Inspiring Leader, Tyrant or Both?

Jobs Kutcher

Having just watched the film Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher in the lead role, it would be fair to say that Jobs could be described as both an Inspiring Leader or as a Tyrant – assuming that the film is a fair depiction of the truth that is.

But for the purpose of this post I am going to assume it’s accurate, as it’s the question which is of interest.

Is someone an Inspiring Leader, a Tyrant, or is it possible to be both.

In the film it came across that Jobs had a very Inspiring Vision, he fully captured the imagination of the people who worked for him, but he was uncompromising on that vision, on the quality that was needed to bring his vision to life.

And at times, it was this uncompromising nature which made him a little tyrannical too.

I doubt that he would have achieved anywhere near as much he did, had he not been so uncompromising, and he would definitely not have achieved his vision.

Having seen documentaries on George Lucas (Star Wars), he appeared to have a similar nature, he knew exactly what he wanted and was determined to get it.

Anyone who decided to stand in the way of such uncompromising people, certainly seemed to suffer their wrath, and could definitely look to use the word tyrant.

But then, what of the person who stands in the way of someone’s vision, are they not just as tyrannical too?

I think that we all have a little of the tyrant within us, especially when are not getting what would like, or if we are blocked from achieving our goals, but I don’t think that this makes us tyrant.

To me a tyrant is someone who behaves that way at will, for no apparent reason, whenever the mood strikes them, and repeatedly.

Nobody in their right mind would follow someone who just randomly roasted people for no reason, and they would never be perceived as inspiring.

So from that perspective I would say that it’s impossible to be both, both an Inspiring Leader and a Tyrant, you are either one or the other .

However, it is definitely possible for an Inspiring Leader to do tyrannical things, especially when they are uncompromising and their vision is threatened, but just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, neither does one tyrannical outburst make you a Tyrant.

We do need to make sure though, that we show remorse and apologise for any such outburst, not apologising for the reasons, but more the manifestation of outburst.

This is a very thin line to tread, and if we do not take care to limit these outburst and ensure that we do apologise for the manner, but not the cause, then very soon we will lose the Inspiring Leader label and will just be perceived as a Tyrant.

As for Jobs, I ma sure there are many many people who see his as an Inspirational figure, but I’m also sure that there is at least one or two people who just see him differently.

Take care to ensure that you are seen as you would wish!


Gordon Tredgold

Leadership Principles