Build Individual and Organisational Resilience

In this Hot Topic, we explore the characteristics, outcomes, and potential effects of a coercive leadership style. We will shed light on how to bounce back from adversity by building resilience within yourself and your organisation.

November 2022

The coercive leader: Leaders to be loved or tyrants to be feared?

By demanding absolute compliance with their orders, coercive leaders are often able to overcome obstacles and get results even when facing the most upending challenges – but at what price? Research suggests that a coercive leadership style has a negative impact on the overall work climate, demotivates employees and should only be used rarely.

What can you do then to secure results in spite of setbacks and unexpected barriers? Is there a choice but to behave destructively?

Research: Resisting the call of the coercive leader

Assigning blame, victimising, and crossing the line in order to get results are all-too-human tendencies, which can easily escalate and lead to destructive behaviours. If you are experiencing a deep crisis or significant disruption, how far are you willing to go in order to get immediate results? How can you resist the call of the coercive leader?

Each leadership style – Authoritative, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting, and Coercive – has a different impact on the emotions of the people that you are leading and works best in different situations, resonating differently with your team and producing different results.

Of all the leadership styles, it is not difficult to see why a coercive approach might be the least effective. But even with all the advice and warnings on its negative side effects, coercive power is still used by organisations in order to either (1) win at all costs or (2) survive amidst the fast-changing dynamics of 21st century business environment.

Building Individual and Organisational Resilience

In case of an actual emergency, takeover, or unexpected crisis, the best way to go is to avoid a destructive behaviour and instead develop psychological and organisational resilience. Extensive research confirms that resilience is a key strategic asset within organisations which can help counter adversity. Resilience is defined as the capability of an organisation to adapt positively from the unexpected by responding well to crises and even taking advantage of the negative experience to learn and turn it into a productive one.

A recent study uncovered four key areas that contribute to establishing organisational resilience:

Referenced techniques



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