Leadership vs Dominance

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Rottiefan

New Member
English- British Standard English
Hi everyone, this is my first post.

What are your reactions to the words dominance and leadership? I am currently doing a little investigation into their denotative and connotative meanings. Generally, I haven't found much difference. However, I have found some evidence to suggest that dominance could be interpreted as a hyponym of leadership, e.g. "Leadership is maintained through dominance over others".

In an animal behaviour context, and specifically a canine behaviour/dog training context, there is some discrepancy between the terms. In dog training, people make a distinction between showing 'dominance' and showing 'leadership'. I want to focus my investigation on this particularly, and see if there is some kind of semantic layering appearing, arising from this dog training literature.

So what's everyone's reaction to these two words? Positive, negative, their relationship, how they portray a person/being in charge/control or having influence over others?

Thanks a lot
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    I'm a little puzzled by "Generally, I haven't found much difference". Would you really find these acceptable?

    "The president is demonstrating great dominance skills." (rather than "leadership")

    "I'm sick of living in my father's shadow, putting up with his need for leadership." (rather than "dominance")

    They both sound extremely odd to me.

    Can you explain how you see these two as interchangeable in such contexts?

    How would you handle the common expression "leadership through service"? Can it really be "dominance through service"? I don't think so.

    Was Gandhi's leadership attained through dominance over others? Do recent events in North Africa support the interpretation of "leadership is maintained through dominance over others" as a successful long-term strategy? :)
     
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    Rottiefan

    New Member
    English- British Standard English
    I'm a little puzzled by "Generally, I haven't found much difference". Would you really find these acceptable?

    "The president is demonstrating great dominance skills." (rather than "leadership")

    "I'm sick of living in my father's shadow, putting up with his need for leadership." (rather than "dominance")

    They both sound extremely odd to me.

    Can you explain how you see these two as interchangeable in such contexts?

    How would you handle the common expression "leadership through service"? Can it really be "dominance through service"? I don't think so.

    Was Gandhi's leadership attained through dominance over others? Do recent events in North Africa support the interpretation of "leadership is maintained through dominance over others" as a successful long-term strategy? :)
    Hi there, thanks for the reply.

    I agree, they are not interchangeable. What I meant was I have not found much difference in how they defined, in a number of dictionaries. I am now looking into corpus data.

    What I have found evidence for is that leadership can include dominance, so Ghandi may have not dominated to lead, but it can make sense to say that. I know that leadership is a more positive term and dominance implies force, coercion etc., but I'm struggling to find any concrete examples to prove this, to be honest!

    Thanks
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Here are a few quotes that might help:

    "My definition of a leader . . . is a man who can persuade people to do what they don't want to do, or do what they're too lazy to do, and like it." — Harry S. Truman, 1884-1972, Thirty-third President of the United States, Miller, More Plain Speaking

    "As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; the next, the people hate." — Lao Tse, 604-531 B. C., Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism, Tao Te Ching

    "Leadership is the art of influencing and directing people in such a way that will win their obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in achieving common objectives." — U. S. Air Force

    Found on this page:​

     
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