Managing Groups and Teams/Dictatorship vs Leadership
The glory of a leader can be plagued and overshadowed by many concerns that can affect the team’s success. A leader must wear many hats and be able to lead and encourage a team to perform. It is necessary for a leader to become an engaged member of the team, but be able to lead at the same time. It is inevitable that different personalities, industries, and goals will force any leader to adapt and mold to fit the current environment. What is the best way to successfully encourage and lead a team? This is the million dollar question. Although each situation will present various opportunities and needs that a leader must meet, there will be some leadership styles that will impede the group each time.
What is the appropriate balance between being a dictator and being weak or a push over? A leader must be able to relate to the team and earn their respect and loyalty to the goal. This cannot be accomplished by being a dictator and micro managing the team and the members. A leader must manage and master the core competencies as illustrated in When Teams Work Best by LaFasto and Larson to be effective and respected. When a leader is a dictator it violates the concept of the leader being a part of the team. However, when a leader is not active or an integral link in the process then an unqualified leader evolves from the team pool, which creates dysfunction and chaos.
At one extreme of the leadership spectrum is dictatorship. When a leader is a dictator they feel better because they have control and power. Leaders that have a high desire for control will have a significant impact on the team. Team members can identify when a dictator emerges and at that point it is very difficult for the leader to break out of this defined mold. As a result, the members shut down because they feel their contribution and ideas are not valued. This hampers the team’s identity, confidence, openness, and supportiveness. The ideas and actions now become that of the leader rather than a unique collection of the team.
Conversely, the other end of the leadership spectrum involves being a push over or what can be interpreted as being disinterested or possessing little passion. When a designated leader expresses little desire or interest in the team goal then it is quite natural for an informal leader to emerge from the team. Consequently, the road toward the vision and goal becomes blocked with obstacles and the goal is more distant and foggy. Moreover, the members feel abandoned when the leader does not demonstrate a concern or responsibility in the decision. This forces the members to guess the leader’s perspective and ultimately they begin to question their ability to lead, which devalues their trust and confidence in their leader. The ideas and actions of the group become less creative and effective because the members don’t feel important.
Therefore, a leader must discover the appropriate balance and walk the fine line. An effective leader needs to provide direction and share their ideas while building the member’s confidence. It is much easier for a leader to argue and fight for their point of view when they haven’t transformed into a dictator. A leader should manage their control and exhibit their care and passion by sharing the control with the team. When the control and power is balanced and shared between the leader and the team issues such as what gets discussed and possible solutions and actions now become a collective effort. Resultantly, this type of relationship and arrangement leads to a high level of trust and satisfaction. And it is common knowledge that these are fundamental elements for a productive and happy team and group.