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West Point Cadets
West Point cadets and instructors

West Point Cadets

A group of 13 cadets and four instructors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point take on the weekly 'On Leadership' questions. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

Respect, not fear, rules the roost

Q: In the hit TV show "Mad Men," which ended its season Sunday, Don Draper becomes the de facto leader of the fictional ad agency, despite his cool detachment, his brusque manner and his brutal honesty. He follows the old adage that it is better to be feared and respected than liked, but he's also fiercely loyal to people who do good work. Does Don Draper pass the leadership test?

Fear only goes so far...
Is the inculcation of fear in the work environment truly an effective measure of leadership? The answer is yes. However, the degree to which this form of leadership is practiced significantly determines whether or not it continues to remain effective in the long run. One may find productivity in the use of minimal fear if operating under the assumption that individuals work more diligently when the likelihood of unemployment or reprimand increases. In contrast however, the reliance on fear negatively affects organizational efficiency. An abundance of fear may result in distrust from subordinates. Therefore, mistakes may often go unreported, which further decreases efficiency and productivity.

Fear and respect do not correlate with one another. People will perform the bare minimum and possess no drive for excellence under a leader they fear without respect. This ultimately limits the organization's potential, as subordinates are more concerned with avoiding punishment. I'd say Don Draper's effectiveness lies within his loyalty to hard workers. Loyalty can increase motivation, dedication and commitment from your subordinates. Loyalty is an attribute of a competent leader and consequently enhances the compliance and the efforts of subordinates.
~CDT Lawrence Brown

Respect rules the roost...
It is vital for a leader to be well respected. Being selected for a position of increased leadership means a superior saw some potential in Don Draper that helps the organization. His cool detachment, brusque manner and brutal honesty may engender fear in some, but respect should be his main concern. Being feared will merely motivate subordinates to achieve the minimum standard and will never motivate them to go above and beyond that for the organization. His fierce loyalty to people who do good work should be directed in a manner that motivates others to want to earn that same loyalty through their hard work, in order to avoid the perception of favoritism.
~CDT Jonathan Bulls

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

By West Point Cadets

 |  October 19, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Leadership weaknesses , Pop culture Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: 360 degrees of Don Draper | Next: Sexism in Mad Men--what has (and hasn't) changed

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