LEADER OR DICTATOR? Positive or Negative Signs That Indicate Who You Are

“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.”

  1. PRESENT:  You are always available. You are attentive, listen, clarify, and offer feedback.  Observant.
  2. PURPOSE:  You are self-aware, understand who or what you are responsible for.  You have goals and monitor them. Motivated.
  3. COMMUNICATE:  You tell people they matter, you’re in it together, together anything is possible by creating dialogue that is collaborative.  Connect.
  4. INSPIRE:   You foster unique contributions, involve everyone, recognize those contributions, and engage spirit and pride.  Stimulate.
  5. AVAILABLE:  You create futures, are supportive to others’ needs, responsive to everyone, understand balance.  Accessible.
  6. DEMONSTRATE:  You show people by setting the bar high through your own behaviour, values and strong ethics.  Fair.
  7. DECISIVE:  You factor in multiple viewpoints, articulate purpose, are conclusive in resolving issues, intelligent and immediate.  Proactive. 
  8. ALERT:  You focus those involved, are open-minded, and adept at recognizing new opportunities or talent.  Attentive.
  9. PARTICIPATE:  You ask, you listen, you do your own dirty work, show spirit, enthusiasm and jump in.  Involved.
  10. REFLECTIVE:  You evaluate yourself first.  You create an environment that is healthy, honest and ethical.  Open. 
  11. RECOGNIZE:  You recognize others long before acknowledge your own contributions, publicly identify others' participation/expertise, promote effective performance, and share the wealth.  People are you most valuable asset.  You know people by names.  Empowerment.
  12. INTELLIGENT:  You are smart, you surround yourself with intellectual, tactical, emotionally stable, productive experts.  You draw out the best in those around you.  Life long learning is an unconscious habit.  Skilled.

  1. TITLE:  Matters.  You’ve slugged it out to get where you are, that means you’re at the top.  You tend to refer to my staff, my subordinates, my employees instead of “our team” or identifying people by names.  Entitlement. 
  2. INFLUENCE:  You don’t ask, you tell.  You thrive when you feel powerful, have people do your bidding.  Your profits, boss or shareholders opinions are your encouragement.  Reactive.
  3. ABSENT:  You filter information within your inner circle rather than front lines, read reports instead of ask questions; high in your fortress, the general population rarely hears from you.  Departments represent profits or losses.  Self-important.
  4. COMMUNICATE:  You speak through directives, behind memos, e-mails or your management team; any interaction is one-sided and doesn’t invite feedback.  Criticize.
  5. DECISIVE:  You are quick to make a decision without outside input, rarely consider others’ ideas, decide based on how it affects you rather than how it impacts other.  Faltering.
  6. PARTICIPATE:  In forecasting, tasks, financials, performance, results before interactive human contact.  Avoidance.
  7. ALERT:  You know who signs your pay cheque instead of those who make it; you ignore or are distant towards subordinates; quick to lay blame on others.  Judgemental.
  8. INTIMIDATE:  You invoke fear.  Make threats, cloaked or otherwise.   Demote rather than promote.  Rarely smile or show humor (unless your boss is around).  You fire people and brag about it.  Condescending.
  9. RECOGNIZE:  You rarely promote others, slow to acknowledge contributors,  take credit for ideas.  Money, prestige, results fuel your engine.  Ego.
  10. INTELLIGENT:  You tell or show people what you do to boost your own ego, elevate your confidence.  Political.  
  11. DEMOTIVATE:  You rarely get involved in HR issues, focus on the negative, don’t collaborate, cancel social functions or fire people quickly when results aren't being met.  Blame.
  12. TURNOVER:  Your people are either fired or leaving due to feeling undervalued, underpaid, overworked or overwhelmed.   This weighs heavily on resources.  Churn. 

Current research shows only 20-30 percent of people holding management positions are skilled managers.  That would indicate that there are more bad managers than leaders.  However, I suggest that there are far more weak leaders than managers.   After all, the leaders are responsible for who is in management in the first place, allow them to continue and neglect coaching or training.  There are 20 times more books on how to build revenue than there are to build leaders.

Fortunate are those who witness both strong leadership and experience negative dictatorships.   They learn from both.  The onus then lies on themself to decide which one they will be.

An article from July 2011 (found post-POST) on HBR titled Why  Fair Bosses Fall Behind http://hbr.org/2011/07/why-fair-bosses-fall-behind/ar/2 would indicate that "Fair Bosses" or whom I deem a "Leader" gain respect and "Assertive Bosses" (Dictators) convey power.  It goes on to say "Managers see respect and power as two mutually exclusive avenues to influence, and many choose the latter."

Additional food for thought.  Reading Steve Jobs, A Biography  by Walter Isaacson http://www.amazon.ca/dp/1451648537/?tag=c---20 would strongly suggest that Steve Jobs was the ultimate Dictator:  Ego, intimidation, adopting ideas of others as his own, etc. further encouraging the notion that Dictators are more powerful.   

Whereas, in Jim Collins best seller Good to Great it provides ample case studies of organizations with a "Leader" tend to survive the long run, attributed to leaders who surround themselves with the right people on the bus for an enduring company.  

The jury may be out for a while.  Apple, without Steve Jobs, may end up in the same category as Lee Iococa, for example, whereby a company's success is directly attributed to their influence. 

You decide.

“Clever people will recognize & tolerate nothing but cleverness.”
~Henri Frederic Amiel