The “Democratic Dictatorial” leader for business success

July 12, 2017
Source: Nii Armah Addy/thebftonline.com/Ghana
The “Democratic Dictatorial” leader for business success

“Democratic Dictatorial” is a terminology I have adopted for this article to postulate a kind of leadership necessary for business success. It is an all-encompassing skill like two wings of a bird that every business leader must possess without which failure in business become dé jàvu.

“Democratic Dictatorial” leadership is the combination of involving people in business decision making on one hand and being autocratic in business decision making on the other hand. Be that as it may, leadership is everything. It has gained such a worldwide acceptance to the extent that it embraces all spheres of life; hence show me a good leader and I will show you a good venture.  

Whether or not you are the first or last in any endeavour, leadership accounts for the assessment of that balance sheet. Be it self-leadership and/or group leadership, leadership is a necessary evil. Business leadership is more important and urgently needed to be acquired and/or enhanced by all business people who desire success.

Particularly in business, the leader set the agenda, builds the business culture, motivates employees, creates the mission and ensures that the vision is pursued among other factors for business success. The summation of the business leader’s overriding persuasion is to get results that propel the business to profitability, durability and brand influence.

Before the literature about business leadership emerged, business owners have always expected leadership from business managers; it was a mystery then for business managers to be able to motivate their employees to perform at their utmost best. What sparks the performance to achievement is a testament of quality leadership.

The mystery about leadership is no more since there are abundance of literature and practitioners of business leadership spreading into curriculum in universities, training programmes and executive coaching. What is perhaps not common and ought to be mastered is a perfect combination of different leadership styles contextualized for specific business.

Though the leadership principles are available for application, they may not work in straight jacket as “copy and paste.” Every business must carefully study its environment to be able to apply the right leadership principles for its business success.

Failure to know your environment and apply the right leadership principle is what separates successful businesses from mere existing brick and mortar or just “in the air” business. In this age of Internet of Things (IoT), many businesses by a mere internet presence may pretend to be doing business when in actuality they are just “in the air.”

In the abundance of leadership literature, effective leadership for business success still escapes many organisations. Many reasons can be attributed to business leadership failures among which include the absence of a measure of leadership success.

For the purpose of this article, my measure of business leadership success is profitability, durability and brand influence without which external customers and/or people cannot judge the viability of the business. I will proceed to enumerate on how the “democratic dictatorial” business leadership can influence my measure of business success as profitability, durability and brand influence.

  1. “Democratic Dictatorial” leadership for business profitability

Businesses have a natural inclination to be profit making. Profitability is simply the ability of a business to make profit. After all the business expenses have been paid the surplus of the revenue generated becomes the profit. Profit ratios vary from industry to industry and from organisation to organisation be it internal and/or international business.

The “Democratic Dictatorial” leadership for business combines both democratic and dictatorial leadership skills. The level of usage of both skills differs in percentage depending on the situation at hand.

At one instance, eighty per cent of the democratic leadership skill can be applied while twenty per cent of the dictatorial may apply. At other instance, ninety per cent of the dictatorial will be necessary and must be applied to attain the needed result while ten per cent of the democratic leadership will be maintained.

There are three steps that “Democratic Dictatorial” leadership can be applied for business profitability as follows:

Step #1: Focus on the important needs of the business

Depending on the nature of business that your organisation does; meetings, emails, phone calls and travels are necessary activities that your organisation will be engaged in all year round. Some of these activities may be critical at some point but the question to answer always is whether they are important and deserve urgent attention.

A “Dictatorial” approach is to insist on strict adherence to what is important thereby giving it a higher percentage and a less percentage on the “Democratic” approach to negotiate urgency of the matter.

By devoting much attention to what is important; the team members buy into that philosophy by critically analyzing business issues to always differentiate the important from the urgent thereby drawing a decisive conclusion of business activities that encourage profit generation.  

Step #2: Effective communication

Effective communication must be both internal and external. The propensity of organisations to shed the level of their communication can be high due to the level of busyness. This can lead to employees disconnect between their employee duties and the organisation’s priorities. When this happens, employees may be doing their daily task but may not effectively correspond to the overriding priorities of the organisation.

Effective communication enables the organisation to engage both internal and external customers so as to achieve the organisation’s top priority. Engaging employees and customers is the way to achieving profitability. By engaging employees, it challenges them and constantly evaluates and monitors their performance. Setbacks can be immediately corrected than ignore for long which then festers; hence correction becomes huge cost to the organisation.

The “Democratic Dictator” in promoting effective communication for profitability will have to effectively communicate the vision of the organisation in plain terms as to get all and sundry on board. In broadly communicating the vision, the “Democratic Dictator” leader must not fail to engage employees individually in the process.

The ancient practice of top level management not engaging employees is a bad step for business profitability. Studies have shown that organisations that engage their employees in oral-face-to face communication reduce confusion among employees and builds higher trust turns to profitability.

Step #3: Transparency and Accountability

There must be a high level of transparency and accountability if the organisation must sincerely make profit. The “Democratic Dictatorial” leader as well as the employees will genuinely embrace accountability if they are made to understand the need and benefit of generating profit for the organisation.

When employees are involved in the direction of the business, they will be happy to be accountable knowing that will be part of the solution and the success story of the organisation. If the “Democratic Dictatorial” leadership is able to achieve this, they will be amazed what individual employees can achieve. At the transparency and accountability level, the percentage required for both “Democratic” and “Dictatorial” precincts must be equally high and at par.   

When leadership begins to hold back transparency and accountability, there is the high possibility of a breakdown in the system which will breed mistrust and eventually it will become a situation of the leadership vs. the employees. When this happens, it leads to high level of corruption at all levels of the organisation.

  1. “Democratic Dictatorial” leadership for business durability and brand influence

Businesses are meant to have longevity and permanence of life. It behooves on the “Democratic Dictatorial” leader to hold up its leadership virtues so as to propel the business life. The durability of a business is determined by how long the business has been in existence and its levels of growth in terms of human resource, continuous improvement and profitability.

Durable businesses are those that provide guarantees and extended warranties in their products. Their commitments to clients and/or customers do not end with the patronage of the products. The actual real lasting relationship starts from the moment the client and/or customer patronises their product.

Brand influence is as a result of clients and/or customers repeat patronage of products from an organisation. Satisfied clients and/or customers become brand ambassadors who through word-of-mouth are able to win more clients and/or customers to the brand.

“Democratic Dictatorial” leaders who are interested in their business success will work attentively to achieve brand influence for their organisation’s product through quality, pricing and timely delivery. Great brands are easily remembered by both consumers and target consumers. The mention of the brand immediately evokes consciousness. The mental picture of a great brand is hardly lost. They influence consumer decision to purchase.

The attributes enjoyed by great brands does not come by chance, “Democratic Dictatorial” business leaders work to achieve it through carefully selected activities including helping customers to develop purchasing decisions that include their brand. When customers repeatedly demand a product and further become loyal to the product, it symbolise the brand influence.

Conclusion

The art of leadership will never be an exact science because of the unpredictability in human behaviour at all times. But that notwithstanding, successful business leadership is no longer a complete mystery to those who practice or will practice the “Democratic Dictatorial” style of leadership as I have espoused in this article.

The dynamism of the business environment requires an overbearing response from the business leader desirous of making success by applying “Democratic Dictatorial” leadership style like a mindful professional using the right percentage of the skills concurrently at the right time. The payoff will result in profitability, durability and brand influence.