Startups · Entrepreneurship

Is it better to be feared or to be loved as a leader?

Nick Cruz CEO at Nick Software Solutions

September 9th, 2016

Many times I wonder what is the approach that would make me be more effective with peers and colleagues. Not sure which way will lead to more results and I am very curious to hearing your opinion on this.

Renee Teeley Looking to join an early stage startup as a CMO or CCO - expertise in video marketing

September 9th, 2016

I think this is entirely the wrong way to view leadership. A good leader, hires incredibly smart amazing people and inspires them to do their very best work. It's not about being feared or loved. 

Michael Leeds CEO & Founder

September 9th, 2016

I think you need to be yourself. Model the behavior you expect from others.

Devin Dixon Business Developer Extraordinaire

September 9th, 2016

They yield different results but more importantly attract different talent.

Fear is what bosses use, inspiration is what leaders use. So to your question, if you use fear, you are a boss, not a leader.

Also people who are truly excellent at what they do will not stay in an environment of fear. They have options, why would they stay in a place that feel worried about pleasing you? The people who stay in an environment where fear rules tend to be more worried about there jobs because they think they are easy to replace and will have trouble finding another job.

In short, fear will drive away top talent, leadership will inspire top talent to follow and believe in you. It's up to you how you want to position yourself and the company and the kind of results it will have.

Chris Owens

September 9th, 2016

Fear of you as a leader is only detrimental in the long run.  It may produce compliance in the short term, but not in the long term and it will absolutely CRUSH initiative.

Being loved is not required, and if you're worried about being loved you will not make hard decisions when you need to.

A few of the things I keep in mind as a leader are 1) being decisive, 2) persistence in making sure one's decisions are being carried out once made (but the ability to recognize when you're wrong and correcting it). Dealing with your subordinates with a high level of affinity and respect, and reserving anger only for actual emergencies when needed. (there's a lot more to being a leader, obviously, but those are a few salient points off the top of my head.)


Sebastien Mirolo CEO DjaoDjin inc.

September 9th, 2016

The best approach is professionalism. Be fair and decisive, make the hard choices. If you make enough decisions that impact peers and colleagues positively, they will respect you over time. The team will be a lot more effective.

William Agush Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated

September 9th, 2016

Leaders lead. You know a leader when you meet them.

Bill Lennan Red Rope Social - everyone is an influencer.

September 9th, 2016

"Leaders eat Last" - Simon Sinek. 
Arguably the best book available on servant leadership. 
Leadership is about providing lubrication so your team can excel. 
Neither fear nor love are on that plane :-)

Joey Carson Passionate Entrepreneur who works best with a great team!

September 9th, 2016

This sounds like you are looking to play a part in a movie. Bottom line - be yourself, that way no acting involved - only authenticity...


Sharon Lew Talent Management, Business Development, Executive Producer, Post Producer, Consulting , Commercials, Advertising

September 9th, 2016

I think you need to be respected first and foremost. Fear brings out the worst in most people. Here is an interesting article loosly based on your question. http://qz.com/625870/after-years-of-intensive-analysis-google-discovers-the-key-to-good-teamwork-is-being-nice/

Brett Murphy Director of Business Development, Industrial IoT

September 10th, 2016

You definitely don't want to inspire fear; others have already explained why. Love, maybe, depends on your personal style. But there are definite elements of leadership that you want to develop to lead a team to success. The best resource on the practice of leadership I've seen is:  http://www.leadershipchallenge.com/home.aspx.