Dictatorship vs. Leadership

Started thinking about the differences between a Dictator and a Leader. I was surprised, after looking up the definitions online, how similar these two are.

via http://www.merriam-webster.com

Definition of DICTATOR

  • a person granted absolute emergency power; especially one appointed by the senate of ancient Rome
  • one holding complete autocratic control
  • one ruling absolutely and often oppressively

Definition of LEADER

A Person Who Leads: as

  • Guide, Conductor
  • (1) a person who directs a military force or unit (2) a person who has commanding authority or influence
  • (1) the principal officer of a British political party (2) a party member chosen to manage party activities in a legislative body (3) such a party member presiding over the whole legislative body when the party constitutes a majority
  • (1) conductor (2) a first or principal performer of a group

I think the key word here is influence. A LEADER is someone “who has commanding authority or influence.”

Looking up the definition of INFLUENCE, you’ll see it defined as:

INFLUENCE: the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command.

Ahh… now – do you want to be perceived by your organization as a dictator or a leader? There is a difference.

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