What managers, leaders, and alphas always confront is the question of what to use. Should you use your status and power to display strength? Or do you show understanding and patient to show warmth towards your team members? As Machiavelli once said: “…whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?” As for you, future managers, or leaders, this dilemma will always occur.
Furthermore, I do not blame you because it is a fight in our body itself. Who will win? The strength hormone testosterone or the warmth hormones estrogen and oxytocin? When you understand the importance of warmth and strength you will understand that many people in your environment tend to have one of these traits. The best part, you can use this knowledge to take advantage of it. Understanding these attributes makes you powerful and gives you a tool to compel people more easily. Let’s discuss the importance of strength and warmth.
The Choice – be feared or be loved
When you observe your friends or colleagues, you can see which of the attributes they tend to behave. Do they show more strength or more warmth? When you are a strong, independent guy who shows it clearly, your warmth will back down. Also, the other way around, when you show more warmth you are seen as less strong.
In addition, you can ruin easily your image of being a nice guy. All it takes is one cold incident -not showing interest or not caring about their feelings- can make it different to rebuild the warmth between you and the other later. This means if you seem cold once, that impressions stick for a while.
Strength works inversely. Just because you show strength once does not mean you are strong. If you start a new job performing at a high level but then slack off, you will be seen as incompetent. Maybe you will undo your first impression of competence. But it takes a while.
Let us choose the strength – be feared
Three years ago, I was a friend of this group of guys who display a lot of strength. Attributes like loyalty, perseverance, and overall strength in the body and the mind were our highest priority in life. Furthermore, it was all about brute force, get things done like do what you promise and do what you need to do. We saw it as a kind of virtue, a holy way of life. It makes me uneasy with the time, but I do not regret it to go out with them. Imagine you are in a war. It is either show strength or gets eaten. With time, it worries me about the either-us-or-them mentality.
I learned a lot in those times we hang up together. They were the definition of time in their most beautiful way and also in the most dangerous way. When you want to lead with strength remember this. Relying on your strength is an effective way to get things done. With strength, you can bend the world to your world. Strength alone can coerce but never lead. The more you express your life with brute strength the more you trust people less. You will be feared but also can end up alone.
Answer: Why do dads end up loving the dog?
Most of the time, every time the rest of the family wants to buy a dog, the father does not want it. He may list all contra arguments against buying a dog. But in the end, he loves the dog. Weird, right?
I met a cute dog once. Let’s call him, Max. I was not a fan of dogs like most dads. There was no advantage of having a dog, only a lot of work and time that must be invested. He was cute that I can admit. But that’s it. Nothing special at all.
One day, at a birthday party, a friend came with two dogs. And, Max, this boy, showed who was the boss. I loved the view, they played with each other. But, Max shows his dominance by pushing those other dogs down. Sawing him dominating the others made my heart skipped a beat. Truly a cute dog who is being loved and being feared.
Why do dads love their dogs? Because at one time, they showed strength. I heard, dogs once protect the family from a bear. Everyone who is the “strength” type would be in love with those dogs.
Let us choose warmth – be loved
On the other hand, I had a group of softies, “all about love” friends. Being nice all the time is the unwritten rule the group set up. They tend to be suspicious when you show a small amount of strength. Because in their eyes strength is equal to cruelty, brutality, greed, selfishness, aggression, and a lack of caring. Instead of taking action with strength, it will be discussed with understanding and care.
Sounds nice. I loved those caring moments, too. However, it goes to the unacceptable when you are naive. Only seeing warmth as the only way to deal with problems makes you blind to people who are truly trying to harm you. An impaired view of only seeing the good in everyone makes you the best victim for everyone.
Not getting things done was the most annoying moment in that group. It was all about the status quo. Do not change in the smallest matter. Stick to our group. My god, I raged so many times seeing this practice.
Each inside the other
When you project a whole lot of strength or warmth, an interesting sometimes happens: You can project the other trait as well.
Strength bears Warmth
Out of the strong guys’ group, I am a friend of one of them. For me, he is the definition of strength, a guy who gets things done, displays strength, and shows it with his fists, an admirable guy to befriend with. I got overwhelmed by how much strength he shows, I respect him but never trusted him at first. With time, our relationship grew to a bromance. From there, we care for each other.
Moreover, we showed our care via text. Because we respect each other’s strength, and consequently our care aka our warmth grew with it. When he had problems I was there also the other way around. Also, next time he is fighting in the club, I will join without regrets and I will not deal with the consequences I used to do. So, sometimes, strength can let warmth grow.
Warmth bears Strength
It is the same with warmth. When I had problems in life and do not want to talk with others, I care for myself. It is with work, finding new projects, or going to the gym. When I felt pity for myself and dived into a phase of comforting myself with snacks, music, or small things. But at the most time, I felt pity for myself to the point I start to hate myself.
When I head to this point, I could hear a switch turning back to myself. Talking to myself, “Ok stop cry now you little piece of wreck. Stand up, right now!!! Life is enjoyable in every second of your life.” And immediately, I feel this immense power, get up and get things done. I love myself that I could not let myself down. Also, friends used to do it. When I heard enough of these depression talk, I share a round of slaps to wake them up.
It is one of many ways how warmth can create strength.
Be feared and be loved – Strength and Warmth
Instead of choosing either strength or warmth, why not choose both?
In the first week of August, I met new people at the yearly beer festival in Berlin. A one-mile festival consisted of a small booth where people could sell all kinds of beer. Food, drinks and a chill atmosphere is the best moment to connect with new people.
Throughout the night, I displayed strength and warmth. First of all, when I met them I never show strength. I showed warmth instead. Sharing my cigarettes, bought drinks for some, joking with people, and find the same interests or hobbies are great ways to connect with people. Great ways to show warmth. And it is one of the skills I master with time. They liked me.
After we hang out for a couple of hours, we decided to go to a club. And it was nerve-wracking. Instead of going straight to a club, we went out to eat first. After that, we had to come to my place to leave some bags. So after 500000 hours, we were finally ready to go. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this dude forgets to take some money from the bank, another forgets her purse at my place. I was at my limit.
I was upset. And showed anger, some kind of strength. The others noticed my anger. Unsatisfied, I went home, because, in addition, we could not get in one club because some boys had short pants.
After my angry words, I thought, ok this is it. Bye new people. It turns out everyone understands my anger and, in addition, respects me even more. Also, one dude tries to be a best friend to me.
Summary – be feared or be loved
As the golden rule of finding the golden middle way, this rule also counts for the answer to the question to be feared or to be loved. You choose both, you display both. When I only showed my care and warmth, I would not be respected as a man. If I only showed strength, I would be judged as a jerk. Opposite, if a woman would be at my place, showing only
It is never a good idea to dedicate yourself to one of these traits. You want to be respected and loved at the same time as a manager, as a friend, as a partner, as a family member, or otherwise.
Of course, everyone has different cards to deal with, your gender, age, or race. So, in the next post, we will discuss how you show both, strength and warmth as a woman or a man you are dealing with.
I hope I made clear the danger of dedicating yourself to either strength and warmth. Instead, displaying both traits will bring you much farther than you can ever imagine.
I hoped you learned something,