Should a Boss Instill Fear or Become Friends With Employees?

Once you have been promoted within your company, you will be faced with a tough decision: What kind of boss will you be for employees? Will you be a boss who instills fear or makes friends in order to get employees to cooperate?

In a recent article for Houston Business Journal, Todd Dewett writes that neither of these approaches is an appropriate one. He advises new bosses to avoid this error at all costs and instead, create their own leadership style that shows employees the type of behavior they expect for the company.

Fear does not build respect.

Many people believe that instilling fear in the minds of employees builds respect for the person in a leadership position. In his article, however, Todd argues that this is not the case. Although fear may produce desirable results in the short-term, the long-term results will ultimately be negative. You will most likely end up with a team of employees who are too afraid to approach you for absolutely anything, even something of extreme importance. As a result, tasks will either be done incorrectly or not at all.

Making friends with your team may result in unproductivity.

While it is wonderful to create bonds and maintain a mutual respect with your employees, the last thing a boss should do is make it a priority to become best friends with team members. Todd says this will only result in “awkwardness, favoritism, and low productivity.”

Your team may become so comfortable with you that they will assume it’s okay to put off work responsibilities. It’s definitely helpful to be friendly and open with your team, but be sure to maintain professional boundaries to avoid an unproductive work environment.

Make it your goal to be a good leader that others can learn from.

Simply having the title of a leader will not automatically make you a good leader. People will not follow someone with undesirable traits or a lousy track record. To be a good leader, you must create a positive and productive work environment in which employees are not afraid to approach you with questions or concerns. Follow Todd’s advice and be authentic with your team while letting them know that you have their back. This will create trust in the workplace, which will result in strong performances and long-term commitment.

To read Todd’s article, “How to avoid this new boss mistake,” click here.

Book Dr. Todd Dewett for Your Next Event

Dr. Dewett is a top speaker on leadership and authenticity. In his keynote, he will show your team how to be authentic while creating a productive work environment. He will also teach them how to be exceptional leaders and move their business to the top. If you are interested in booking Todd to speak at your next event, give us a call at 1.800.345.5607.   


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