Day 49: What type of person makes a better leader—someone who is loved or someone who is feared? #100daychallenge

My instinctive response: Love trumps fear. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether a good leader needs to/should be loved or feared to thrive at all.

To me, a good leader is respectable and respectful. A motivator with a vision that transcends themselves. A good leader prioritizes his or her people, establishes trusting relationships with them and empowers them to fulfill their own goals along the way. 

I love this quote on leadership by Lao Tzu:

Worst is the leader who is despised.

Next the leader who is feared.

Then the leader who is loved.

The good leader is the one where people say ‘we did it ourselves.’

But I really don't know if all of those attributes necessarily mean a good leader has to be someone beloved. Even that can backfire. For example, you might feel a leader with whom you can emotionally connect with as a friend is someone you love and can really trust. But research has shown that this kind of relationship eventually leads to a lack of respect for authority.

I do believe, however, that a feared leader brings a kind of toxicity into the picture likely to lead to an uninspired following (or no following at all). A strained relationship with leadership makes it nearly impossible to establish trust or loyalty. And as I mentioned above, to me, respect is what I treasure most in a good leader.

So...in the end: I'd pick love over fear but would hope that my leader is ultimately someone I can respect — and someone who respects me.

The #100daychallenge writing series is my way of holding my right brain accountable for all the brain fog in hopes that I'll learn to creatively organize my thoughts and learn something(s) new about myself in the process. The challenge includes prompts from the San Francisco Writers' Grotto's642 Things to Write About. You can also follow my #100daychallenge here.

Unapologetically yours,
Fiza