Omnipotent Leadership Versus Symbolic Leadership

Leadership is the ability to motivate and empower another person or a group of people to accomplish a particular task. There are different types of leadership determined by the actions of the leaders, and the followers as well as the underlying conditions affecting the actions of leaders. While there are many types of leaderships, this article will compare and contrast Omnipotent Leadership and Symbolic Leadership.

Omnipotent Leadership

Omnipotent leadership is a type of leadership where the leader or manager has indefinite control over his/her subjects, organizations and both the functions and operations of the organization he/she is leading. Since the leader has unlimited power, he/she is responsible for either the success or the failures encountered.

Symbolic Leadership

In symbolic leadership, the leader or manager has a limited control and influence over the organization and its success or failure because of several factors beyond his/her control. Nelson Mandela while in prison, exemplified symbolic leadership because his ability to influence the anti-apartheid movement was limited yet the movement continued to grow more powerful.

Differences between Omnipotent Leadership and Symbolic Leadership

In omnipotent leadership, the manager or leader is responsible for the success or failure of the organization while in symbolic leadership, external factors beyond the leader’s control are responsible for the success or failure of the organization.

In omnipotent leadership, the quality of outcomes of an organization are dependent on the quality of the leader while in symbolic leadership, the quality of outcomes is affected and constrained by external conditions hence not necessarily dependent on the actions of the leader.

Omnipotent leadership holds the managers or leaders accountable for the performance of the organization and its employees while symbolic leadership holds external factors, such as; economy, market demand, governmental rules and regulations, technology, compensation and competitors, accountable for performance of the organization and its employees.

Omnipotent leaders, though accountable for performance, hardly influence good or bad performance with their actions while symbolic leaders influence performance through their actions, for instance, they lead by example.

In conclusion, this article defined leadership before comparing and contrasting the difference between omnipotent and symbolic leadership styles. It drew a conclusion that an omnipotent leader has power and control over the organization and is thus responsible for either the success or failure of the organization while symbolic leader, on the other hand, faces external conditions that are beyond his/her control and thus the success or failure of an organization is determined by these conditions and not his/her leadership.

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