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Fear Bullies Threats

We did a survey here, and one of the consultants told me that my employees are afraid of me. I told him I was not bothered by that. I think that a little bit of fear helps keep employees sharp and on their toes. The consultant essentially told me that I am wrong. What do you think?

Score one for the consultant. Managers who use fear as a motivator may actually find a short-term positive impact on productivity, but this tends to be quickly replaced by decreased performance, attitudes, and loyalty. In fact, as fear increases, productivity decreases.

Although you indicate that you only use "a little bit of fear," your perception may be quite different from that of your employees. Besides, even if the employees are just a little bit afraid of you, any time that they spend focusing on their fear is time that is directly subtracted from doing their work.

On a broader basis, what exactly do your employees fear? Do they think you are going to fire them, punish them, berate them, yell at them, or carry out some other destructive action toward them? Any such concerns will work against the kinds of outcomes that managers typically seek, such as teamwork, trust, respect, solidarity, and a shared commitment to meet departmental objectives.

In your situation, it is far better in all respects to be thought of as a fearless manager.

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