Tyranny Versus Leadership: A Personal Example

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Not all leaders are tyrants, and no tyrants are leaders, because a tyrant does not meet my definition of leader. A leader should be someone who can inspire others to be their best and help a group achieve a goal or objective. A leader is in a position of power, but doesn’t abuse that power. A tyrant might be in a position of power, but uses the power in abusive ways. The tyrant might try to lead, but instead inflicts pain and misery on those within his control. I have encountered those relationships a few times in my life. The relationship I recall is one of my high school coaches.

I think some people I encountered were great leaders. One I have encountered was able to recognize the accomplishments of others. If there was a mistake made or if there was an area of improvement, the leader was able to state it in a way that was still encouraging, helping me to focus on areas I needed to improve rather than put me down for the mistakes that were made. The good example of a leader was able to have mutual respect for those below him. He was able to lead by example. Everyone admired the good leader and wanted to be like him because he had qualities such as compassion, empathy, mutual respect, a belief that we were all equal. We weren’t reminded constantly that he held power over us. We felt like we were in equal partnership, co creators towards a common goal. The good leader was hardworking and did not exact upon us anything that he would not do himself. I think teachers have the power for mentoring and sound leadership, to bring out the best in their students.

The tyrannous situation I was in was with a coach. I had a basketball coach that was the complete opposite of my idea of a great leader and my experiences with a great leader. He yelled at us every single practice and would make us run miles and miles as punishment. He would call us nasty names and four lettered words. He was never pleased with our performance. If we won a game, he told us we didn’t win with a high enough score and make us run for punishment. If we lost, he yelled louder and called us nasty names and made us run more miles. He wasn’t encouraging in any way. He was verbally abusive and treated me and all my team members like garbage. He acted like he hated all of us, and constantly threatened us, telling us that we would not be on the team and he should just kick us all off so we couldn’t play anymore.

My basketball coach was a tyrant because he didn’t lead us. He abused us and used his power over us to do what he wanted us to do, and caused fear in everyone by threatening us all the time. He was in charge, and he led through using fear and control, but he wasn’t a leader and could have benefitted from leadership development courses. 

I think leaders are people that can inspire others to be their best at all times, and inspire others to do things for the greater good. My coach tyrant was put in a position of power, and instead of bringing out the best in his team, he abused his power, and we suffered as individuals and as a team.

The experience with my tyrant coach taught me that if I ever am in the position of power, I will follow the example of the good leader and lead by example. I will cherish every member of my team as a contributing member, acknowledge them for their strengths, help them and encourage them when they need work on certain skills, and work on my own skills so I can bring out the very best in everyone around me.