Tag Archives: authoritarian

  • -
modern artful leadership

Modern Artful Leadership Is Different

Tags : 

Leadership is less pragmatic, less technical, and less authoritarian than it ever has been. Are you demonstrating modern artful leadership?

We all know that leadership is not about a position. At least, not specifically about a position. Leadership is for everyone, with or without direct reports.

Many workplaces struggle with navigating the workforce generations, they also struggle with culture, on-boarding, and employee retention. Much of this is about organization leadership and effective communication.

Less Authority, More Art

Not so long-ago leadership for many meant power and authority. It was the significance of the formal position within the organization that designated the chain-of-command.

The chain of command is still valid in many organization cultures, yet its purpose or utilization is often softer with fuzzy edges, dotted lines, and open doors.

It is not your great grandfathers, or your great, great grandfather’s industrial revolution anymore. The authoritarian approach is seldom effective.

There are pockets of businesses and small communities that still have traces of this. To find this you usually have to get deep into the rural areas, miles from any metropolitan statistical area. There, the workplace choices are few and the leadership style may not be modern.

For everyone else, leadership is as much artful as it is pragmatic.

What is your style?

Modern Artful Leadership

Great leaders inspire a call-to-action that keeps people motivated and engaged.

They co-create a culture of community where employees feel like they are part of something, they are building it, growing it, and giving it life. The result is that they have purpose in their work and are proud of the products and services they provide.

Authority matters less, respect across all job functions, all generations, and all workforce classes (considered protected or not) matter more.

Modern artful leadership is not pointed to on paper. It is not designated by a job description, the organization chart, or tenure.

Yes, all of those things matter, and in deadlock decisions or strategic moves, they are the tie-breaker. They are not the everyday practice of how work gets accomplished.

What about you, are you a good role model?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

  • -
leadership work

Leadership Work And What Many Avoid

Tags : 

Do you like the idea of leadership? Does it get you motivated and positively fired up when you think about leading others? Leadership work may not be as easy or pain free as you think.

Leadership seems really attractive on the surface. Being the boss, having people look up to you, getting the recognition for team accomplishments. Some will quickly jump to the idea of increased pay. These and other aspects attract many.

Certainly, leadership is for everyone. Things like money and fame are not a requirement. Neither is having formal authority, yet it is often assumed.

Work Avoided

Workplace professionals will often mention to me that they dislike dealing with people issues. This is a significant part of leadership. It is not just about a title or some fame and glory, no matter how big or how small.

Leadership is people work. If you have formal authority, such as having direct reports, it means dealing with job performance, hiring, and sometimes firing.

Many so-called leaders don’t like that part. They don’t like the responsibility of managing others. As a result, they tend to avoid the people issues.

Others just hand out commands with great expectations. Reality is often in question.

This is exactly how we get what people often label, “poor leadership.”

Leadership Work

Leadership work takes guts, determination, and a commitment to excellence. It means doing the things that many others don’t like doing. It means working with people, not a dictatorship or authoritarian approach.

If you think leadership means you’re the boss and you tell others what to do, you are mostly wrong.

The true work of great leaders is as much artful as it is pragmatic.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

  • -
hiring practice

Hiring Practice Is Shaped By Culture

Tags : 

“We can’t find people.” It is a statement I often hear. Closely followed by, “Nobody wants to work today.” Is this about your hiring practice, culture, or the workforce generations?

Likely the truth is, it is pieces of all three. Working on one of these, will make a difference for the other two. Culture.

By now you’ve probably thought about pay. Not so fast, we’ll get there.

Uplifted Veil

Culture is about mindset. A corporate set of values and beliefs that resonates throughout the organization.

Culture isn’t entirely about what is published. It isn’t entirely about the values statements, the mission statement, or the slogan that appears on a plastic disposable pen at the job fair.

Certainly, all those things have relevance and in-part create the experience for onlookers, but you won’t hide the truth for long.

The winner of the Boston Marathon didn’t just lose thirteen pounds on the latest diet shake or meal plan. They haven’t made statements that they are training yet meanwhile they are secretively are doing something different.

The organization may have the best branding video on the planet. When you lift the veil, what do you see?

Clever marketing creates attraction. As some would suggest, it works. Yet what is inside the box or under the cover will ultimately make the difference.

Hiring Practice

It is one of the hardest things to learn about organizational culture. Culture is not just about what you say or the powerful showcase. It is also about what you do and the associated outputs and results.

Human resources and talent management professionals can help a lot, and they often do. However, if the departmental supervisor believes that leading is about how you demonstrate authority, the uplifted veil is something different.

Yes, there are dirty jobs, mindless jobs, and jobs that are dead ends. Yes, there are perfect fits, and mismatches.

Everyone wants to know what is really under the veil.

When what is underneath is unattractive, only pay will make a difference.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

  • -
c suite authoritarian

How to Navigate the C Suite Authoritarian

Tags : 

We know that we should do it his or her way. We know enough not to speak unless we are asked. The C suite authoritarian is out there. Is there one in your organization?

C suite Authoritarian

They are out there, thriving on the throne. They probably are not guiding the best organizations but they may be guiding one that is reasonably successful.

The C suite authoritarian thrives on a mismanaged and misguided means of power. They typically live by the, “my way or the highway” approach. They are the authority, sometimes in their mind, the only authority. You should listen, or else.

What is missing with the C suite authoritarian, nearly everything except for the flexing of muscle and the motivation caused by fear.

Motivation through fear is almost never a good thing. Motivation through inspiration is the standard to set. The authoritarian lacks this though, leaving the employees feeling forced to participate.

Navigating the Rough Stuff

Navigating the C suite authoritarian can be tricky, but here are a few universal guidelines that may help.

  • Expecting Change. If you are expecting to change the authoritarian, you may face much disappointment. Remember this person typically only see’s things his or her way. They know it to be the best way (in their mind) and you’re not going to change that. Stubborn is a word sometimes used. Don’t expect them to change.
  • Understand Metrics. Most authoritarians are pushing towards some specific metrics. For them, the value of the person typically takes a backseat to the value of the metric. They, by nature, are not really a people person. Results are what matters and the employees are merely a vehicle to get results. Consider focusing as much as possible on metrics.
  • Gain Trust. Probably no one feels lonelier than the authoritarian does. They like it that way, since everyone knows [sarcasm] it is lonely at the top. The authoritarian typically doesn’t trust, that is part of why they command through demands. They also may be a bit paranoid but will deny both. Show them you’ll take the hits and keep on ticking, you’re here for them.

There are so many factors to consider and for the employee who doesn’t know which way the wind will blow today, it is terribly disappointing.

Authoritarians Thrive

Generally speaking the authoritarians thrive in areas where or when unemployment is in their favor.

They often appear in the mom and pop business, or are often present in the largest gig (or only gig) in town. If unemployment is high, there are fewer choices so people put up with it. Still, trust is typically very low in these organizations and turnover and absenteeism are high.

Not surprising, the C suite authoritarian is often the first to complain about a lack of available workforce. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it is the organizations reputation that limits interest.

Your Choice

Long term you typically have two choices. You can leave, or you can lower your expectations and navigate the system. If you navigate carefully and get closer to the top, you may be the shining example, the light in the tunnel, or the hope that the rest of the team needs.

Every great future story of success probably has a chapter about hardship. I have always liked the story where the underdog wins.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more