Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leadership by Intimidation

Much is written in our day concerning the matter of leadership. It is my belief that this plethora of books on leadership is a response to the hue and cry for leaders in our nation, our culture, our homes, our industries, and our churches. The current vacuum of leadership may well be the major cause of the many failures politically, organizationally, culturally and religiously in our day.

These many books present to us some very interesting models of leadership. One of the volumes on leadership I possess is titled, “Leadership Secrets of Atilla the Hun,” by Wess Roberts, Ph.D. I found this to be a very interesting read.

A leadership model that I have observed in practice might be called Leadership by Intimidation (my designation for this style of leadership). In this model the leader presents the direst of outcomes should the constituents fail to follow the direction of the leader. Often the leader espouses recognizable clichés to reinforce his/her position. If that fails they turn to invoking the name(s) of notable leaders of a previous generation or supposed super leaders of this generation as affirmation of their position. For the person following the model of Leadership by Intimidation, focus on the purpose or goal is primary, the consequence of his/her decisions to the organization or to his/her constituency is of small import. The mantra of the individual following the model of Leadership by Intimidation is often "the end justifies the means."

We have seen this model played out politically in the massive bailout bills that our politicians have adopted. Tragically, we even see it in our religious and church life. Many a pastoral failure has been experienced because a pastor followed this model. The people of God should not be exposed the kind of emotional and spiritual coercion that Leadership by Intimidation presents.

Where is the model of Jesus that simply says, “Come follow me?”

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

- Dwight David Eisenhower


Blogger Tom Bryant said...

This is true. Too many young preachers see a pastor lead in his church but think he just tells his people what to do. They don't see the early mornings besides a hospital bed or the time with a family in grief.

You can only push people for so long. After that they push back!

I'm glad you're blogging.

March 19, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

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