Manage with Passion, not Fear

Online searches reveal plenty of articles about dealing with difficult, mean or moody bosses. Have you ever wondered whether those in your charge have sought such advice? If there’s a chance, it’s time to take stock in your management style.

It’s possible that many people in management roles, whether for lack of maturity or personal experience, think that they should take a more authoritarian approach to dealing with others. There might be some truth to that, at least to the extent that a boss must make tough decisions and walk the fine line between upper management and front-line workforce.

But is it really necessary to adopt a persona that generates fear and loathing? I maintain a resounding “NO!” Fear certainly can motivate. Consider a health scare that pushes a person to lose weight or eat better, for example. But, like with dieting, the best approach is a long-term strategy. In the long run, do you want employees to worry every time they’re called into your office, talk about your meanness behind your back or simply move on to another workplace because they can’t handle your management style?

A boss who corrects through threats and intimidation doesn’t develop his or her employees, keep them engaged, or even keep them around. A bad mood can spread like wildfire in a department or company, affecting employee production, engagement and success. And remember, successful employees help managers reach their goals and appear successful as well. In a 2012 workplace survey from the American Psychological Association, about one fourth of workers cited problems with a supervisor as a contributor to stress, and 36 percent said they had uncertain or undefined job expectations.  Even worse, employees in fear-based workplaces worry about whether they’ll have a job next week; this kind of uncertainty does not lend itself to engagement or creativity in the workplace.

There’s no doubt that being a manager is stressful as well, and that some events and problems just cause bad moods. But every manager should recognize the role he or she plays in setting the tone. Those with passion and vision are more likely to see the need to minimize the trickling of negativity down the line of command and lift all employees up. It’s up to managers to help their team members understand the broader vision of the company, department or team and how the individual worker’s responsibilities relate to that vision.

Competent managers also instill passion and enthusiasm, especially by modeling passion and job commitment. You can start by simply smiling more and by taking time to be honest and open with employees, especially when correcting problems. Encourage employees to improve their performance without berating them. If you need help bringing more passion and less fear to your workplace, give Success Factors a call. We can help. Call us today (425-485-3221).