The thesis of leadership has been a matter of scholar and philosophical interest since the time of Socrates and Plato. For many years people speak, discuss, read and think about the qualities of leaders and their journey in their life. From Alexander the Great to Napoleon Bonaparte and Hitler to Donald Trump, each is a leader in their own rights. However, there is a thin line of difference between a leader and a tyrant. In “The Republic,” Plato professed that desire for freedom often leads to tyranny, and strong leaders eventually turn into demagogic autocrats. Some of the strongest and charismatic leaders transformed themselves into a dictator over time. Robert Mugabe, the former President of Zimbabwe, is the perfect example of a leader-turned-tyrant. To quote Joseph Campbell, “The hero of yesterday becomes the tyrant of tomorrow unless he crucifies himself today.” There have been already written a lot of informative essays on the topic of leadership, which describe various theories about the qualities of a good leader, an interesting resource for this is https://phdessay.com/free-essays-on/leadership/, and it is worth noting that no matter how the world around us changes, the portrait of a true leader unaltered for centuries.
What makes an effective leader?
Leadership is more than just giving orders and getting things done through subordination. It is more about influencing their behavior and guiding their actions to achieve the goals of the organization. Leadership is fundamentally different from management. That’s why it is said that “all leaders can be managers, but not all managers can be leaders.” Here are some of the qualities of an effective leader:
1. Leading By Example
Good leaders set the bar high for the team by setting even higher standards of performance for oneself. Such leaders can naturally influence their followers with their confidence and charisma.
2. Decision making
Influential leaders are well-informed and aware of their environment. The ability to make the right decisions in difficult situations and the guts to take responsibility for the consequences sets them apart.
3. Helping others grow
Good leaders focus on team building and helping others grow. Instead of merely giving orders, they motivate and inspire followers to achieve their full potential.
4. Visionary and Risk-Taking
Prominent leaders never lose sight of their goals, even in the face of serious obstacles and challenges. They can adapt to changes and take risks with the bigger picture in mind.
How does leadership turn into a tyranny?
To ensure better team performance, leadership should focus on helping, mentoring, and rewarding the employees. However, the person leading the group can quickly descend from leadership to a banal tyranny of orders, coercion, and punishment, striving to maximize the effectiveness of work in the simplest way possible.
1. Desire to control
Leadership is all about power. Sooner or later, the desire to concentrate power to oneself and control the subordinates can transform the leadership into tyranny.
2. Divide and Rule
This develops from the desire to control. People are much easier to control when they are individuals rather than a group. It can be realized when informal channels of communication are restricted in the organization.
3. Desire to be perfect
When the leaders are obsessed with perfection, they demand utmost obedience from their subordinates. Before they know it, once a liberal working place turns into a concentration camp. It will negatively affect the efficiency of the team.
Leadership is all about power and influence, and when there is power, as Lord Acton put it precisely: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Empathizing with your employees can help to understand the situation correctly. Sometimes, tyrant leadership may be the need of time, but we have to distinguish between professional and unprofessional behavior of the leader. Good leaders must be kind, reasonable, and flexible, but they can sometimes be harsh and formidable. The key is to move the team in the right direction, neither too violently nor too indifferently. Effective leadership is the balance between these two extremes.