the blog of dan pontefract | The Moronic Leader: Stage 1 of 5 in the Leadership Tonic Scale
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The Moronic Leader: Stage 1 of 5 in the Leadership Tonic Scale

The Leadership Tonic Scale identifies and defines five types of leadership styles found in today’s organization. This is the first of those five types. Come back and visit each day during the week of June 3, 2013 to find out the next leadership type as depicted in the Leadership Tonic Scale.

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The Moronic Leader

The ‘Moronic Leader’ is the bottom feeder of the Leadership Tonic Scale.

He believes ruthless command and control tactics are the basis in which to lead. He insists on perfection and micro-manages the actions and deliverables of his team at all times with equal parts vigor and insanity. When errors occur, team members are reprimanded whether privately or publicly in front of colleagues. Actual lashings may be utilized. When efforts from the team exceed expectations or targets, the moronic leader takes credit for the result and forges a letter from a customer outlining how fabulous his actions were. He of course delivers the letter to the CEO.

The Moronic Leader believes the only way to get results is to bully. “Cracking the Whip” doesn’t seem to be a simile; it’s the real deal. Workplace stress is encouraged, exacerbated by daily demands far exceeding the definition of humanity. The verbal and mental abuse a Moronic Leader invokes on what he refers to as “my subordinate minions” is the very definition of workplace hell.

‘Emotional Intelligence‘ is incomprehensible to the moronic leader. In fact, he thinks it’s the title of a Hollywood blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon or Tom Cruise. Knowing the likes, dislikes or hobbies of his team is as likely as him recognizing employees for a job well done. Recognition usually involves a mirror with the Moronic Leader being the only human (is he really human?) in the mirror itself. Being collaborative and using social tools to open up and/or connect with employees only occurs when North and South Korea military personnel agree to moonlight dancing in the DMZ.

What More to Know:

  • Run away
  • Tap into your network and seek out a new job or role
  • Pray someone in HR has figured out this goofball needs to be terminated and replaced with Watson, R2-D2 or iRobot

The Moronic Leader is as set in his ways as is United Airlines’ quest to break guitars or whoever is in charge of your local Taylorism fan-club. It is irreversible. You need to find yourself a new career home. Instill some gumption into your DNA and take flight immediately. If you recognize a colleague or friend in this situation, do the right thing and help him or her get out of the role ASAP.

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NB: the Leadership Tonic Scale does get better from here. What’s the next stage? Although I didn’t include the Leadership Tonic Scale in my book Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization, you may be interested in Chapters 4-6 (The Connected Leader) and Chapter 7 (The Participative Leader Framework) in particular as they help to depict what I believe are the key ingredients to 21st century leadership. The entire Leadership Tonic Scale will be released on June 10th as a free downloadable paper.

UPDATE: The Leadership Tonic Scale downloadable PDF is now available.

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