Whether feared or loved as a commander on the battlefield or a boss at the office, your performance and effectiveness as a leader depends greatly on how you’re perceived.


Leaders should strive to be a balance of respected (“feared”) and admired (“loved”) by those they lead.

A great leader is not just feared or only loved by their followers, nor are they feared and loved, they are ‘feared but loved’.

Being both feared and loved in the right way can create a powerful and effective leadership style that achieves results while inspiring loyalty in followers.

          Being Feared

Being feared has its advantages. People are more likely to follow orders without asking questions, respect your authority more, and be less likely to question your decisions as you have established yourself as an unquestioned leader.

Balanced fear with strategic intimidation can help maintain order and discipline with a sense of security that their leader will protect them and keep them from straying from their objectives.

The downside of strictly fear-based leadership is that it can lead to resentment from those who are afraid of you, which may lead them to act out against you (rebel) when given the chance or enact sabotage.

Furthermore, fear-based leaderships don’t build solid loyalty or trust within a team which could be problematic for future missions.

Excessive fear can also be detrimental, creating an environment of distrust and making followers less likely to take initiative or speak up about problems.

          Being Loved

On the other hand, being loved as a leader has its own set of benefits. It creates an environment of trust and respect, encourages followers to think creatively and take initiative, boosts morale and motivation.

The lack of fear makes for comprehensive dialogue, making it easier for followers to voice their opinions and concerns without fear of retribution.

Being loved by those around you has its own set of advantages over being feared – beyond as a leader. When people love you they are more likely to go above and beyond for you as they believe in what you’re doing and trust that your intentions are pure.

Additionally, they will be more likely to listen to your suggestions / advice / orders without questioning it because they view you as someone who has their best interests in mind rather than someone who only cares about themselves / mission / company.

However, being only loved with no balance of being feared can also be tricky because people may become too attached which could lead to blind loyalty or even recklessness if not managed correctly.

This could also be an attack vector because it can be seen as a sign of weakness, to be taken advantage of both your followers and opponents.

          Tradecraft Method

Leadership style should never be 100 percent feared or loved, although on the surface and at times it will be shown to be effective, but it’s not sustainable.




This equation comes from the concept that there’s nothing more powerful than “being feared but loved”. It’s not 50/50 as that’s also not sustainable.


Leaders need to recognize and adapt when each approach would be most beneficial in specific situations or with certain individuals or groups in order to find success in leading others effectively.

The best way to lead followers is through a blend of both fearing and loving leadership styles.

[TAG : Being Feared or Loved as a Leader]