While pondering this blog entry I can’t help but to talk about my former VP of Operations. I was a supervisor in his department for about a year. While it was a short time working for him, he left a very strong impression on me in a very bad way.
I would have to categorize his leadership style as “Authority-Compliance” (Northouse, 2010). He held very true to the definition that Northouse (2010) provides, of “leadership that places a heavy emphasis on task and job requirements, and less emphasis on people, except to the extent that people are tools for getting the job done. Often seen as controlling, demanding, hard driving, and overpowering” (Nothhouse, 2010).
I can speak from personal experience of the effect this style of leadership has on employees. I was forced, as a supervisor, to threaten my employees with write-ups if they did not perform to his liking. I have been employed for 40 years in some kind of capacity and have never been written-up or had to produce a write-up until I started working for this VP.
In meetings with the Ops Dept. he came across as a fun loving, compassionate person, but in one-on-one dealings or meetings with other supervisors and managers his true personality came out. This is not the type of leadership style that I wanted to have but yet was forced to adopt. I cared personally about my employees and wanted to have, if possible, a relationship with each of them. The example that Northouse gives of “Team Management”, which focuses on “interpersonal relationships and tasks” fits my style better than the one that was forced upon me (Northouse, 2010).
I really disliked treating my employees the way I was forced to, and one day someone said to me that she did not like to be threatened. It stopped me in my tracks, as I realized she was right to feel this way. That was the day that I changed my ways and would no longer be an “Authority-Compliance” leader (Northouse, 2010). I knew that by doing this I would be making my VP unhappy, but I was done trying to be someone that I was not and I was tired of being unhappy and stressed.
I was tired of being so stressed at work, which also carried over to my home. I was short-tempered with my kids, was not sleeping well, and when I did sleep I would have horrible nightmares. I would wake up in the morning and wonder what hell was waiting for me today. After changing my style of leadership my job was soon eliminated. However, this was the best thing that could have happened.
To have endured this as my first leadership experience has since left me wondering if I would ever want to be in a leadership roll again. It was, in many ways, a very damaging experience, one that I often think about and reflect upon.
I’m currently looking for a new place of employment, and when I come across a job posting that reminds me of the position that I once had I get a mild panic attack. I will still apply for that position, with the hope that the culture at this company will be better than the one that I left behind.
Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA, Sage Publications, Inc.