How to Replace the Threat of Fear with Fearless Leadership

How to Replace the Threat of Fear with Fearless Leadership

Matthew Bellows, the Founder and CEO of Yesware, recently posted this on his blog: “The threat of firing is not as powerful as the human desire to unlock potential.”

Anyone who has worked under people with great leadership skills can attest to the truth and strength found in that statement. When people are placed under great leaders, their potential can be lit from within and turn into a raging fire that cannot be quenched by anything but success. Additionally, a leader’s well-placed faith can foster growth in areas that some people may have never previously considered before.

Unfortunately, some managers use fear as their main tool instead. In some cases, people are forced into job positions that they do not want, simply out of fear of losing their jobs completely. This is a common tactic among managers to lazily fill positions they need filled, or even to punish those under their “command.” All too many individuals have tried to turn down a dubious position that they do not want only to hear the words “I could force you, but you won’t make me, will you?” Using a person’s job as leverage to get them to comply with your wishes is a clear example of a lack of true leadership skills.

Avoid Bully Bosses

Why do so many bosses choose to manipulate, coerce and even bully their workers when the opposite approach is such a clearly superior method? Sadly, bullying is simply an easier tactic. Too many bosses understand that real leadership takes a ton of work. However, with the work comes benefits that true leaders are not likely to forget, such as increased strength in political, personal and professional areas. In the alternative, the strong-arm boss only needs to apply brute force with the smallest amount of tact.

According to Chuck Gumbert, founder of the Tomcat Group, if you want to know how harmonious a company really is, you simply need to ask the shop floor workers. Their answers will give a clear indication of whether or not your organization is dysfunctional. Alternatively, if workers don’t mention a single issue, they may be under the watchful eye of an intimidating boss who has made transparency and honesty impossible. This also indicates a dysfunctional organization.

Put Employees First

The company leader is ultimately the one responsible for functional or dysfunctional employee conditions. Leaders set the tone for how others within an organization act. If fairness is the rule, favoritism is not possible.

Devote Time to Listening

In some cases, serious dysfunction can go ignored simply because top dogs refuse to listen. To avoid this, real leaders employ the following tactics:

  • They take the time to listen to what their charges tell them instead of simply reacting to it.
  • They value worker feedback
  • They use fearless leadership instead of the threat of fear.

When you have created an environment of fearless leadership where workers know their opinions matter, they are more likely to lock onto and believe in the company’s vision. Ed Oakley and Doug Krug effectively showed in their book Enlightened Leadership  that a great leader gathers all the best ideas in the room, regardless of who came up with them. That is how dysfunctional companies effectively turn themselves around.

This blog was written by Dilip Barot, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Etech Global Services, and founder of Creative Choice Group, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  Etech employs 2,700 team members across the US, India and Jamaica.  If you would like to learn more about Etech, please contact us at for more information.

Dilip Barot

Dilip Barot

Dilip Barot is the Founder and Chairman of Etech. In this role, Mr. Barot uses his vast experience as an entrepreneur to establish the strategic direction of the company and prioritize business imperatives. Mr. Barot’s “out of the box” thinking has led Etech to developing proven processes in the areas of quality assurance, application development, Integrated Customer Engagement (ICE) and offshore expansion.

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