As a Leader, Are You a Liberator or Dominator?
- 2011 27 Apr
In Leadership Is Dead: How Influence Is Reviving It, Jeremie Kubicek, CEO of the leader development company GiANT Impact, makes a clear and compelling case that “dominators” who lead by coercion are on the decline and are being replaced by “liberators” who lead through influence. Jesus, of course, is the ultimate example of a liberating leader.
Kubicek observes that leadership has moved from a noun to a verb. It has become a means or vehicle for appropriate change rather than a goal or end in itself (i.e. to become the leader who exerts power over others). Peggy Noonan, President Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter, once stated it this way: “Poor leaders want to be great. Great leaders want to do something great.” Kubicek points out that for leaders to successfully make this shift, competence is required to get the job done well and character is required to build strong relationships based on mutual trust. People are much more likely to give their best efforts when following a liberator than a dominator because this type of leader helps the people he or she leads and, in doing so, develops a bond of connection.
One compelling example Kubicek uses is the U.S. Military. He points out that with the changing nature of warfare today where the enemy is a geographically spread network rather than a geographically concentrated nation, the ability to influence and bring about the cooperation of civilians has become much more important to mission success. Liberators like U.S. Army’s General David Patraeus, current commander of the International Security Assistance Force and co-author of the U.S. Army’s influential manual on counterinsurgency, without question understand the importance of winning civilian hearts and minds rather than relying on force alone.
I highly recommend this book. In addition to making a valuable contribution to leadership thinking, the stories and examples make it a page-turner. You’ll experience the thrill of reading about Kubicek’s narrow escape from intimidating Russian mobsters while working as a young entrepreneur in Moscow, and his harrowing and heartwarming account of coming back to life following a car accident in Cancun that left him momentarily lifeless. Also, be sure not to miss the material in the appendix that includes a fascinating description of Chick-fil-A’s “Live. Love. Lead.” program, an inspiring endeavor to be a positive influence in the lives of its customers.
Kubicek’s company, GiANT Impact, has as its mission “to impact the leadership culture of America.” Leadership Is Dead certainly contributes to that end and more. The timing of this book could not be better as today’s news headlines recount more people around the world rising up to challenge dominating leaders and illegitimate governments in hopes of replacing them with the type of leader Kubicek describes.
This book is relevant to pastors, church leaders and Christians who are marketplace leaders. All have a responsibility to become liberating leaders. Would the people you lead describe you as a liberating leader or a dominator? How about your family members? If you need to improve in this area, find a mentor or coach who is a liberator and who you trust will give you the honest feedback and encouragement you need to grow in Christlikess and become a liberating leader.
Pankau and Stallard are co-authors of Fired Up or Burned Out (Thomas Nelson). Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders (www.lifespringnetwork.org). Michael Lee Stallard is president of E Pluribus Partners, a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm (www.fireduporburnedout.com).
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