The classic movie The Wizard of Oz brings to life the famous Flying Monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West. These strange beasts do the bidding of the evil witch as they are sent out to capture victims and bring them back to the witch’s dungeon. Many a child’s nightmare has resulted from the scary scene in the movie where the flying monkeys snatch up innocent, terrified Dorothy and whisk her away. It’s a scene that evokes despair and fear. How can Dorothy escape the clutches of this evil?
I recently saw a bumper sticker that read, “Don’t make me call out my Flying Monkeys!” At first it seemed funny, as images of the movie scene flashed through my mind and I thought of the extreme nature of the monkeys’ mission. However, upon reflection, I realized the saying could very well communicate this message: Don’t cross me, or you’ll be sorry. Although humorous at first, unfortunately the meaning is all too true for some. Have you known a leader who is harsh, unreasonable, and can make life miserable for followers?
Flying Monkeys: Fear Based Leadership
Controlling others through fear and intimidation never develops productive results—only reluctant compliance. In this scenario, followers do the minimum to get by and don’t display much loyalty, if any, to the company. If you find yourself agreeing with the bumper sticker, take time to consider your leadership style. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.” If you work for any leader who you know has Flying Monkeys to call out—consider your role as employee, follower, and possibly friend. When it is possible, go to your leader with an attitude of helpful service and talk about it. If you find yourself in a situation that simply won’t change, and you are constantly stressed, it may be time to move on.
Flying Monkeys: Is That You?
Finally, be careful! Do not be deceived into thinking that control, fear and intimidation are acceptable as long as you are not the target. The longer you are a bystander to this behavior, the more likely it is that you—yes, you—may become one of the dreaded Flying Monkeys.
About the Author
Dr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops. Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.