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An Important Leadership Skill for Workplace Success

business entrepreneurship leadership mindset productivity Apr 28, 2021
As a business owner, you get to do it your own way. You get to make the decision. That’s the joy and the pain of being the owner.

There is a great debate amongst business people as to which leadership style is the “best” leadership style.

A quick search on “which leadership style should I use” will produce literally millions of results covering hundreds of different types of leadership.

So it’s not easy to answer the question of which leadership style an entrepreneur should use, but I want to share with you a style that seems to work really well for many of my clients: "The Benevolent Dictator."

While the name sounds a little strong, this leadership style is actually quite sensitive to the needs of both the entrepreneur and his or her employees. 

A leader using a Benevolent Dictator style has made the strong determination that “the buck stops here” and that he or she is fundamentally responsible for both the success and/or failure of the enterprise.

While the leader will solicit the opinions and advice of their employees, and will in fact consider it, the leader will make the final decision alone.


Why the Benevolent Dictator style of leadership works so well:  


  • This style allows the leader to utilize both intuition and reasoning together.  Because the leader will be ultimately responsible for 100 percent of the decision, he or she is more apt to consider all sides of a decision instead of relying simply on consensus to drive decision-making. This creates a much stronger, and much more defensible position for the leader.  


  • Benevolent Dictatorship places the responsibility for making a decision squarely on the shoulders of the leader. As an entrepreneur, the leader has nearly all of the risk as well as most of the reward. This style allows the leader to flexibly make decisions that he or she believes are best for the organization and to reap both the spoils and the rewards of those decisions.  


  • A Benevolent Dictator leads by actively soliciting information and opinions from team members and others—listens, then demonstrates the leadership, courage, and boldness to personally make the right decision, and stands accountable for that decision.


  • A benevolent dictator also holds his or her subordinates accountable for their decisions and they, in turn, hold their subordinates accountable for their decisions, and so on. In other words, everyone is encouraged and expected to make the decisions that affect their own domain of responsibility. 


You might be asking about now, “If the benevolent dictator concept is so effective, then why don’t more leaders adopt this style of leading?”

Two big reasons: The first reason is that in the free world many of us shy away from any association with the word “dictator.” Even with the adjective, “benevolent” added we still feel uneasy. The other big reason is that to be a benevolent dictator means we have to make decisions that will, at times, be unpopular.

Many of us have a hard time making decisions that are criticized by others. In fact, the primary reason why project managers fail is that they are too soft and have difficulty making the tougher decisions

If you want a business where decisions are made based on what’s best for the business, and you want your employees to consistently take accountability for their own actions, then teach and encourage the powerful Benevolent Dictator concept. 


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