I've met many of both, have served and worked under both, and personally know both kinds of leaders. I don't necessarily believe that one is a natural born leader and the other isn't. Just like anything a natural gift and talent can only get you so far. But active knowledge, awareness, practice, and humility will get you further than sitting on natural talent can.
This morning I was thinking of a specific person, let's name this person "Anonymous" and how this person tends to be very passive and often misused and abused by those around them. I've heard Anonymous express their hidden and suppressed feelings regarding many different situations in their life. And though these feelings are expressed to me... they aren't expressed to the person they need to be expressed to. Which happen to be mostly leaders that are above Anonymous in work and life situations. I was thinking about how frustrating it must be to be Anonymous. How people often take advantage of Anonymous and their passive nature. And how Anonymous should really learn to speak up for themself. But then I thought - what if Anonymous keeps ending up in these situations partially due to manipulative leaders. Let me explain.
A manipulative leader is one who sees someone's passivity and uses it to their advantage. They'll keep that person stuck in their passivity by not speaking up for them, giving them an "out", giving them options, letting them know that they can speak up for themselves. You see, a lot of passive people are so extremely passive that they can't even find it in them to speak up for themselves. They will live their entire lives as a doormat and though they may complain to a close friend they trust, they would never say it to the face of those that "rule" over them. And yes I used "rule" because if you are a leader that is manipulating those who are under you... you are ruling like the queen or king you think you are and treating those under you like mere peasants.
As I kept digging through this topic in my mind, which honestly takes a few seconds but honestly feels like an hour with all of the conclusions and thinking that happens. But as I kept what I like to call "microscoping" this topic I started thinking about present situations in my own life. There is a group of people I've been surrounded by recently that I feel are suddenly trying to pull one over on me. And first of all if you know me, they have a sense of humor if they think they're gonna get away with it. I play no games. But anyways, I was thinking about how this specific group of people may be thinking they're getting away with it because they may view me as passive. Which side note, I'm not sure if I've ever been passive. Definitely aggressive, definitely passive aggressive but passive I'm not so sure about. I think I would call it "I'm so over this and annoyed by your lack of leadership qualities that now I just don't care enough to speak up about anything". A long description for how I feel a lot of times about most things. I consider myself very chill and indifferent when it comes to bad leadership mostly because I believe I am a natural born leader, always have been, even on the playground, and bad, manipulative leadership really irritates me. I hate when people take advantage of others because of a position they’ve been given. I've learned you can mostly just learn from them on how not to be a leader when you're given that opportunity to be one. It's very rare that you can lovingly correct a bad leader and they will happily and humbly take it and grow from it.
So back to me being passive aggressive and indifferent. A few years back I was these things as well as very unconfident in myself. And when leadership would try to push me out of my comfort zone, because I'm also extremely stubborn, they couldn't get me to do anything no matter how hard they tried. But thankfully I have grown over the years and frequently step outside of my comfort zone. But just like a parent will forever see their kid as a kid, no matter how grown they are, bad leadership will often more than not forever see you how you used to be and completely glaze over the fact that after a few years of knowing you, you have changed. But side note, thank God for change because as a leader myself being surrounded by people under you that never grow sounds absolutely horrible. As a leader, I'm not here to babysit your butt forever. All this to say that a manipulative leader can also, whether purposely or not, keep you where you're at so they are never surpassed. These kinds of leaders are insecure and therefore manipulative. They will keep a passive person where they are at and patronize you when you do speak up to make you feel like you haven't grown at all and what you have to say is "cute" but not welcomed and please don’t try again.
Beware of manipulative leaders. Pray for manipulative leaders. Like I said, they may not always be doing it on purpose. Sometimes it's so subconscious they don't realize they are doing it. But they will keep you stuck and make you feel like you will never grow or never have. A good leader will lead you on a path to becoming better if not as good as them.
A good leader will recognize a passive person's passivity and speak up for them in a way that gives them a safe space to speak up for themselves. A good leader will say, "You know you can come to me with any concerns you may have". They will say, "You know you don't have to say 'Yes' to overtime when I ask if you want more hours." They will say those "open door" words that give a passive person the freedom and the safety they need to be able to speak what is really on their mind because as a good leader you know they would never have the guts to do it. A good leader will also encourage a passive person to continue to speak up for themselves. They will affirm that what this person is feeling is valid and deserves to be shared with everyone around them. A good leader will also always see potential in those serving under them and will speak life into their potential until it becomes reality. And once it becomes reality will cheerfully encourage them to surpass their ability.
Good leaders encourage growth. Manipulative leaders stifle it. Which leader are you? Which kinds of leaders do you serve/work under?