Intimidating Results

Rice Loses it

I once worked for a boss who consistently asked the question, “Would you rather be loved or respected by your subordinates?”,  of course the majority of the employees responded that they’d rather be loved.

The boss’ response to his question was that being “loved” meant that people would walk all over you, but being “respected” meant that they would produce results for you.

The next time we were asked this one of my fellow employees suggested to the boss that he might be confusing the word “love” with “approval” and the word “respect” with “intimidation”.

You can probably guess how much longer he continued to work for the organization.

While I completely agreed with my friend’s assessment, I ultimately quit that job over a different issue; I didn’t believe that you can actually make a choice between love and respect.

I don’t believe that you can actually love someone and not respect them.  Conversely, I do believe that disrespectful and dishonorable behavior are the evidence of a complete lack of love for other people, and an extreme desire for selfish results.

Which brings me to Rutgers Basketball coach Mike Rice.

Coach Rice was fired today for verbally and physically abusing the players on his basketball squad.  The coach was fired after video of him shoving, kicking, verbally excoriating, and throwing balls at players was released to ESPN.

When we don’t love people it’s easy to appeal to their fears through intimidation; all for the purpose of coercing them into doing what we want.  When we don’t care about the players on our “team”, it becomes possible to place our desires for achievement above theirs.

This means that we become willing to make appeals to the darkest places in their hearts in order to manipulate them into serving the darkest places in our own.

Intimidation is only as effective as the fear that it causes.

For a player, poor performance already means the possibility of losing your place on the team, and the scholarship that accompanies it.  That’s already a fear that players live with, appealing to physical damage and mental derision simply means that there is something else going on in the heart and the mind of the bullying coach.

Coaches who resort to this don’t necessarily want their players to succeed, they wants to control them.  This reflects the belief that  having power over power players gives control over the score.

It’s no secret that bullies crave power.

Gaining positions of authority is the quickest way for bullies to consolidate power and give orders.

Unfortunately for power-hungry, control enthusiasts, none of us actually has the power to “make” other people “do” the things we order them to.  This is where fear comes in.  A bully appeals to the fears of the person they are hoping to intimidate.  When they find the right fear, they often find a very effective motivator.

While that fearful motivation may initially produce the desired results, the lack of love and care demonstrated by a willingness to employ it prevents respect and admiration from growing in the hearts of the people who suffer.  When we remove love from our relational offerings we only guarantee a loss of respect in return.

You can demand, or simply prefer, that people fear disappointing or failing you, but in the end you’ll simply be surrounded by people who don’t respect you.

You can however love people, and by respecting and honoring them coach them on how to respect and honor others.  Guess what return that this investment in others produces for you?

Love is always as effective as the respect that it inspires.

We can’t choose between love and respect,

They go hand in hand.

Much like abuse and firing.

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” – Hebrews 13:7


One Response to “Intimidating Results”

  1. Sharon O April 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    When I saw this story it made me wonder what he is like at home, and how he treats his family. He should be fired. It is not ok to abuse anyone for any reason. Did he not realize in our society he would be recorded on some level?
    It is his problem now.
    Too bad he didn’t think before he reacted.

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