Leading in a way that is inclusive, effective and expansive – what I call a Leader’s Mindset – doesn’t just happen. It must be consciously embodied. It must be chosen. And this choice needs to happen again and again.
The environments we work in pull for us to be in a certain way. For example, when we are in a pressured environment of deadlines and seemingly high stakes, we show up differently to when we are at an offsite. When we are at meeting with our superiors, we may behave differently to when we are instructing the people who report to us.
No matter the situation, with the pace of life we mostly default to an unexamined style of leading. In my new white paper The Leaders Mindset, I write about 3 common mindset default leadership styles: Dictator, Victim and Delayer.
For today’s newsletter, let’s look at the Dictator mindset.
When under pressure and with deadlines looming – when stuff just needs to get done – Dictator rears its head. This is a way of leading that says “I know”. “Do it my way.” When you’re leading with this mindset, you don’t trust others to do the job the ‘right way’. Dictators fall into micromanaging. They are unilateral decision makers. People are silenced and become disengaged around a Dictator.
Lots of leaders in organisations default to Dictator under pressure. Dictator mindset is probably the most celebrated and aspired to leadership mindset. It’s the mindset the “greats” in business we are taught to admire have. You may not like it, but it seems to get the job done, right? Well, maybe.
Over time, Dictator is not as effective as we think. Dictator’s lead believing only they can do it, thus disabling the abilities of others around them. They don’t empower and develop the people around them. Without expanding the abilities of others, the talent pool remains small. Over time, the team gets very weary and less resilient, and it is exhausting for the Dictator as well.
Interestingly, I find the Dictator mindset not uncommon in people new to management. I’m not surprised because this is often the way we have been led ourselves, and it seems to be what leaders do! It’s important to develop more effective and empowering leadership models in new managers.
Leading with Dictator mindset is insufficient for dealing with the complexity and nuances we face today.
If you find yourself defaulting to a Dictator mindset, please grab a copy of my latest white paper The Leaders Mindset and read about how to default to Dictator less. You can also read up about the Victim and Delayer mindsets, and how to deliberately develop the Leaders Mindset.