The 7 Differences Between Mindful and Maniacal Leadership
Leaders need to possess a number of unique and unselfish traits to be great. They must be open to new and, sometimes, controversial philosophies. This trait is critical to the development of the next leader of any organization, generation or country, and will leave a legacy of the leader for years to come.
1. Connection, not dissention.
Maniacal leaders establish their power subtlety and over time. These types are driven from insecurity which is why they seek to dominate and control. To get their way, they will invest weeks or months in training and manipulating team members into carrying out their will. Team members slowly lose clarity on their role, as they are forced to bend to the wishes and unrealistic demands of the maniacal leader. Because maniacal leadership interferes with effective interactions between themselves, their colleagues and team members, the structure becomes consumed with stress and confusion; leaving team members feeling isolated, invalidated, and unmotivated to perform.
Mindful leaders care about other people. They are involved in every aspect of their team, supporting them in any way they can. They offer team members the freedoms they need to be successful and refrain from micromanagement. They focus on bringing their team together by giving each defined roles and clear objectives. They believe in the power of interconnectedness and providing their team with a sense of community, closeness, and belonging around common goals and objectives. Because their interactions with their leader and other team members are successful team members stay passionate, willing and motivated.
2. Listening, not talking.
Maniacal leaders are smooth-talkers who lack substance. They enjoy hearing themselves talk but have little clue as to how what they say negatively impacts others. They over-talk as a strategy to establish authority over their listeners. They interrupt consistently, cut people off, and refuse to hear opinions or ideas which differ from their own. These types use the fire-hydrant approach, flooding listeners with a barrage of words, policies and opinions without offering the proper room for reciprocal dialogue.
Mindful leaders are clear in the understanding that less is more. They care about what other people have to say, and demonstrate a genuine concern that listeners understand the message they're trying to convey. These types allow for silences and pauses giving listeners time to properly digest and process their last point. They make sure to hold appropriate eye contact, to speak slowly and clearly and to allot for the necessary time for questions and answers.
3. Power, not force.
Maniacal leaders use force and oppression as management tools. They view leadership as "supremacy," which eventually leads them into corruption, in spite of their good intentions. They rob team members of their own good results by owning all successes as their own. Every argument they have is used to strip team members of their independence as a method of further amplifying their dominance. They only support and promote those who act as pawns to their goals and objectives, and make a point to patronize all who resist or question their leadership. Maniacal leaders examine every new proposal or objective to see how or if it will contribute to growing their own control over others. It anything they review has the potential to interfere with their power, those policies and opinions will be outright rejected without further consideration.
Mindful leaders, on the other hand, believe in possessing a power that is life-giving and affirming. Each team member is considered a unique and necessary piece of the puzzle; that without each one, the team would be missing something very important. They see power as collective, not something to be hoarded and controlled by any one person, most importantly themselves. Mindful leaders promote and prosper for each team member's individual and collective success, valuing collaboration over competition with success being most efficiently achieved as a team effort.
Related: 50 Rules for Being a Great Leader
4. Proactive, not reactive.
Maniacal leaders are known to be emotionally violent and unpredictable. When events occur, they did not forecast or expect, maniacal leaders explode, quickly blaming every team member without any thought of personal accountability. They lead through intimidation which creates high levels of anxiety and stress. This negative emotional climate decompensates team members individually and collectively. To save their own lives, team members swiftly begin pointing the finger at each other, creating a monkey-see-monkey-do environment.
Mindful leaders pride themselves on being proactive. They have developed the habits necessary to pursue what they want and to respond effectively to unforeseen events. These leaders have a clear understanding of what the goals are, and have the confidence in themselves and their team to achieve all that is set out in front of them. They lead their team through challenge by helping them predict the positive outcomes to strive toward under their stressful conditions.
5. Maturity, not immaturity.
Maniacal leaders are immature and self-righteous. These leaders are impulsive and easily influenced by others to chase the next shiny penny. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions or mistakes and would prefer to burn a bridge than to consider helpful or constructive feedback from another. They tend to surround themselves with other corrupt people and only promote those who are willing to whatever they must to get the leader what they want. They are not about helping, they are solely about winning.
Mindful leaders pride themselves on being emotionally intelligent, mature human beings. They value collaboration and the building of deep and trusting connections. They take responsibility for all mistakes and pass off all personal acknowledgement for all successes to their team members and the superiors who support them. They are peacemakers and keep the company of other high-level, good people. They take a vested interest in group discussions where there is a meeting of the minds on how to establish fairness and order. They stand on the frontlines with their team helping them to negotiate and succeed.
6. Selfless, not selfish.
Selfish leaders take zero notice of the people outside of them. They prefer on one-sided relationships, and dismiss any notions of mutuality. People are things to be used for their own gain. They demonstrate a severe lack of boundaries and view themselves as unique, special, and beyond the rules that normal lowly, people must follow. This total lack of insight and ability to self-manage doesn't allow them to lead by any other manner than egregious levels of bullying.
A leader is not only respected for his or her intelligence and insight, but their ability to bring out the best in the people around them. A great leader is usually not, and does not want to be, the smartest person in the room. Great leaders surround themselves with team members who have more experience and ideas in their specific areas of expertise than the leader themself. All of these experts, when led by the right person, can be an unstoppable force in driving strategy, building culture, making change and enhancing the financial performance of the company.
7. Peace, not anarchy.
When leaders operate from a "my way or the highway" abuse of power, they destroy the very foundation of team culture and positive morale. One-for-itself leadership sacrifices everyone. When business is run under oppressive conditions, dishonesty, and competition, emotional violence reigns and any successes achieved were fear-driven. Team members carry scars from this type of environment leading to high employee turnover, increases in missed days and reported illnesses.
Mindful leaders lead through contribution, appreciation and growth. Peace and effectiveness rest at the heart of this process. Mindful leaders encourage all involved to establish and understand who each person is and how they are connected to all others. The overall morale of the team culture is based in community with each team member granted the freedom to achieve and maximize upon their goals and talents.