Opinion: How not to be a leader

Mica Pflug

There are good leaders, and there are bad leaders. A group dynamic depends on the role of your leader and the responses from the group.

Perhaps your boss is laid-back, updates you on information you need to know and handles any issues that arise in a private manner. This style of leadership may provide freedom for those within the group, but may also pose a risk to the health and structure of it as a whole.

Passive leadership allows members of the group to delegate themselves power, simply because they can. While this can sometimes be beneficial, it also allows power-hungry individuals to create chaos for the group.

I’m sure everyone’s had that awful co-worker, the person who is loud, passive-aggressive, the center of attention and, mostly, just a jerk.

When this person delegates themselves as a leader in a power vacuum, it is generally heard but ignored by the rest of the group, and their made-up authority lives on. They tend to piggyback off the boss, claiming to be preaching what they would want, when in reality this co-worker has no real authority to do so and often times no idea what they’re talking about.

In the end, an absence of discipline can lead to an absence of accountability within the group, making room for an even bigger mess and headache down the road.

If you see this type of thing happen, fill the leadership void yourself, as long as you don’t become this jerk. If you already are the jerk of your group: Stop it. It’s just annoying.

On the other hand, there are leaders with a strict totalitarian mindset, enjoying their role as a superior far more than the actual work being done.

A previous professor of mine comes to mind as someone who made sure everyone knew they were inferior to her both in position and in intelligence. This type of leadership can most definitely become an issue when young adults are so capable of forming and voicing their own opinions.

Although it may be easy to sympathize with this type of person simply because they lack basic communication skills, this person may very well be creating their own demise by holding the group in strict and constant control.

In opposition, this may make for a slightly better group dynamic in terms of partnerships between group members themselves; if everyone hates the same person, it makes for a pretty good bonding experience. While camaraderie within the group may prosper, what is expected from the person in charge may be increasingly unclear, which leads to an overall feeling of frustration and confusion.

A happy medium between a passive and aggressive leader is something worth striving for. A passive leader may be more fun, but creates issues in terms of discipline and accountability within the group. An aggressive leader may make it easier for themselves, but creates tension and uncertainty within the group.

Don’t be this person. Find your happy medium, and watch people rejoice in following you.

Mica Pflug is a columnist, contact her at [email protected].