June 2015 - Leaders vs. Dictators
- Comparison between leaders and dictators
- Some suggestions for more Leadership and less
- Leadership Quiz
- Resources (links, books, articles, the
2015 - Leaders vs. Dictators
The United States was founded by
people who were fed up with being told what to do, when to do it and how to do
it. They left their homelands and set out for an unknown wilderness in
order to build a new life and, once there, they created a new form of
Democracy is based on a principle
that people should have input to decisions that affect their lives. It
sets expectations for leadership behavior. As we all know, democracy is
not a perfect model because people and leaders are not perfect.
The theory of democracy
works. In practice, it takes work for democratic leadership to be
effective. And, the results are far more lasting than the dictator model.
Dictators eventually get deposed, often in a violent manner when people have had
Most people today are far more
educated and aware than the ancient serfs who needed a king or lord or dictator to tell
them what to do. Treating people with respect for their abilities and
using those for the collective good is a much stronger model than giving orders
to people who canít think for themselves.
One of the mistakes many business
leaders make is that they forget that people in the United States expect
democracy to be the model for many business decisions, not just government
decisions. When they donít
see that at work in business, they become suspicious of a leaderís motives
instead of paying attention to what is being asked of them.
There is a good TED talk on
"How great leaders inspire action" by Simon Sinek at http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en.
He dwells on the question of "Why" people want to follow a leader not
"What" is being offered.
Another big mistake that many
business leaders make is that they forget that the people they expect to follow
their decisions usually have little insight into how or why decisions were
made. When people donít understand what is behind a decision, they have
no motivation to follow it or they follow it with resentment; therefore, they
are not completely committed to the results. They are only doing it
because they were told to do, not because they believed it was the right thing
with consideration for the people who are affected by their decisions.
||Tell people what
to do without regard for what the people care about.
reasons for making decisions and ask for peopleís commitment to their
||Expect people to
follow orders without question.
|Watch for and are
sensitive to signs that people donít understand what is expected of
||Punish people who
donít do exactly what they were told to do.
to share feedback about processes, procedures, products, services and decisions.
position with more orders. Feedback is not appreciated and may be
|Listen to feedback
and make adjustments as needed.
||Seek to maintain
control of the rightness of their position at all times.
|Seek to be trusted
||Seek to be feared.
|Always looking for
those better than they are who they can learn from.
||Afraid of anyone
stronger or better than they are.
Before announcing a change in process or
procedures, take a few minutes to put yourself in the place of those who will
be receiving the decision.
Will they understand your motivation, why you
are making a change and how you came to the decision? If not, what can
you do to explain why you feel this is a good decision and ask for their
cooperation, instead of just giving orders.
Ask for feedback from people who will be
affected by a decision with questions such as: We want to accomplish xxxx and
we think xxxx is the way to do it. Can you think of a better way we
could accomplish that?
Do you have a broad range of advisors that you
can draw upon for input before making major changes? These people can
give you valuable insights before you make a decision that turns out less
successfully than if you had seen different ways to approach it.
Do you have a good method for collecting
feedback from customers and employees about company processes,
procedures, products and services?
Do you regularly review suggestions and
implement those that make sense? Do you have input on those suggestions from
those who are responsible for areas affected and those who will be most
affected by any change?
Do you reward people who make suggestions that
contribute to the success of your business?
Have you ever made a decision that you thought was right and then wondered
why people didnít follow through on what you wanted?
Can you see why they might not have understood what was behind your
What can you do differently to have your decisions more fully
And/Or, what are you doing now that make your decisions more fully
implemented than in the past? Are you training your managers to use those
Books - Disclosure:
We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire
Everyone to Take Action. Simon Sinek. Portfolio, 2011. ISBN:
- The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps
to Maximize Your Potential. John C. Maxwell. Center Street,
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:
Follow Them and People Will Follow You. John C.
Maxwell. Thomas Nelson, 2007. ISBN:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal
Change. Stephen R. Covey. Simon & Schuster; New York
NY, 2013 ISBN:
- The Power Path: The Shaman's Way to Success in Business and Life.
Jose Stevens. New World Library, 2002. ISBN: 1577312171
- Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull
Together and Others Donít. Simon Sinek. Portfolio, 2014. ISBN:
- The Knight in Rusty Armor, Robert Fisher. Wilshire Book Co; (May 1989)
- The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations,
James Kouzes, Barry Posner. Jossey-Bass, 2012 ISBN:
- Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck. Michael
Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor. Lulu.com,
978-0-557-00377-8. Website: www.income-without-a-job.com.
Tap into your own creativity and use your full potential. Learn
how to see opportunities that others miss.
Related newsletter articles:
November 2001 Ė The Essence of Leadership
March 2003 - Management /
Leadership Styles (updated)
April 2003 - Management /
Leadership Styles (updated) - continued
October 1996 - Management Styles
November 1996 - Management vs.
October 2005 - One Thing: Great
Management and Leadership
February 2002 - Mastering People
September 2001 - 9 Fun Things to do
in Developing Your Leadership
The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship, you don't have to waste your time voting.
... Charles Bukowski
The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy; the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.
... Niels Bohr
I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin."
The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint.
It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those, we see its final result.
It is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.
Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business
concern. ... [From the Preface] C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
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