December 03, 2006

Leader or Dictator

Today’s Thoughts

Thin line between (strong) leader and dictator

First Impression: Strong leader and dictator both have clearly vision and skills of influence people, such as effective communication skill. But there are is a big difference from the feeling of the follows. Leader achieves shared goals with collaboration with followers, work together toward the success. But dictator set order to followers and achieve the “shared goals” by using followers. At the end followers will no longer feel benefits from it; the feeling of “work for” instead of “work with” will destroy the followers’ effort and finally end this leader-follower relationship.

Can this feeling to be used to separate strong leader and dictator? There are certainly many cases that a good leader make decisions that upset the follower, such as tell you to re-do your work or you have to leave the team. That leader surely hurt your feeling, and asks you doing something you don’t want to do. Is that making him a dictator?

One interest example is Paul’s experience, about the only two people he took out from his team in 21 years of military service. The way Paul handle this incident is quite different from my assumption (consider what military normally does :) Although these two guys are really a waste of space, but Paul did not get rid them as soon as the problem occurred. Instead, he still keep working with them until the very end, when there is no choice but remove them from the team.

It actually shown one clearly difference, the attitude. Good leader have an attitude that involve, patience, tolerance, comprehension, and all his/her decisions and actions are made clearly to followers, they know what the leader is doing and why do it, they understand leader made this decision under specified situation and with sufficient reasons. When in the situation such as remove people from the team, leader’s attitude shown clearly to all followers that “this is what I have to do, not wish to do”. Effective and efficient propagate/communicate will minimum the misleading information.

In a business situation, when manager set work for employees, so many manager just don’t want to take some time to think how to communicate with employees. Instead, they pick the easy way, “You do what I say,” it totally destroyed the employee??s motivation, environment of performance beyond expectation, enthusiasm of jobs.

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