Leadership — fear of losing safety


After watching this article, I made a summarization and wrote down my reflection and thoughts. I hope this material can help you explore deeper into this topic. And, if you have any ideas, please feel free to contact me or give me some comments. :)


What happens in Xinjiang is shocking, tragic, and inhuman. Almost every Uyghur has to experience the camps, which China’s government calls “vocational education and training centers”, to receive China’s indoctrination. What the government is doing is using the words and phrases that can beautify their real motivation as “helping backward people gain marketable skills.” Those Uyghurs are forced to put their faith in “Xi Jinping Thought” rather than the Quran.

What is worse is that the camps are only part of a vast system of social control. Uyghur women who have too many children will be sterilized; Uyghurs who claim the existence of God will be beaten by officials; and cadres of Party members will stay at Uyghurs’ homes to supervise whether or not they speak their native language, a policy known as “becoming kin”.

Under this vast system of social control, no terrorist incidents have occurred since 2017. China’s ruling party claims that they have made Xinjiang “safe again”, no one needs to worry about a terror attack and any turmoil anymore. That is a way of describing the situation. Another way is that the government has turned Xinjiang into a huge prison.

The treatment of Uyghurs is obviously against human rights. However, most Chinese citizens do back their government. Because in China, any objection to Communism seems to be unpatriotic — a fear of losing safety.

Strong and abusive rulers often use the mentality of fear of losing safety to control their people. India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, gets the highest approval rating among all big countries’ leaders by treating India’s Muslims as if they were inferior people; and Brazil’s president also claims that his foreign critics want to colonize the Amazon to panic his citizens.

Behaviors against human rights are infiltrating the world. And China is growing stronger and stronger. But human rights are universal. Governments, like America, should act, providing asylum for Uyghurs or banning goods from abusive leaders. Western countries have lost a significant amount of influence on human rights violations in other countries. If they fail to stand up for Democratic values one more time, they should not be surprised when other countries do not respect them.

My reflections and thoughts

After reading this article, it made me think of a blog post I wrote , which talks about leadership. In that post, I stated that to be a good leader, it is necessary to provide a feeling of safety for his employees and citizens. And this statement has Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and some real-life examples as support.

However, as I read through this article, an idea came to my mind — can what China’s government is doing, exploiting the fear of losing safety, be called a type of good leadership? Because, as we can observe, this leadership style is useful to some degree and even quite powerful.

It is dangerous to say that exploiting the fear of losing safety might be a good leadership style. Since most people in Taiwan and other western countries identify that leading by exploiting the fear of losing safety as bad and intolerable. But if we think one step more, this leadership style can help leaders make their citizens do what leaders expect, which is the target that all leaders want to achieve.

So, is this leadership style really bad? Why do we believe that the leadership style exploiting fear is bad and the leadership style providing safety is good? Why are there so many people claiming that we should be opposed to the countries that take advantage of fear? These two leadership styles can achieve the same goal. If we prefer one of them, there must be some reasons. Therefore, I hope that I can provide some insights into the differences between these two types of leadership in this article.

Leaders who exploit fear

For leaders who take advantage of the fear of losing safety, like China’s government, the power owned by them is very strong and the efficiency of this leadership can also be superb. Therefore, those leaders can make their people do what they expect and meet their standards. Because if their people do not obey the rules or the demands, they will face trouble and be unsafe.

However, the real world is more complex. Ideally, we can assuredly imagine that all people under this leadership style follow the rules since no one wants to suffer. But in reality, many more unexpected results could happen.

Problems of this leadership style

Under this autocratic leadership style, no one wants to suffer for being unable to meet the requirements of their leader. Therefore, people naturally tend to cheat and deceive their leaders and others to avoid any penalty, if they cannot meet their leader’s requirements. The most serious example we witness is the outbreak of the coronavirus — due to a series of deliberate negligent actions and deceptions — which has resulted in making the whole world unable to withstand its impact.

Therefore, cheating and deception are serious problems in this leadership style.

Moreover, we all know that more conversation and more freedom within groups can always facilitate more innovation and cooperation. No one will deny the importance of innovation and cooperation inside a group. However, under this leadership style, people do not enjoy the freedom to communicate with others as they want and hold the ability to innovate. Lack of innovation and cooperation would make a company or a government stagnate and decay.

As a result, apart from deception, the lack of communication and freedom can also cause huge harm to this leadership style in the long run.

Leaders who provide safety

Leaders who provide safety to their people can be largely exempted from the problems I mentioned above, including deception and the facilitation of innovation. People who are led by a leader who provides safety do have more loyalty and — I believe — happiness in their hearts. More importantly, they do not need to worry about punishment for the only reason being that they do not meet their leader’s goal or raise doubts about their leader.

But, on the other hand, leaders who lead their team with safety provided would not be perceived as strong, powerful, and forceful as those leaders who exploit fear. Therefore, in most cases, when we are talking about efficiency, leaders who provide safety may not come in first.

It is true; however, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

Because efficiency is good if and only if our direction is correct. With efficiency, it means that we can move towards the goal quickly. However, our goals and directions aren’t usually correct. We are living in a non-linear world and there are many uncertainties. Only pursuing efficiency and sacrificing others can sometimes be troublesome.

When we have a breakthrough in technology, we need to reflect: “is it a good thing deserving celebration?” The invention of the atomic bomb helped The Allies defeat the Axis in World War II, then, was it a good thing? Remember! It took life from millions of people. If we put it in this way, should the scientists who invented the atomic bomb be blamed or not? Those are the questions we need to consider after every step we move. The invention of air conditioners gave all humans a more comfortable world to live in; but, was it a good thing? It also pushed global warming a little bit at the same time!

Only under leaders who provide safety, we can have the freedom to communicate; we can have the ability to raise doubts; we can acquire the power to reflect and tweak our directions.

We should empathize with the importance of having the freedom to reflect again and again. Because for leaders, especially for those big nations’ leaders, if no one dares to oppose or reflect the decisions of those leaders, it can potentially be destruction for all human beings.

Global warming, nuclear weapons, the coronavirus, and biochemical weapons… we have seen too many of these. Only under leaders who provide safety instead of exploiting fear, can we have the power of preventing the next tragedy from happening. Therefore, we can protect ourselves, humans.

Originally published at https://www.juliansweb.com on December 9, 2020.





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