I picked up 32 audiobooks recently including an audio copy of Machiavelli's The Prince.
It's always intrigued me as a book - it's really not so hardcore, given its reputation. It's a fairly straightforward, blunt book on political science, governance, and military science. The mystique and aura around it are primarily from people who haven't read it.
The most famous quote from the book, of course, is "Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."
I missed it the first couple times I read the book. This time I picked up on Machiavelli's point.
He says love is internally based. It's a feeling you largely choose to feel, that you can large turn on and off easily. Love is fickle. It comes, it goes.
Fear is much more predictable and largely externally based. Lovers can fall out easily on a fast downward spiral whim; fear does not wear off if your base character stays the same.
But note the "if you can not be both." The highest way is to be held in love, esteem, and respect during daily life, with something in the back of a person's mind that if they do wrong by you, you'll be a source of hell and misery. That keeps wanton destruction and arbitrary betrayals in check.
I think love is stronger than fear. A commander loved by his soldiers will defeat a commander feared by his soldiers in almost all battles... but the feared commander is less subject to arbitrary chance. So, they both have value. 95% love, 5% fear is probably the best mix. But the 5% needs to be you unleashing the forces of hell with cold precision if you're turned against.
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But being feared is way way easier to achieve than being loved.
I know what to do to be feared but tell me what should I do to be loved.
Fear and love seem to be key in leadership. If you can get people to fear you, you can get tons of *productive* work done. I guess. But if people fear you (or the project / mission), you are only dealing with one factor for motivation. And it's a scarce one.
Fear is a natural response to danger, and it takes people to a 'survival mode', where they only do 'enough to not face what I fear'. I think if you want people to really make a change in events / in a project - to really make a difference, you need their love.
Love is much more irrational, and it makes people do (sometimes) stupid things. Like, going to a battle even if they fear it - but they love the leader and / or the feeling of accomplishment / purpose, so they do it anyway. They are maybe inspired by the future glory, or the significance of their input - much more motivating than the limiting fear.
I'm trying to shift my leadership attempts from fear to love (and trust). In my field (arts and creative industries), you can't get people to be inspired and to *want* to do something big if they're scared. But I'm starting to see the results of giving them a sense of purpose, the significance of their input and the project as a whole. It brings pretty amazing (though usually hard to predict) results.
I guess project management (projects like production, especially) can benefit from fear. But if you want creative leadership, you're better off trusting and inspiring love.
In my experience, the mix of love and fear is called "respect" - that's exactly what you describe as "being loved (admired, looked up to, etc.) and with a spec of fear in the background", and it's definitely the most effective thing, but difficult to achieve...
"A commander loved by his soldiers will defeat a commander feared by his soldiers in almost all battles… but the feared commander is less subject to arbitrary chance" - tell that to Soviet soldiers who died by the millions to defend Russia and crush the Third Reich - they were basically given the choice "Die by the hands of the enemy or mine" by Stalin, and that made them desperate enough to actually win against soldiers who respected/loved their leader. Most of the veterans think that Stalin was a "soulless person", but all of them agree that he was a good leader... pretty interesting...
"The highest way is to be held in love, esteem, and respect during daily life, with something in the back of a person’s mind that if they do wrong by you, you’ll be a source of hell and misery."
The thought occurred to me that this is basically what most parents are. Kids love their parents, but also fear the punishment they'll get if they don't behave.
And as kids become teenagers, the parents' ability to apply fear weakens, and the kids typically obey their parents less.
It also depends on what kind of entity you're leading. Leading a country or army is different to leading a company. In the first case, it's difficult for subordinates to leave you. In the second case, people can easily leave - and you might also be trying to inspire them to do highly creative work, rather than just follow orders. These factors change the preference for using fear or love.
Just had another thought - this is the classic "theory X vs theory Y" schools of management. Theory X = lazy employees = extrinsic motivation = fear. Theory Y = inspired employees = intrinsic motivation = love.
Interesting. I think I should read this to get a different point of view, because it directly conflicts with the one I have now.
This comes my own experience. Of being managed by fear, not necessarily the use of. The only good I could see was that I grew closer to the people I worked with. But it wasn't for productivity. It was looking for ways out. Looking for respect.
I think using fear does indeed get the job done. But it's a short-term solution. Once the job is done, you have no loyalty. Having both fear and love is more obvious. You don't want to be a pushover as a leader, which is where the fear comes into play. But choosing just one? You really cannot be both? Is that ever the case?
