Machiavelli Details


Machiavelli posed an important question: Is it better to be loved or to be feared?

His answer is very wrong.

He said it is better to be feared.

Again, this is significant because every manager everywhere at every level, believe Machiavelli is right: make your employees fear you, and you will get better results. This is so terribly wrong!!

But he wrote during the middle ages, in the times of kings. Certainly in a kingdom, the king is dictator. If he wants his will to be followed at all times, and not have his position threatened, he must be feared.


He also did not realize the consequences.

• If you are feared, you get compliance. Yet you do not get loyalty.

• Nor does compliance ensure a quality job.


A. Compliance does not mean loyalty or happiness.

If people fear you, then they will always be looking for the first chance to make their move.


1. When they can, they will leave you.

A prime example is the breakup of the USSR. The smaller republics left in a hurry to independence as soon as they got a chance. A similar example is Germany and the Wall; people were leaving, so a wall must be put up to stop them.

This will also happen in companies. Employees will be looking for a better position elsewhere with a better manager, and they will move. (In the last place I worked, there were 14 employees who left the company, all who worked under one manager, just in one year. This speaks of how much this manager was hated.)


2. When they can, revolt will occur.

As soon as people who are oppressed see an opportunity, they will join together and take down the evil man. This is not just in dictatorships, but in pockets of government everywhere. The people wait for a time when there is a political weakness, and they will attack to bring you down. "Et to Brute?"


B. Forced compliance does not mean quality.

People will do the work because they fear you. They may do something unreasonable only to preserve their job. But that doesn't mean the work is any good. The employee wont care, and will only do the minimum.



The TRUE answer is that being LOVED is better than being feared.

If the employees or those under you love you instead of fear you, you get so much further.

- they will be loyal to you when times are tough.

- they will do their very best for you, every day.

- they will be happy and satisfied

- they will never be thinking about leaving, or plotting against you.

- also remember that most employees want to do well. They are skilled, intelligent, hard working people. Just treat them with kindness, and results will increase a thousand fold.


If you have their hearts, then you have infinitely more than just a group of paid technicians. You have a group who will do almost anything for you, and the department will surpass all others.

It is for these reasons, that no matter who you are in charge of, in what arena, it is always the correct answer to be loved over being feared.