The Chair An Essay About Leading the Group

The Chair
The Psychology of Group Leadership

An Essay About Managing Groups
by Pauline Douglas

Roasted, Toasted or Fried?

Psychology of Managing GroupsHaving been in business for nearly four decades and commanding work forces ranging from just myself up to 450 employees, you could assume there would be a certain level of comfort with being the guy up front  ...  unfortunately for most self-made or ignorant Commanders In Chief, managing the mob is 20% satisfying and 80% sheer terror. 

Tall Poppy Syndrome on Steroids.

Being involved with Toastmaster Clubs for many years, (an excellent Leadership Program) it was an opportunity to observe Tall Poppy in action within groups. 

Each year a new Club President and Committee would be voted in, often to a group of inexperienced Leaders.  Almost like Déjà Vu the club members would be relieved to see the resigning committee go and be excited about the new incoming leadership. 

Just as predictably however, as the year progressed, the members could become disgruntled with the Committee who would invariably turn blame onto the President. 


The Nappy Factor

The Nappy Factor is an interesting Leadership nuance that suggests that a group can unconsciously digress into a kindergarten scenario. 

The Nappy FactorJust like children testing the boundaries of their parents the members will use their best dominating behaviors to undermine the leadership.  Destructive factions can materialize and leaders in turn resort to unfavorable responses to take back authority. 

Proactive Leadership


The first step to prevent Tall Poppy occurring in the group is to ensure that the group is aware of the Nappy Factor and impress upon all members that leadership is a token role even within an organization and can only work with the support of the group.

The result will be a Proactive Leader supported by an extraordinary group of individuals who will work together as a power cell.  When conflict shows up the group can be reminded of the Nappy Factor which will bring the group back on track.

Using this technique our Toastmasters Club of 2019 received a Presidents Distinguished honor, but in truth the President was carried by the work and enthusiasm of the group.

Proactive Leaders know that the group members yearn for recognition and opportunities to demonstrate their abilities,  they will create those opportunities then apply large doses of recognition for effort.

Julia Gillard was the first Leader that I can recall using this technique in Politics (not even sure she was fully aware that this was her style) A  little ahead of her time Julia was sourly criticized by old school Authoritarian Politicians who felt she did not take up enough Power.

Napoleonic Leadership


Napoleonic Leaders (my way or highway) also known as "Authoritative Leadership" was the preferred choice of the Boomers Era because firing people was a common solution, making the work force more nervous and tolerant of abusive leadership.

This style of leadership is now defunct. Napoleonic Leaders are the biggest producers of group opponents so can expect high resistance, low productivity and an early heart attack.

Well ~ Think About It!