The People Eater

I met one of my alumni for coffee today. The time I spend with my alumni is always thoroughly enjoyable. We chatted about dozens of things. I’d like to share one of them with you.

People-eaters. What is a people-eater? In leadership, I think a people-eater is a leader who uses his or her followers with no regard as to their growth and development. They’re interested in squeezing out the last ounce of energy, the last drop of commitment. They do so strictly for their own reasons, though these reasons may have the intended or accidental effect of helping the greater good. Whether it does so or not, the people-eater leaders will drive followers to the physical, emotional, or spiritual breaking point in order to reach a goal.

In my coffee meeting today, my alumni and I talked about Steve Jobs as seeming to be one of those people-eater leaders. Yes, we’ve all benefited (more or less) by Jobs’s achievements. Still, if you read anything about Jobs you’ll quickly learn that it came at a great cost to those who were his most immediate followers.

My alumni and I agreed that someone like Abraham Lincoln is the antithesis of the people-eater leader.

Have you ever been around a people-eater leader?