the ceo magazine, leadership,
Wesley Middleton, Author, Violent Leadership: Be a Force for Change. Disrupt. Innovate. Energize

Traditionally, an effective leader was seen as someone equipped with a variety of skills essential for them to grow a business. This notion has remained a part of our belief for a long time, and because of this notion, we expect leaders to be experts at everything. However, this expectation brings massive pressure and is now seen as ineffective by many. While becoming a leader entails work that grows a business, it should not include the leader being responsible for every task.

Becoming a Violent Leader

The concept of Violent leadership takes forward the notion mentioned above and builds a complete and progressive leadership style. The first step to incorporating violent leadership into your business is to recognize your weaknesses as a leader. Even though this sounds counter-effective, the idea is to realize the need for building a team to achieve success.

Violent leadership requires the leader to disrupt the status quo and realize the importance of delegation. The whole concept revolves around the idea that no one can achieve perfection and thus, it is important to identify the key skills that you can use to make the things around you better. A leader should be able to work on the company rather than for the company. This is important because everyone you meet or hire has a particular skill set that they can use to benefit the whole business. If a person is responsible for more than they can handle, the result is a “jack of all trades, master of none” syndrome which negatively impacts a business by not letting every individual reach their true potential.

Steps to Becoming a Violent Leader

1. Understand the Risks

First, get a handle on the risks associated with going against the traditional style of leadership. Becoming a violent leader requires you to disrupt the status quo and restructure the whole organization. All of this is done for the betterment of the business and to reduce the burden on each member. You need to understand the economic costs associated with such a step are necessary to reach a level where every individual, including yourself, has the opportunity to wear the right "hat" and reach their potential. Once you have accepted and understood the risks, you can then move forward with the implementation of a new and innovative structure for your organization.

2. Identify Needs of the Business

The second step is to identify the needs of your organization. This is an extremely important step, especially in the case of a small business. In a small business, you do not have a lot of resources that you can use to restructure the business. Hence, it is important to first identify and prioritize the needs of the business to get a better understanding of what is essential and required to reach a certain level of success. Remember, the purpose of changing your current style of leadership is to allow everyone to reach their optimal levels and work towards the betterment of the business. After identifying the needs of the business, it is time to prioritize all these needs and match them with your current resources.

3. Decide on the Right Hat

Before you start doing a thorough analysis of every resource, it is a good idea to know which hat you are going to wear. Many leaders fail to achieve their goals due to the belief that they can succeed in wearing more than one hat. By making yourself responsible for more than one role you invite a higher chance of failure. It takes a significant amount of courage to realize your weaknesses, which is why this is an essential step to take before becoming a violent leader. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you can decide what role to take, or rather which "hat" to wear. This will give everyone clarity and will take a significant amount of pressure off your shoulders.

4. Delegate

Once you have recognized your weaknesses, it is time to fill in the gaps and look for people who can help you fill these gaps and take the business to a whole new level. By delegating work, you will witness more productivity and will be able to use the valuable skills of your employees. So your job is to not only choose the right hat for yourself but also to choose the right hats for everyone involved in the business.


Even though the process of incorporating Violent Leadership in your organization can be daunting at first, this disruption of the structure allows you to build an innovative and stronger structure that will help the business achieve growth and success.

About the Author

Wesley Middleton is the author of Violent Leadership: Be a Force for Change. Disrupt. Innovate. Energize. (ForbesBooks), co-founder and managing partner of Middleton Raines + Zapata LLP (MRZ), a tax and accounting services firm, and is also an executive team member for MRZ Financial and SKY Valuation. Middleton is a certified public accountant and member of the AICPA, Texas Society of CPAs, and the Association of Accounting Marketing.





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