Lesson 20:

What is your leadership style, the carrot or the stick?

The evidence-based frontier of sustainable leadership.

Leadership by stick will create followers, for a while. While the lure of bigger bonuses, status or prestige accompany stick leaders, it also lends itself to shadow ethical cultures. One in which people hide behaviors from others for fear of getting caught, or find loopholes to get around stated policies or rules. Unfortunately, within some of these organizations, unethical behavior is viewed as the norm and not even acknowledged that anything is amiss because that is “just the way business is done.”

Leadership by carrot is nourishing. While bonuses for rewards are available, carrot leaders create energy and ensure the alignment of values to actions is easily visible and understood by all levels of the team. It builds a culture where people understand how to navigate complex conflicts of interests because the discussions and challenges are openly discussed, and even welcomed.