fear of punishment

What a leader should not do: Punishing those who do not deserve a punishment

"One can force others to respect through the authority and power wielded. But to earn respect, you have to win the head and the heart of the other person." - Radhakrishnan Pillai
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Continuing from where we left off.

“Reasons for dissatisfaction of subjects: By not punishing those deserving to be punished: By punishing those not deserving to be punished” (7.5.19-26)

In the movie Troy, an officer comes to the General and says, “Sir, the army is under fear that you may punish them”. For this the General adds something very important: “Fear can be constructive if you can manage it well.”

Men are managed by fear of punishment. It is because of the fear of the police, that crime rate is controlled. It is because of the fear of loosing the job that employees become productive. It is only because of the fear of punishment that children are controlled by teachers and parents.

However, managing some one’s fear is an art by itself.

Here are some tips on managing fear:

One naturally commands respect just because of being in a position of power.

Be fearless yourself

It is better said that done. Being fearless at all times is the highest human achievement. Only years of doing the right things make one totally fearless. A warrior once said, “If I look directly into the eyes of the enemy for a few moments, my fear disappears”. In other words, it’s facing the challenges of life directly without dependency.

Never misuse fear

Leaders can misuse the fear of their subordinates. One naturally commands respect just because of being in a position of power. Still, respect cannot be demanded. One can force others to respect through the authority and power wielded. But to earn respect, you have to win the head and the heart of the other person. One of the parameters to check if one is a successful leader is to ensure every one is comfortable and happy when you are around.

Punish rightly

At times, punishment is unavoidable. However, one can punish rightly and justly. If you punish too much you will become a terror. But being too soft the work will not get the work done. It’s basically a balancing act. So think twice before you pass your judgement—be firm, yet considerate.

A criminal was being sent to the gallows. He was asked what his last wish was. He replied—to the shock of the jailor, “To kill my father because of whom I am going to the gallows.” He continued, “He never corrected me when I was wrong, nor did he punish me when I deserved it.”

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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