Dominator or Liberator: What Kind of Leader Are You?

If you share the room with a dominator, you know it. How, you may ask? When this person takes the head of the table they take all the energy, while others around them grow dim. This style of leadership is trending quite alive within the corporate habitat today and isn’t just bad for those at the table, it’s bad for the entire organization.

Contrastingly, leaders who are liberators rapidly advance the capacity of their followers, increasing the competence of individuals while accelerating capacity for organizational productivity and innovation.

Research shows that Liberators draw more effort, energy and achievement from their teams than those who clench and dominate. They don’t just access the best people have to offer; they “stretch” the best people have to offer.


Answer these questions:

  • Do you view competence and credibility as something just a few people possess?
  • When you engage others, do you tend to find only those who are proven, that you might gain an edge from?

If you answered “no” to the above, congrats! You have most likely pushed beyond insecurity and are aptly followed as one “for others” and one others want to follow.

An answer of “yes” in my book is not to be scorned, rather celebrated as a test of honest character, while also pointing to some securing to be done to course correct a “for me” culture where others have to follow.

This distinction matters. Liberators and Dominator types may equally treat customers with the same level of care; they both might even understand organizational planning at high levels. However, each have traits differing fundamentally in the ways they approach thinking, talent, challenges, decisions, and ownership within their influence.

It isn’t about your team’s competence, it is how much of that competence the leader can draw out and maximize for the good of the organization.

Dominion Builders

Because “Dominion Builders” tend to fall within the Dominator band of behaviors, they have a different relationship to talent. These leaders can attract it, but they do little to improve talent once it reports for work. Instead, they build up a workforce to bolster their own agendas and images. Talent under this leader’s influence goes unnoticed and is rarely nurtured or promoted. People who work for Dominion Builders lose their edge and have a difficult time finding empowerment or their next opportunities.

To avoid the pull of Dominating Behaviors and Dominion Building tendencies, follow the Liberator approach to strengthening your bench:

  1. Stay on Watch– Liberators know competence comes in many flavors and types. Sample them all to deal most productively with the range of problems that challenge your organization.
  2. Find the Natural Genius in Your Team – Learn your team’s natural wiring and what skills come easily to them so you can identify contributions they can make without exhausting their time, energy, and passions.
  3. Build Team Capacity– Once you know the areas in which your people excel, give them responsibilities that tap into it. Set them free to do their best work.
  4. Avoid Trip Wires– Health Warning: When you are intentional to build relational apprenticeship to personally coach and invest in a teammate, know that the “herd of insecurity” may see this as a threat. Stay aware of the resisters who may stand in your way or those passively hiding behind self-protecting walls of preservation.

Liberators Fight For the Highest Good In Those They Serve!


Interested in learning more about transforming your leadership team culture? Contact us