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[personal profile] erratio
Firstly, I'd like to dedicate this post to my job for waking me up at 4:30am on a non-work day so that I had time to do some uni work and write this post. I appreciate it, really. Much more so than the two and a half hours of sleep I could have been getting instead.

Today I'd like to talk about leading, and to a lesser extent teaching. Any position where you have authority over other people I guess. There's so many reasons why people end up in these positions and so many people I've seen in leadership positions are quite frankly crap at their jobs. So here's the general trends I've noticed in people who end up in positions of authority. Most people seem to be a combination of two of the categories.

The Megalomaniac: This is the person who enjoys having the power for the sake of power. They're the ones who often hand out overly harsh punishments and then refuse to recant without extensive begging, or not at all. They're also the ones who seem to make arbitrary decisions for the sake of seeing their peons run to carry out their orders. The odd thing is, Megalomaniacs can often make good leaders despite their need to inflate their own egos. I think it's partly because at least their colossal arrogance stops others from challenging their authority too much. Also, provided that the arrogance is paired with intelligence everyone may hate the Megalomaniac but simultaneously need to concede that they do their job effectively.

Everyone's Friend: This person is the opposite of the Megalomaniac. They're in the position because they want to help other people. The most important factor to them isn't whether their orders get carried out or whether they're doing their job correctly but rather how much people approve of what they're doing. Basically, they're leading because they want to be liked. They tend to not be the best leaders because they care too much about what others will think, and leadership means having to make unpopular decisions some of the time and then having the ruthlessness to enforce them. They tend to be popular but not respected.

The Workaholic: For this person the job is everything. It's not about the power trip of ordering other people around or of being popular but about how the power of the position allows you to carry out your job more effectively. Their main strength is that they're not as driven by their emotions (be it the need to stroke your own ego, or the need to stroke everyone else's) as the Megalomaniac or Everyone's Friend. Their main weakness is that they tend to be fairly detached, seeing the people under them as tools to get the job done rather than as real people who need to be interacted with. They tend to be respected for their work ethic but not very popular.

The Visionary: This is the person who wants to lead because being on top means that you get to introduce new ideas rather than carry out other people's ideas. They tend to suffer from the same detachment as the Workaholic, seeing everyone else as either obstacles in their path to the future or tools to implement their ideas. However if their ideas are valuable and they remember to come back down to Earth once in a while they can also be immensely popular, since they tend to have the boundless energy and enthusiasm that comes with being an innovator. Of course, if their ideas aren't so great then they can be responsible for wasting huge amounts of everyone's time and energy.

The Accidental: This is the person who becomes a leader because there just isn't anyone else available for the job. Sometimes they end up in the position because they were the assistant whatsis when the head guy disappeared, sometimes they're an underling whose sense of responsibility won't let the helm go unfilled, and sometimes they're just the unpopular guy who everyone else voted in because they sure as heck didn't want the job. The Accidental usually feels overwhelmed by the demands of a job they never wanted, but soon enough they'll morph into one of the other types, albeit with a lingering sense of resentment for being forced into the position in the first place. Accidentals are often the worst leaders of all because at the end of the day they have the tailor-made excuse of "But I didn't ask for this!" to fall back on. Everyone else tends to give it their all because they deliberately put themselves into the position, but for the Accidental giving up if it gets too hard is always going to look like a tempting option, and who's going to blame them for it?


Regardless of the categories, the most effective leaders I've seen tend to be the ones with lots of personal charisma. Charisma makes the Megalomaniac charming/funny rather than authoritarian, it makes Everyone's Friend seem as if they know what they're doing even as they spend endless hours in private agonising over how to make people happy, and it gives the Workaholic and the Visionary that human touch they're otherwise missing.

I wish I had some witty coda to put here, some concluding statement to tie it all together, but really I don't. These are just my observations. Ooh wait there's always the question to the audience, isn't there? Which type(s) are you? +10 points to anyone who truthfully admits to being part Megalomaniac given my unflattering description of it :p

Date: 2007-04-05 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] doctorer.livejournal.com
I disagree with the sentiment that the accidental doesn't "give it his all" while everyone else does. I know for a fact that I'm an effective if autocratic leader, yet I am defined by my laziness.

Date: 2007-04-05 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erratio.livejournal.com
ha, I should add another category to leadership types, the Shikamaru. They're too lazy to volunteer for the job but if forced into it they do it well :p It's a subtype of the Accidental.

Date: 2007-04-05 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] doctorer.livejournal.com
Oh, and I couldn't be arsed giving this entry more than a skim read before putting that reply in, so I didn't see you awarding points for admissions. =P

Noting the probable flaws in your categorisation, I'll certainly admit that I'm more parts megalomaniac than not. Of course I regard it a vice, and would rather be seen as the sage whose words are few and precious.

Date: 2007-04-07 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mia-at-lj.livejournal.com
I have shades of meglomania, but I'm more the workaholic than anything else. Right down to the non-popularity.

Date: 2007-04-08 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] axl12.livejournal.com
I want to have a charisma

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