Friday, September 17, 2010

Respect or Fear?

Haven't you heard a lot about the term, "Leadership"? Ever wondered the true meaning of it? Is it the authority over your team or is it the way you bring your team together?

For me, it's the latter. And that is irrespective of whether I'm the leader or part of of the team. A tree will bear sweet fruits only if the roots, branches and leaves are intact and help each other out in the process. If the root tries to empower the process, the leaves are going to fall away sooner or later, and the branches will follow suit. With just a trunk, no tree can succeed in bearing fruits.

And yet I've seen few leaders trying to be authoritative more than necessary just to show who's the boss or to just satisfy their stupid ego. Teams are held together by means of fear and threats. How is that team likely to succeed down the lane? It won't! It will fall apart in some time. If only the leaders realized that.

If you consider our freedom movements, the leader's role is to motivate, to encourage and upbring the team. Imposing a leader's vision by such a medium is well received. Ruling by fear will only discourage and frustrate the team. And yet, leaders tend to misuse their powers.

Too many restrictions will block creativity. It affects the mere thought process. Just working long hours is not going to help a project or product.

When I had a team, I had only one thing to tell them: "This job has to be done by this time, as by your estimate. You finish it in an hour or you take the whole time, is not my concern at all. As far as the deadline is met and the quality is good, I'm happy."

And when I was part of a team, I did the same. This was an incident that happened in one of the previous companies I worked with. I had given them an estimate of when the project would be done, which was accepted. One day, I wasn't in the mood to work . So I was just browsing. My manager sorta complained to my boss about it. However, my boss, a sensible man, responded back to him saying, "Your complaint will be taken into account if she doesn't meet her deadline. You did your job. Let's see if she does hers. We should trust our employees :)"  and sent a copy to my email too.

Of course, I finished it 2 days before the deadline :)

After this event, my boss grew more confident about my performance and my respect for him doubled. Even my manager now had complete faith in me. Isn't that an ideal situation? The boss could now trust me with another project, I would take it upon myself to get that done for him and the manager knew I would finish it!

Sadly, many others don't think the way my boss did! With his reaction, he earned respect from both me and the manager.

Leaders and to-be-leaders, remember one thing: A successful leader is defined by the amount of respect he/she gets and not by how much a team fears them. Fear won't last long, respect stays for ever :)