Settling the Age Old Leadership Question

When it comes to choosing a job or a career, one of the things we look at is the leadership within the organizations we choose to be a part of as well as how we develop our own leadership style over time.  We are all leaders at some point and we all look up to leadership for guidance, so we’re posing the age old question, “As a leader, is it better to be feared or loved?”

If we look to history there have been many leaders in both camps.  Of the many historical figures, Machiavelli answered this question in his writings, “If one cannot be loved and feared, it is better to be feared,” while the great military leader Hannibal wished to be loved by his followers and feared by his enemies, stating that ‘if they are not with me, they are against me.’

In generations prior, it was common in corporate culture and in education to rule by force and fear to maintain order and induce respect.  However, over time, there has been a shift towards a more benevolent leadership style has occurred matching the demands for more fluid communication to incite creativity and openness in the workplace and in learning.

Both styles of leadership have their merits and some circumstances are better suited for one type of leadership over the other.  Just look to the careers of many sports coaches or corporate CEOs for examples spanning the gamut of how leaders have developed successful and respectful careers out of fear or love.

But this week, we’re asking you to weigh in: As a leader, is it better to be feared or loved?

What’s your position on this historical question? Vote/Tweet in our birdfeud below!

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About Robin Rayburn

Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog,, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.

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