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Why You Should Manage Using Fear

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Why You Should Manage Using Fear

Have you ever had a manager that got things done by threatening consequences and punishments for failure that were both exaggerated and extreme? There are a lot of “or else” being thrown around each time a task is given. If there was a bigger picture and higher purpose to your job, you couldn’t see it through the panic of day to day that felt less like part of building something great and more like a game of survivor.

You don’t ever feel safe and secure in your job because the threat of getting fired is always there, either verbalised or implied. Sure, it meant stuff really got done but at what expense? You, and everyone around you, was unhappy, disengaged and unmotivated. Is that the manager you want to be?

Let me tell you about a fear you should manage with. FEAR that gives a roadmap for good, effective management that will engage your people instead of push them away.

Focus, Empathy, Authenticity, Relevance

F = Focus

We all know to effectively run a business we need clear focus. A set of values we live by with short term and long term goals to strive for. But a clear focus isn’t enough. We have to make sure everyone is on the same page. We have to put in a huge effort to communicate our focus so it becomes our teams focus.

I’m reminded of this each time I get into a car with my family to go somewhere. You see I have a serious problem; I’m directionally challenged. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been to our destination a hundred times, I’ll still turn left instead of right at the end of my street.

I’m excited to get to where we’re going but need clear instructions each step of the way or I’ll end up just driving in circles. Regularly communicate your focus and the tasks you give will be done with enthusiasm as your team knows where you’re headed.

E= Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you lead. What do they need, are they loving what they’re doing, are they balancing work and family life successfully, are they tired and run-down?

Don’t say you care, show you care. Recognise people when they do a good job, give them time off for their kids Christmas concert each year. I guarantee your people will follow you into the trenches if they know you’ve got their back.

A= Authenticity

Be honest and act with integrity. One of my early memories of working life was when my new boss at the time, made a huge mistake. I remember being very interested in how the other managers would help cover it up like I’d seen so many times before from others.

To my surprise, there was no cover up this time. My boss got the team together and said “I got it wrong, I’m sorry. I’ve learned a lesson that hopefully helps you guys avoid the same mistake in the future. I’m going to have to ask some of you help me fix it but I promise I’ll be working harder than everyone to make it right”.

Instantly this forged a respect for this manager that changed the culture of that business. From that moment on, I was never scared to admit my mistakes. Showing weakness is a sign of strength. Read more about being an authentic leader in my article “Authenticity is the currency of the future

R= Relevance

Are you out of touch with your team? Are you continually evolving as a leader? I often talk to managers about “loitering with intent”. Take time out to do nothing other than be with your people. Watch, listen and most importantly, learn. You will be amazed how many good ideas you get by watching your business instead of working on it.

Your ability to be relevant to your team hinges on your development as a leader. Plan to grow. Read lots, podcast, invest in professional development workshops. If you truly desire to lead better, you will.

Communicate a clear focus, show empathy with your team, be authentic even when it doesn’t make sense to and maintain relevance at all cost. Managing by F.E.A.R. will position you as a likable and respected leader. Is that the manager you want to be?

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