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Can Fear and Intimidation be an Effective Management Tool?

March 20th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Have you ever been in the situation where you are ruled by the time clock?  When you are late to work,  you are met with glares and threats from your management.  You better be on time or lose your job!  When production isn’t met, or you make a mistake,  you are threatened, once again, with dismissal or that dreaded disciplinary action “going into your file”.  Getting time off for a doctor’s appointment, or any other needed time away, is met with suspicion and guilt.  Management is seen as the enemy, always prepared to use fear, intimidation, and threats to keep us producing the way they think we should.

Why do perfectly decent human beings result to managing like this?  Do they treat their family and friends this way?  Of course not!  They wouldn’t keep them for long if they did.  I believe, they do this because they have had a manager in the past who treated them this way.  They believe this is how people are suppose to be managed.  Perhaps, their management above them treats them this way.  As a plumber would tell you, poo runs down hill!

Another reason might be that they really believe that genuine caring is considered a weakness and that they are being “too nice”.  They believe that you must be tough and uncaring to win people’s respect.

This is a crock of crap.  They may get the production done because of their intimidation tactics.  But, it will come with a stiff penalty.  They will never earn the respect of their people.  They will only get the work they force others to give, and no more.

I believe,  people want to be treated with caring and respect.  A leaders solution to this is to add the human factor to all aspects of their business.  It is possible to make firm and tough decisions and treat people good.  Decisions should be made for the benefit of the team and the people who are part of that team.  They will see this and respond positively.  People will give more to the leader who who sees them as a human being not just a nameless face or number.

It is a human desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.  They want to belong to a team or business that functions like a positive family environment.  As with families, it isn’t always perfect, but with time and respect all things can be worked out.

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  1. April 1st, 2010 at 18:26 | #1

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
    And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! 🙂

  2. April 17th, 2010 at 02:58 | #2

    I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link

  3. chris ivory
    March 8th, 2012 at 09:32 | #3

    fear is part of any workpalce. Unless you own the place you tend to get out of bed and go to work because you fear – not having a job, not having a place in the community, not having respect, not being promoted and so on. we live in fear, that excited feeling you get when things are going well? Notice how close that feels to fear? The feeling of success and fear are intimately related. You can’t be motivated without a little fear, a little dread of the alternative – of borden, of stagnation. Fear is much underatted in my view.

  4. March 8th, 2012 at 11:18 | #4

    You are correct. There’s a positive aspect to fear. It can do all the things you mentioned. But, if it is used as manipulation tool, or something to keep the employees in line it becomes a negative element in the work place environment. There are many things which motivate people; a crusade, praise, recognition, and the feeling of a job well done, to name a few. Each person carries their own fear factors with them every day. The leaders who excel find positive motivation as a way to lead which increases work place enjoyment and productivity. Thanks for your comment. You brought up a very important point.

  1. March 21st, 2010 at 10:39 | #1