The report into civil servants’ complaints about Dominic Raab’s management style seems to have been boiled down into two questions, both of which miss the point.

The first is whether ministers have a right to be robust with departmental staff, especially when they perceive work to be substandard. The second is whether factions of the civil service are conspiring to undermine the government’s policy agenda.

As a former senior police leader, I would defend to the hilt the right for any manager to be robust with poorly performing staff and to demand they deliver what their organisation expects.

That’s how leadership works and the world goes round.

The bigger issue Adam Tolley KC’s report to the Prime Minister actually speaks to is what reasonable and appropriate behaviour should look like in pursuit of those aims.

When Jacinda Ardern stepped down as New Zealand’s prime minister she gave an important message on leadership: “I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused...” Ms Ardern’s words chime loud that positive management and respect are not mutually exclusive.

Over my police service I encountered many styles from the outwardly rude and bullying to people pleasing. Neither, in my experience were effective.

I still encounter people who rage that their manager “lets XXX get away with murder” or that “my boss is too scared to deal with XXX, so what’s the point in any of us trying”.

Conversely, I meet people too scared to present contrary arguments to their boss, suggest new ways of doing things or challenge attitudes or behaviour.

Such extremes do nothing for organisational growth nor staff confidence.

From TV programmes such as SAS – Who Dares Wins we could be forgiven for believing that the military’s leadership style is aggressive and punitive.

Indeed when the chips are down we need our service personnel to respond and react to threats in a decisive, unquestioning way.

However, Neil Jurd OBE, a leadership expert and former lieutenant colonel and deputy president of the Army Officer Selection Board, shines a very different light on leadership.

He talks of building a sense of safety so teams can speak openly and confidently, leading to a relationship where they feel inspired and motivated to deliver.

A fundamental element of this is really getting to know the people you work with. No doubt everyone who raised concerns about the former deputy prime minister was appointed not just because of what they knew, their qualifications and experience but how they come across and the qualities they bring. They are not machines, they are human beings and like all human beings they tick in different ways.

The very worst place to understand your people is in a highly charged meeting room where, as Mr Tolley KC reports, the person in charge “will focus on the points of interest to him”.

That’s his right of course but if that is accompanied by table banging and talk to the hand gestures, then he will never uncover the deeper value his carefully selected staff might bring.

Neil Jurd offers some tips on how to connect with one’s team which include showing you have time for people, being yourself rather than hiding behind status, asking people about themselves, listening and being consistent with your expectations.

In front-line politics where the demands of the press, public and opposition pile up from hour one, day one it must be hard to do what most of us would like and “get to know the team”.

Mr Raab may have tried this, in which case good on him.

But if not, given the long hours we know ministers work surely there was time to use some of those to connect on a personal level rather than see people just through what they produce then getting angry when they fall short.

If we treat people with respect, enable them to be open and honest and forgive shortcomings, that’s not the opposite of being demanding or dealing with inadequacies.

It’s being adult, recognising what everyone brings to the party and harnessing their individual and collective strengths.

Creating willing followers trumps leading through fear every time and the results it produces can be astonishing.

l Former Brighton and Hove police chief Graham Bartlett writes the Brighton based Jo Howe crime novels.