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Striking the Balance: Decisiveness vs. Dominance in Leadership

In this post, we'll explore the difference between decisiveness and dominance and how balance can lead to positive leadership.
Skip Bowman, keynote speaker on psychological safety and growth mindset


Leadership is a delicate dance between being decisive and avoiding dominance. While decisiveness is a valuable trait that enables effective decision-making and progress, dominance can stifle creativity, hinder collaboration, and create an environment of fear and resentment. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between being decisive and being dominant, and how striking the right balance can foster a positive and empowering leadership style.

Understanding Decisiveness

Decisiveness is a quality that enables leaders to make timely, well-informed decisions. Decisive leaders possess the ability to assess information, weigh options, and take action with confidence. They inspire trust and provide clarity to their teams, creating an environment where progress can be made efficiently. Decisiveness encourages forward momentum, adaptability, and a sense of purpose, enhancing the overall effectiveness of a leader.

Differentiating Dominance

Dominance, on the other hand, is a trait characterized by excessive control, assertiveness, and a disregard for others’ opinions or contributions. Dominant leaders impose their will on others, stifling creativity and discouraging open dialogue. This can lead to a toxic work environment where team members feel undervalued, voiceless, and reluctant to share their ideas. Dominance undermines trust, collaboration, and the potential for collective growth.

The Impact on Team Dynamics

Decisive leaders can inspire their teams and foster an atmosphere of productivity and engagement. By providing clear direction and making timely decisions, they empower team members to focus on their respective tasks, driving efficiency and progress. In contrast, dominant leaders create an atmosphere of fear, inhibiting open communication and hindering collaboration. This diminishes the potential for creativity, innovation, and the emergence of diverse perspectives.

Striving for Balance

Striking the right balance between decisiveness and dominance is key to effective leadership. It involves being assertive while remaining open to input and feedback from team members. Leaders should actively encourage collaboration, listen to diverse viewpoints, and create space for constructive dialogue. Emphasizing transparency and inclusivity allows for the exploration of various ideas and perspectives, which can lead to better decision-making and a stronger sense of ownership within the team.

Cultivating Empowered Leadership

To cultivate empowered leadership, it is crucial to embrace a collaborative and inclusive approach. Leaders should foster an environment where team members feel valued, respected, and encouraged to contribute their unique insights. By recognizing the strengths and expertise of their team, leaders can harness the collective intelligence to make informed decisions and achieve shared goals. Empowered leadership inspires trust, fosters innovation, and nurtures a culture of continuous growth.


Leadership is a delicate balance between decisiveness and dominance. Decisiveness enables leaders to make informed decisions and drive progress, while dominance hinders collaboration and stifles creativity. Striking the right balance involves being assertive yet open to input, fostering collaboration and inclusivity, and creating an environment where every team member feels valued. By embracing a balanced leadership style, we can cultivate empowered teams, foster innovation, and create a positive and inspiring work culture. Let us strive to be decisive leaders who empower others and pave the way for collective success.

Skip Bowman, keynote speaker on psychological safety and growth mindset

Skip Bowman

Author of Safe2Great, keynote speaker on psychological safety and growth mindset

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