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Does Your Leadership Team Lead or Dictate?

As a CEO or COO, you're in a unique position where you need to understand the dynamics of leadership. Every member of your leadership team plays a pivotal role in driving your business forward, but do they lead or dictate? It's important to recognise the difference because one style can motivate your employees, while the other can demotivate them. The good news is that it's not hard to recognise the difference between leading and dictating. Here's how you can tell.

Leading vs. Dictating

Leading is all about setting a direction and getting people to follow willingly. It's about inspiring them to do their best work and giving them the space to come up with innovative ideas. Leading requires empathy, communication, and trust. On the other hand, dictating is about giving orders and expecting people to carry them out without question. It's about strict control and micro-management. When employees are dictated, they lose their autonomy, and their creativity is stifled.

Qualities of a Leader

Leaders are curious, open-minded, and approachable. They welcome feedback, mentorship, and coaching. They know that they don't have all the answers, and they're not afraid to ask for help. Leaders are also collaborative and inclusive. They value diversity and know that the best ideas come from a team effort. They delegate effectively and trust their team to get the job done. Leaders prioritise their team's well-being and happiness because they know that a satisfied employee is a productive one.

Qualities of a Dictator

Dictators, on the other hand, are controlling, egotistic, and inflexible. They think they have all the answers and don't welcome feedback. They don't want to collaborate or delegate because they think they won't get the credit they deserve. Dictators place their ambition above the well-being of their team. They often create a toxic work environment where employees feel undervalued and unmotivated. Dictators don't encourage autonomy or innovation because they don't trust their team to do the job.

How to Recognise the Style

To recognise whether your leadership team is leading or dictating, you need to observe their behaviour. Are they approachable? Do they encourage and welcome feedback? Do they prioritise the well-being of their team? Or are they controlling, inflexible and egotistic? Do they micromanage their employees? Do they belittle their efforts and ideas?

How to Foster a Culture of Leadership

If you recognise that your leadership team is dictating, don't despair. It's not too late to change. Start by having a conversation with them and make it clear that you want to foster a culture of leadership. Encourage them to be more collaborative, to delegate more, and to trust their team. Empower them to give their team the freedom to come up with creative solutions. Lead by example and show them that being a leader is about serving your team, not just ordering them around.

Leadership is not about power, control, or egotism. It's about inspiring and empowering your team to do their best work. A leader leads by example, not by decree. If you recognise that your leadership team is dictating, you need to act fast to change the status quo. Encourage your team to be more collaborative, delegate more, and empower them to come up with creative solutions. By fostering a culture of leadership, you can create a workplace where your employees thrive, and your business succeeds.

Unsure whether leadership is the greatest challenge? Not sure where to start? AgileXperts Management Twin and Diagnostic Mentoring can provide clarity on where friction points exist – read more about how we can help you enable your leaders and teams to perform at their peak in Unlocking the Power of Digital Twins: Modelling Organisational Culture and Leadership. Or better yet, contact us to find out more.


Businesses can email or call 1300 287 213 for free first-step advice on how to improve culture, optimise business processes and become an Agile organisation. Follow us on LinkedIn or sign up here to receive our articles direct to your email inbox.


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