Being a Benevolent Dictator Has a Nasty Reputation!

Becoming Effective in Your Business Relationships

For part three of this eight part series, visit Should Collaboration in the Workplace Be Required? on Blogging4Jobs. 

“It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, KINDNESS and GENEROSITY, OPENESS, HONESTY, UNDERSTANDING and FEELING, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.” ~ John Steinbeck

Let’s cut through the malarkey shall we?  I am so tired of talking about healthy work relationships or any other phrases that insinuate that someone gives a $&^% about what you think!  They don’t…at least for the time being.  The way I see it, we’ve got another 10 years or so before we can feel the evolving changes that will result in true effective leadership.

Deep Democracy is the 4th attitude you MUST learn to embrace to become effective in your business relationships.  Another term for deep democracy is UNDERSTANDING. Do you really desire, in the moment of conflict, the wanting to understand what’s trying to happen?  Probably not.  Most people either retreat if they are not in the position of authority, or control the situation through the misuse of rank and privilege.

The results of these bad attitudes give the look of a Benevolent Dictatorship but have the results of something truly deceitful and damaging for the sake of the business relationship.  (In a lot of ways, life was much easier when your boss would just scream at you – at least they were being authentic!)

So how do we choose to embrace the attitude of Deep Democracy?

Let’s follow the ATTITUDE formula in Part 4 of this 8 parts series:

  • Would you like to find more value and acceptance in, “Who your boss IS” instead of focusing on who he isn’t?
  • Would you like to find more value and acceptance in, “Who your co-workers ARE” instead of focusing on who they aren’t??

If you answered YES! …Then proceed to the next section to learn how to be deeply democratic.  Said differently – You WANT to UNDERSTAND the other person’s position when you disagree rather than trying to be right!

  1. Pick either one of these relationships – Boss or Co-Workers to focus on.
  2. When you think of the relationship, do you feel a level of frustration or anxiety? (psst! – This is the emotion that is driving your non-useful behavior!)
  3. Ask yourself, “What am I demanding about the relationship?”
  4. Ask yourself, “Can I always get what I want?”… “How is what I am about to say or do going to impact the business relationship?”

Let’s explore the 4th attitude

That will help you get out of your judgment of frustration or anxiety and put your focus back on being deeply democratic in your work relationships!

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” ~ Tony Robbins


Listen, don’t read all this HR material if you’re not going to put it into practice.  Allow yourself to be a little vulnerable! Go back to the questions earlier and utilize the Attitude of Deep Democracy.

Anytime we strive to understand rather than fight to be right…the relationship can immediately feel it.   Resolution remains just around the corner and the air between you and the other person feels a little better.  Can you imagine the possibilities for the business world if folks could actually master this attitude?

Attitude is Everything… and the right attitude helps you keep your eye on what the business relationship needs.

Got questions?  Write me.  Let’s practice together!

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Kathleen Mangiafico

Kathleen Mangiafico, ORSCC is a Relationship Specialist. She works with individuals and organizations on how to navigate through cultural and generational conflict. With a mix of corporate/non-profit experience and a 19 yr. culturally rich marriage (with 3 vivacious boys!), she has the expertise to shift your perspective from, "Who's doing what to whom?" to "What's trying to happen for the sake of YOUR business relationship?" Connect with Kathleen.

Reader Interactions


  1. Steve MacDonald says

    Great article Kathleen! I love the last line, attitude is everything! Whatever profession we are into we will be successful if we have the right attitude.



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