Perhaps choosing to start with fear, then love is better. I've experienced this in sports. Good coaches, they're tough. Initially. And once they get your head in the game, they respect you. And you return that respect. It's a relationship. Using fear alone will win some games, but then people look elsewhere for respect. And it shows.
I dunno, perhaps I just haven't been in a position where I had to choose between the two to fully understand. I'll have to read more about how you get into such a situation.
Sebastian, nice piece. I think there is a typo in your sentence. "He says love is internally based. It's a feeling you largely choose to feel, that you can large turn on and off easily. Love is fickle. It comes, it goes."
Emphasis: "Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred . . ."
It's similar to Sun Tzu's maxim that soldiers be motivated by clear incentives and punishments. The ruler or the general can't be too arbitrary about the way he operates.
Love isn't just fickle, it's subjective and does not translate into objective goods. It's easy to swear friendship and loyalty when nothing is at stake, but the prince's survival is dependent upon whether his men are willing to die for him. Men who get rich suddenly find that the people who they thought were their suddenly show their naked greed. Promises generally aren't worth a lot when there's a strong outside motivation to cheat.
The same goes with "respect." It's intangible and people will always invariably disagree with what constitutes actual respect. I've been involved in too many situations where people take disagreement or criticism as disrespect. It involves too much personal ego.
Think and Grow Rich: A marvelous book, but I was having a hard time finishing it. Then I realized - the last three chapters are pretty much fluff that repeat points already covered. I skimmed the last three chapters... it starts very strong, ends weak, but I'm happy it's finally done.
The Alchemist: What a masterpiece by Paolo Cuehlo. Read it in one day, couldn't put it down. Got me thinking a lot... lots of great quick ways to think, quick heuristics and mantras in there. Really wonderful short little book with some great lessons.
If I Did It: I read OJ Simpson's autobiography on a whim when I saw a copy. It's a weird book. It's about a guy trying to be a decent husband and having his marriage fall apart. Then he kills his wife. Oh, and it's OJ Simpson, and the most famous trial/legal story of the last 20 years. Weird to read the guy's perspective... it's weird in how surreal and normal it is. A famous guy marries a beautiful 18 year old girl but they don't have a really deep or mature connection. She doesn't take well to money and stability, gets unhappy, starts acting kind of crazy in the marriage. OJ acts crazy in response. They divorce. Then he keeps hearing her partying around town and doing drugs, flips out, and kills her. Weird reading it in his own words - I lived in Los Angeles for awhile, and the first part read like a fairly normal L.A. story with a rich, famous guy making a bad choice in a young beautiful woman without much depth or character. Then it gets kind of crazy at the end. It wasn't sad so much as weird. It's sureally normal in parts, and then ends with... well, you know. I wouldn't recommend you go out of your way to read it, but it's interesting for a few hours if you get a chance.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Eliezer Yudkowsky's fanfiction is exceptionally good. If you're a reader of LessWrong at all, you'll love it. If not, you still might like it. He wrote it in "serialized" format where each chapter is a mostly self-contained adventure with plot arc, and then a cohesive whole. It works well, reads well, lots of good insights. He didn't really hit his stride and tone until chapter 15 to 20... if you like Yudkowsky's normal writing, give it until chapter 20. Trust me on this - Eliezer sets up a lot of backstory and forces some humor in the early chapters, and the tone isn't quite smooth... still good, but then wow, it kicks into overdrive around chapter 20 and it's just a page-turning must-read. It's free online at fanfiction.com and you can also find pdf compilations with some googling.
Ok I'm not as diehard of an Ultimate Frisbee fan as my title suggests, but I love the sport.
Ultimate Frisbee is a fusion of soccer and football, and it's played with a frisbee. It is definitely one of the easiest team sports to learn, probably second behind soccer (maybe further down, but I can't think of any right now). The best part? It's a hell of a fun sport to play. It has a reputation of being a laidback sport (although I wish it didn't) but is still athletically demanding.
Running back and forth on a soccer/football field is hard work. In my first game, I got the "skitch" (that painful feeling in your stomach while running). After that, I picked up running and it no longer bothered me. If I didn't rack up 25+ miles per week, Ultimate games would easily tire me out.
Another thing I love it is that you can play with only one other person if you want. You can simply throw it around, and it's not as boring as merely kicking a soccer ball with another person. You get to still run around and try new tricks, and both people can be relatively far away from each other. And, you only need a Frisbee. You don't need a basket, tennis rackets and a net, a goal, whatever.
I definitely want to continue Ultimate, and I slowly want to start being more competitive. It's currently the only team sport I play, and it's definitely amazing.