Are you someone who thinks fear and intimidation are important tools for leading? Do you often end your conversations with colleagues with a threatening note? As a leader, to command respect is one thing, and to demand is another.
There are many of us who think leadership is all about power. However, we seldom realize when leaders approach their teams with intimidation, they lose the trust and approval of their team members.
So how can one lead without fear?
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower.
Anyone can develop as a leader by putting in the required effort. However, not everyone can be a great leader because not everyone strives for greatness. Most often, people tend to be satisfied with ‘good enough.
When it comes to leading, many people associate it with a title and authority, especially in the working class.
Someone gets promoted for ‘good work’, is made the ‘boss’, and is given a team to follow.
Are they a leader now? We may like to think so, but the truth is this is just the beginning of what could be a journey to become the greatest leader.
Trust and Confidence
It is only if you do not fall into the traps of the ‘heightened sense of power’ that comes with being a boss that you can imagine a future where you will be loved, respected, and trusted as a leader.
Leadership is never about showing off your authority. Great leadership excites, stimulates, and energizes, and does not scare people into submission.
Your responsibility as a leader is to transform your team members into individuals who can lead one day and not turn them into slaves who jolt into action because of the fear of reprimanding.
We know the most important pillar of good leadership is the trust and confidence that colleagues have in their leader. This is further nurtured by being empathetic, understanding, friendly, and approachable.
Showing off authority and maintaining a condescending attitude toward team members will result in contempt toward you. Who would want that to happen?
Here is what you can do if you want to lead by inspiration and not intimidation:
1. Talk, Don’t Threaten
The way you talk will be your first impression of your team.
Good leaders have always been excellent communicators. Even when they talk about their ideas, they do so in a manner that relates to the aspirations and emotions of their followers.
Therefore, whenever you talk with your team, it should come as a friendly conversation that considers the concerns of each individual member.
Even when you are criticizing someone, do so in a manner that doesn’t give way to insecurities and fear. A fearful employee is the least productive of all, as their mind is constantly occupied by their own insecurities.
2. Be Empathetic
Being sensitive to the situation and problems of others promotes trust and a transparent relationship without any ambiguity arising.
As a leader, you must show empathy towards your team to help them connect with you on a more personal level.
The best leaders see value in the contributions of each of their teammates. They make an extra effort to know what’s troubling them in achieving their maximum potential.
Having one-to-one meetings regularly that deal with more than just work is one way of showing that you are concerned.
3. Walk the Talk
You should not expect any of your team members to give their 101% in a project while you spend your time watching a movie in the cubicle. Sadly, many bosses use their team members to further their agendas.
If, after doing all this, you still expect to be respected, you must be living in a fool’s world.
If you really want your team members to take pride in your leadership, you should do as you preach.
Lead by example, do things that you want your colleagues to do, and show them how it’s done.
Once they see their leader is going the extra mile to accomplish something, they will put in their best effort to see you and the team succeed as a whole.
4. Rise Above the Conflicts
Great leaders are not affected by petty team politics and the grapevine. They do not get involved in any form of bickering.
If any team member doesn’t agree with you on something, it is recommended to listen to them. Then, subtly reveal all the points where you disagree with proper reasoning and explain why.
You might not think it is necessary as you are the boss, and it is tempting to think that whatever you decide should be the last word on any matter.
However, leaders do not work that way; dictators do. As a leader, one must be able to deal with any conflict with a mindset to come to amicable solutions.
How Do You Lead Without Fear?
If you have ideas about fear and leadership that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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