organization. A manager who yells and screams thinks that behavior is somehow necessary or somehow inspirational.

    Everyone thinks they are an above-average manager, right?

    Mark Graban January 21, 2011 at 8:45 am
  • Interesting post. I agree most people aren’t trying to be a bad leader.

    A lot of bad behavior gets rationalized as being something that’s good for the organization. A manager who yells and screams thinks that behavior is somehow necessary or somehow inspirational.

    Everyone thinks they are an above-average manager, right?

    Mark Graban January 21, 2011 at 8:45 am
  • I also agree that people don’t try to be bad leaders. I do think there are some that, while they may not say it to others, purposely lead through fear and intimidation. Maybe that is comes from the horrible experience I had in the past.

    I am working on being more patient when teaching and coaching. Trying to let people get there on their own and not getting frustrated when they don’t get it as fast as I want them to get it. It being whatever I am teaching or coaching.

    Matt Wrye January 21, 2011 at 9:55 am
  • I also agree that people don’t try to be bad leaders. I do think there are some that, while they may not say it to others, purposely lead through fear and intimidation. Maybe that is comes from the horrible experience I had in the past.

    I am working on being more patient when teaching and coaching. Trying to let people get there on their own and not getting frustrated when they don’t get it as fast as I want them to get it. It being whatever I am teaching or coaching.

    Matt Wrye January 21, 2011 at 9:55 am
  • I also agree that people don’t try to be bad leaders. I do think there are some that, while they may not say it to others, purposely lead through fear and intimidation. Maybe that is comes from the horrible experience I had in the past.

    I am working on being more patient when teaching and coaching. Trying to let people get there on their own and not getting frustrated when they don’t get it as fast as I want them to get it. It being whatever I am teaching or coaching.

    Matt Wrye January 21, 2011 at 9:55 am
  • Many lead the same way that they, themselves, were lead. We need to help them break that vicious cycle. I’ve had bosses on both extremes. I have, I’m embarrassed to say, lost my cool with subordinates both in public and in private. Fortunately, though, I can count the number of times that that has happened on one hand an have several fingers left. I need to continue to remember the lessons learned from both the good and the bad and apply them everyday.

    Tom Southworth January 22, 2011 at 10:24 am
  • Many lead the same way that they, themselves, were lead. We need to help them break that vicious cycle. I’ve had bosses on both extremes. I have, I’m embarrassed to say, lost my cool with subordinates both in public and in private. Fortunately, though, I can count the number of times that that has happened on one hand an have several fingers left. I need to continue to remember the lessons learned from both the good and the bad and apply them everyday.

    Tom Southworth January 22, 2011 at 10:24 am
  • Many lead the same way that they, themselves, were lead. We need to help them break that vicious cycle. I’ve had bosses on both extremes. I have, I’m embarrassed to say, lost my cool with subordinates both in public and in private. Fortunately, though, I can count the number of times that that has happened on one hand an have several fingers left. I need to continue to remember the lessons learned from both the good and the bad and apply them everyday.

    Tom Southworth January 22, 2011 at 10:24 am