Would You Rather Be Feared or Loved?

"Is it better to be feared or loved?" That is a classic question that Machiavelli asked leaders in his seminal work, The Prince.

Some business leaders lead with a heavy hand: it's all about command and control. What they say, goes. It's the equivalent of being feared.

Think of the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld or the other famous Donald, Mr. Trump.  They don't seem to be the collaborative types. When they make a decision, it's final. As Mr. Trump might say, "You're fired"! No discussion; decisions made behind closed doors in the boardroom.

There are many times when this type of leadership is wanted, even necessary. During political upheaval or in time of war, or when a company is in crisis,  command and control might be the most effective form of leading.

But for the most part,  a more collaborative, open style will get more effective results. That does not mean waiting for your team to come into your office. It means getting out and about. Asking questions, listening, actively seeking input. Drawing people in, not driving them away.

Letting a team or whole organization know that you value their opinions can help spur innovation and drive to results. An open, collaborative style earns respect and fosters input.

With all respect to Mr. Machiavelli, it's not a matter of being feared or being loved, it's a matter of being effective, and these days, an open door policy is more effective than a closed door.