Overview: Intelligent, self-aware leaders understand the pitfalls of authoritarian leadership and how power corrupts immature, mentally feeble leaders. Poor leaders seek to impose their wills on others; good leaders sell ideas and strategies while empowering, engaging, and rallying employees.
Leadership is about getting others to help you achieve your goals because they want to help you. Coercing others into helping you is not leadership. Such an exercise in authoritarianism never ends well.
Intelligent leaders don’t impose their wills on followers. Instead, they sell ideas and strategies and invite them to buy into them through arguments, inspiration, and empowerment.
In the context of modern, intelligent leadership, authoritarianism emerges as a consequence of incompetence, inexperience, and immaturity. Leadership coaching can help patch up these gaps, allowing leaders to begin using their powers for the benefits of their employees and organizations.
Leaders tend to rely on authoritarianism when it’s the only tool in their arsenals. As leadership coaching hands them more effective tools while pointing out the pitfalls of power abuse, they will hopefully abandon their old ways and embrace intelligent leadership.
The Pitfalls of Authoritarianism
Power-abusing leaders add nothing positive to employee experiences or organizational cultures. Instead, they spread toxicity, disengagement, and helplessness.
By poisoning the cultures of their organizations, such leaders hamstring their personal and professional development as well.
Authoritarian leadership begets a culture of fear where employees don’t invest themselves in anything other than what they need to ensure their survival. Often, even survival stops being a priority as employees pack up and leave for greener pastures.
Self-awareness is incompatible with abusive leadership. Leaders capable of self-reflection understand autocratic leadership is reactionary and based on subjective decisions, poor impulse control, and problems handling frustration.
How Great Leaders Use Their Powers
Intelligent leaders see the power they wield in their positions as a tool to improve lives, help careers, and reach goals. They see power as an opportunity to rally others behind certain causes and they use this power accordingly.
Here’s how intelligent leaders sell ideas and strategies to followers instead of imposing their wills on them.
Making Tough Decisions
Intelligent leaders value the input of peers and reports, but they’re also capable of critical thinking. They analyze the data at their disposal with a cold head and make optimal decisions, even if these decisions may be unpopular.
Such leaders accept responsibility for the calls they make and are upfront about the consequences of their decisions.
Understanding the Nature of Power
For immature leaders not versed in the subtle psychology of leadership, power can be exhilarating. Being able to dictate what others should do is a power trip for many feeble-minded leaders.
Good leaders understand the nominal power they have as a consequence of their positions is an opportunity. The true source of leadership power is in the trust, respect, and admiration of followers. They can’t demand any of those variables; they must earn them.
Thus, it’s logical that the best use of their nominal power is to set the foundations of their real leadership power by creating vibrant and empowering organizational cultures while building trust and rapport with peers. Executive coaching can help leaders discover ways of accomplishing these objectives.
Sharing the Power
Talented, powerful, and productive teams are made up of idea-generating individuals willing to take initiatives when they’re given opportunities. Poor leaders often see such team members as threats and work to eliminate them. They then diminish the values of their teams and slam doors shut on any further initiatives by team members.
Intelligent leaders know that by sharing power with talented individuals, they don’t sabotage their leadership. Instead, they boost it. They understand their limitations and know they need others to help if they want to accomplish goals.
Great leaders have a keen eye for potential and value their top employees as future leaders.
Leadership is not about blindly executing the vision of a person. It’s about empowerment, motivation, trust, respect, and the promises of brighter futures.