5 Ways a Tyrant Leader Keeps Their Authority - Ron Edmondson

Tyrant leader. Ever served under one?

I have worked for a few controlling leaders. The word “tyrant” in the title of this post means a cruel and oppressive leader. That may be a strong word, but I would almost place some of these within that definition.

One particular season like this was hard for me and even harder for my wife. She saw me coming home emotionally drained at the end of each day. In each setting, I finally decided life was too short and I moved on from there. 

Thankfully, those experiences in my career have only been for short periods of time. Looking back, as hard as they were, I learned a few things. We always do from those seasons. Cheryl and I have often agreed those seasons gave us a unique perspective. You can’t understand as well what you haven’t experienced. 

Consequently, I have talked to dozens of people who work for a tyrant leader. Sometimes the person simply couldn’t afford to quit, and so they were subjected to the tyranny for much longer than I have. Some of them have a tyrant leader as a board chair or member. Others it was a middle manager boss. Or the owner of a company. But the results were the same. These tyrant leaders make life miserable. 

One thing I have learned is tyrant leaders work hard to keep people under their authority. It is these actions which can make life so miserable.

5 ways a tyrant leader keeps their authority: 

Intimidation – Tyrant leaders make you feel like you’re in trouble all the time. You never measure up and you’re either worried about keeping your job or the next reprimand. 

Control of information. Tyrant leaders try to keep you from knowing anything that would give you equal status to their knowledge  

Micromanaging – Tyrant leaders control everything. They have to approve every decision. Their hand is upon every detail. They don’t want anything happening without their knowledge or input. 

Criticism. I call it leadership by nipping at the heels. Tyrant leaders are a constant critic of what you were doing wrong. They seldom see anything you do right, but they see everything you do wrong. And we all do a lot wrong in the eyes of a tyrannical leader. 

Diminishing other people’s contributions. If there is any success the tyrant leader is the one to be praised. No one else gets recognition – unless it’s for an error of some kind. Then everyone will know whose fault it was – only it won’t be the tyrant leader. 

Share your story – if even privately – have you ever worked for a tyrant leader? 

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss issues of leadership in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

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