While reading Machiavelli’s, “The Prince” I struggled to accept the idea that for leaders, it is better to be loved than feared.
I thought particularly about one organization, my family, and how I viewed my parents or should I say the King and Queen of our household. When I was younger, many of my friends would tell me how they were grounded or had specific privileges taken away for doing something wrong. I would think to myself how lucky I was that I had never been grounded.
The only big punishment that had ever happened to me was being sent to my room. As I got older, I began to contemplate, if I was rarely punished how come I rarely acted out?
The answer is simple. Growing up having a close relationship with my parents, I never wanted to disappoint them. Because of how much I loved and respected my parents, I feared disappointing them, but I never feared them. Having a conversation with my parents and hearing how I disappointed them was much worse then getting my RAZR phone taken away from me. In “The Prince” it says that in order to be a strong and powerful prince you must instill fear in your nation; however, the piece also focuses on the fine line between fear and hate. You do not want your nation to hate the prince, just fear him. Citizens would hate their prince if he taxed them too high causing them to live in poverty. Likewise, citizens would respect their prince if he taxed them the correct amount in order to stabilize the economy, even if he was seen as fearful.
Similarly to in my family, a prince should be someone that is so respected that people fear disappointing him. This distinction between fearing someone and fearing how they feel about you can make a tremendous difference. If a leader of a nation, company, or any organization is feared by its members it may prevent people to speak their ideas or share their concerns. If people working below the leader did not share their input, the organization could fail. “The Prince” also mentions that a prince should be his absolute cruelest at the beginning of his term, so people expect the worst before he eases up. Although I think a leader should be stern, they should also be compassionate and personable in order to gain respect from their constituents.
I believe that a family is like its own tiny nation, and it’s interesting to look at it’s governing in order to see what strategies work best. Like my family, certain organizations may work best when they instill less fear of an individual and more fear of their reaction.