Command-and-Control leaders: The good, the bad and the ugly

by on July 21, 2010 · 14 Comments POSTED IN: HR Cafe
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Command-and-Control leaders are the ones who inspire bad-boss punching bags and books like “The Boss from Hell.”

They’re easy to caricature. Hard to work for. But not all bad.

They have something that even the most enlightened boss needs — the ability to provide crystal-clear direction when the situation calls for it.

Example: If a fire broke out in your building, would lives more likely be saved by a consensus-builder or a tyrant who shouted, “Follow that exit sign and get out of here NOW!”?

In that situation, I’ll place my bets on the tyrant.

I think a lot of people under-value the Command-and-Control managerial style. Fact is, managers who can’t deploy it convincingly when it’s appropriate are missing an important item in their managerial toolkit.

The problem, of course, is that some leaders resort to the Command-and-Control style all the time, even when there’s no urgency and no need to use it. And they get their names written on bad-boss punching bags.

To be effective, no manager should ever rely on a single managerial style. We all need a full repertoire of styles, and we need to know when to use them.

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14 Comments on This Post

  1. Dave
    July 21, 2010 - 5:00 pm

    I wish I could send this to my old boss. I don’t think that man knew how to lead a team of people without raising his voice. Guy made a football coach seem downright sensitive.

  2. Dave
    July 21, 2010 - 5:00 pm

    I wish I could send this to my old boss. I don’t think that man knew how to lead a team of people without raising his voice. Guy made a football coach seem downright sensitive.

  3. SCM
    July 21, 2010 - 5:20 pm

    Most workers respect and repsond to command & control style … as long as you don’t use it too much. There’s a fine line between being a “get-it-done” boss and a jerk.

  4. Dave
    July 21, 2010 - 1:00 pm

    I wish I could send this to my old boss. I don't think that man knew how to lead a team of people without raising his voice. Guy made a football coach seem downright sensitive.

  5. Dave
    July 21, 2010 - 1:00 pm

    I wish I could send this to my old boss. I don't think that man knew how to lead a team of people without raising his voice. Guy made a football coach seem downright sensitive.

  6. Dave
    July 21, 2010 - 1:00 pm

    I wish I could send this to my old boss. I don't think that man knew how to lead a team of people without raising his voice. Guy made a football coach seem downright sensitive.

  7. SCM
    July 21, 2010 - 1:20 pm

    Most workers respect and repsond to command & control style … as long as you don't use it too much. There's a fine line between being a “get-it-done” boss and a jerk.

  8. SCM
    July 21, 2010 - 1:20 pm

    Most workers respect and repsond to command & control style … as long as you don't use it too much. There's a fine line between being a “get-it-done” boss and a jerk.

  9. Dsterne
    July 21, 2010 - 7:38 pm

    We all live with so much ambiguity it’s great when someone has the clarity and confidence to take charge and LEAD I wouldn’t want to get on a plane unless there was someone in the cockpit who could do command and control. Definitely underused.

  10. Dsterne
    July 21, 2010 - 7:38 pm

    We all live with so much ambiguity it’s great when someone has the clarity and confidence to take charge and LEAD I wouldn’t want to get on a plane unless there was someone in the cockpit who could do command and control. Definitely underused.

    • SCM
      July 21, 2010 - 5:20 pm

      Most workers respect and repsond to command & control style … as long as you don’t use it too much. There’s a fine line between being a “get-it-done” boss and a jerk.

  11. Dsterne
    July 21, 2010 - 3:38 pm

    We all live with so much ambiguity it's great when someone has the clarity and confidence to take charge and LEAD I wouldn't want to get on a plane unless there was someone in the cockpit who could do command and control. Definitely underused.

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