There’s a belief that the alpha-type authoritarian “leaders” are the personalities that get stuff done. Their take-no-shit approach is fast and uncompromising in a world that has no time to think about the subtle dynamics of a team or brand. I couldn’t disagree more...
That bully-like style… you know: finger-pointing, threats, politic-ing, fear, being an asshole in general, is a cop-out.
Of course it's not black and white as most people have a mix of traits... but anyone who makes a personal decision to trade long-term relationship or brand building for a clean project on paper is not only significantly misguided, but lazy… and in the worst case scenario… reckless.
For the benefit of the doubt, maybe it’s just that this leader doesn’t know any better. Maybe it’s a fake-it-till-you-make-it-thing? Maybe this is what they’ve experienced in the past and they’re trying desperately to make their mark. Doesn’t matter. The point is that it’s typically a case of lack of maturity - that needs some work.
Fast. Yes. We all move pretty fast these days. I do, you do. The expectations are high for sure. There’s a whole lot of “incoming”, with even more moving parts and it’s really hard to keep up. So what. This type of behaviour in the name of speed is a short cut at best, and a morale-killer at worst. When we ignore the group dynamic or opt-out of empathy we’re not doing the actual work of a leader, never-mind a competent manager.
A bull in a China Shop doesn’t care about the shop, the things in it, or the repercussions of it’s actions. All it wants is to get the fuck out of the shop. It’s a pretty selfish approach. Trust matters. Disrupting teams, culture and the brand by treating professionals as if they’re incompetent idiots is a very poor decision. It may work once, even twice. But the unintended effects on the people they interact with (not to mention the brand) will linger for years.
An Inefficient and Unsustainable Short Cut
It’s tough because the hard-line approach seems easier, faster and more efficient. And it is… at first. But as a project / initiative moves on there’s a tangible disengagement. Passion is lost and the frayed edges begin to appear. People begin to do only what they are told and only so much to stay under the radar.
Let’s run this thing on joy, passion and commitment with the long-term in mind. Fear is inefficient, costly and a culture killer. Fear will work once… and then become the most inefficient method of leadership you’ve ever seen.