What is the difference between leadership and manipulation/coercion?
I am finding myself being pressured more and more to step up to the plate and start to show some leadership skills or navigate the consequences of not moving forward in the direction I seek which requires this of me.
Yet I struggle with this. All of my life I have bent over backwards to avoid at all cost ever being a leader. When I have led it was it out of complete force, fear, and a desperate anxiety, not by my own free choice because I thought I could help somehow. And at those times I tried to get out of that position as fast as possible.
The reason leadership frightens me and scares me is because of the power it yields. Power dovetails leadership. There are leaders who abuse that power, whether by error or intent, which by doing so have caused great harm. Abuse of power from leadership can affect harm upon one to all of humanity, and from one household, neighborhood, or community to our entire planet.
If I am going to continue to be challenged by my peers to take a stand for my beliefs, and learn how to lead, I would like to know how does one become certain that they are leading in the right way and in the right direction? And how does one distinguish the difference between leadership and overpowering another persons freedoms, freewill for that matter, and their rights to make their own choices and decisions?
What is the difference between leadership and manipulation? Because surely there is a great deal of value and good in one, and great deal of disservice and wrongdoing in the other. But truly, what is it that distinguishes the borders and boundaries between them? It seems there is a fine line between them. I would like to know what marks that line.
In hindsight, I see that I can move to and from the dark side without really noticing. The antidote to slipping into manipulation/coercion is introspection. Plenty introspection.
I believe the difference between leadership and manipulation lies in your intention. If you are leading from a place of truth you guide from a place of authentic self-expression. I don’t see the argument being leadership vs manipulation. I think leaders definitely do have the ability to choose to be manipulative in their leadership style but how you lead ultimately comes down to what leadership style you want to embody.
Thank you so much for your reply! Wow that was an incredibly thorough framework you put into your response to my questions. Yes! Those are the concepts I was looking for the feelings I have but did not have the right questions for.
These are excellent questions to ask of myself if/as I find I am growing in the role I have as a leader. I love how these questions really do put the emphasis where it should be as concern for the other persons growth and development and that of the organization.
Would you go so far as to say that if as a leader the people in your organization are not growing and developing under you there is a problem with your leadership? Or at least that is the first place to look?
I am really looking into this now. I have a speech to give in the next few weeks on leadership. I am still in the research and writing stage now.