Is Dominant Leadership Better?

There is a school of thought that anything but strong, dominant leadership limits the chances for success.

Jim Collins – “Good to Great” suggests that sustainable success has been achieved by a more consultative, S-style leadership.

However, case studies like Moses and Aaron and the outcomes of their action tend to prolong the debate about the value of dominance as a leadership strategy.

Moses’ Dominant-style seems to have worked better in getting “followers” to remain true to the game plan than Aaron’s Influencer-style. Aaron allowed the people to talk him into allowing them to create man-made Gods.

On the other hand, Moses showed strength and firm leadership to put down the Dathan, Abiram rebellion.

Does that make the D-style “better”? No, each style works best in given situations and terribly in others.

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Moses’ Missing Mindset

Moses's Missing Mindset

Moses demonstrated a lot of qualities that are linked to D-style behavior in the D-I-S-C Framework. These include decisiveness and daring.

Moses also displayed the classical D-I-S-C Framework recognition of an absence of Patience in the D-style mindset.

Moses smashed the tablets of stone to pieces when he realized that the Israelites had created idols.

Most notably, Moses struck the rock to produce water in a bout of frustration at the disgusting behavior of the Israelites. He was instructed to “speak to the rock”. That bit of impatience actually cost him his place in the Promised Land.

We should also recall that he killed the Egyptian who was abusing one of his countrymen.

Moses seemed to have a relatively short fuse. That is in keeping with D-I-S-C Framework analysis of classic D-style behavior.

A Compliance-wanting God?

There is a popular view that an all-wise God would not be as fussy as some Christians think about “details concerning salvation.”

Numbers 20 provides important insights into God’s attitude towards the level of obedience he expects with respect to specific instructions.

God provided Moses with a staff which he used to perform numerous miracles and could be deemed to give Moses special powers.

40 years earlier than the incident at the Waters of Meribah that is recounted in Numbers 20, God instructed Moses to strike a rock with his staff to produce water for the rebellious Israelites.

In the 40th year of the exodus the next generation are rebelling about water among other things. God instructs Moses to “take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.”

40 years after, God demands that Moses discards his previous experience, control his anger and follow these new specific instructions. Moses was to speak not strike.

We read in verse 11 that Moses was actually successful in getting water for the community and their livestock. But verse 12 is telling. “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring the community into the land I give them.”

After confronting Pharaoh and struggling with leading the Israelites going into the 40th year, Moses is going to be denied access to the Promised Land.

Is this a compliance-wanting God?

What are your thoughts?