The Sub-Group Leader

This essay will be a bit different in that I will be writing about a discovery I made in the office of a dentist I worked with. I call what I uncovered the “sub-group leader.” This leader is not the actual leader, the owner, or the person where the real power resides. Yet, they hold power over some of the staff.

Sub-group leaders are employees and usually talented at what they do and therefore have value to the real leader. In small professional offices, there is only room for one. In large organizations, they will be found at every level where employee groups work together. Whether they are a positive or a negative force depends entirely on the actual leader’s behavior and the environment they create. If that leader is weak or overbearing, it creates the ideal environment for the sub-group leader to emerge and thrive. 

Suppose the real leader communicates well, nurturing and empowering their key people to an elevated level of dialogue, as would occur in as flat an organization as possible. In that environment, the sub-group leader cannot exist or will be exposed. In that situation, they will self-eliminate because they love their power and will go elsewhere seeking to be a sub-group leader once again. Why? Because being in power over others is, to many, the “aphrodisiac” they feel it is.

If relationships between the true leader and their key people, including the inner circle, exist as a pyramid with multiple levels of authority, it is almost guaranteed that a sub-group leader is running a part of the organization and being paid to do their thing.  

Someone leads my staff—I think it is me that does—Maybe, maybe not?


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

One thought on “The Sub-Group Leader”

  1. I have seen a situation in an office where the owner was unable to be the “bad guy” and had a sub-group leader keep the limits and get clients to pay promptly. I saw how the sub-group leader thrived on power. You’re right Sy, this would not have worked for the sub-group leader if they were not allowed power. At first it confused me because I didn’t understand why the sub-group leader could be harsh in wielding their power, but your essay explains that this was the way the owner of the business wanted it.

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