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The Five OZ Leaders

Below are the five leaders most typically found in OZ organizations. See if you recognize any of them. If you have ever had an OZ boss, or have one now, and want to share your experience, enter the OZ Forum and share your experiences with us.

Wizard Leaders

Wizard Leaders have big egos. They pretend there is no one else in the organization that can equal them in power or intelligence.

To maintain this illusion, they stay hidden behind a curtain of secrecy and use lots of smoke and mirrors to distract others from their short-comings. They will go to almost any lengths to protect their ego and the image they work so hard to maintain.


  • Use command and control tactics to keep everyone in line.
  • Stay distant and disconnected from the workforce.
  • Make assumptions based on their own “wisdom” rather than consult with anyone, especially the “little people.”
  • Congratulate themselves whenever things go right.
  • Point an accusing finger at employees whenever things go wrong.
  • “Reward” good employees with additional challenges and more work.
  • Make promises they know they can’t keep.
  • Expect others to follow the rules without question.
  • Rule through fear and intimidation.
  • Are inauthentic and don’t know how to get real.


Scarecrow Leaders

Scarecrow leaders are not using their brains wisely. They fall apart too easily and even though they have the brains and ability to do better, this fact is rarely self-recognized or taken advantage of.

Scarecrows mindlessly follow organizational rules and, because they do, they tend to move along the organizational path relatively well as long as there are no hazards along the way.  They rely heavily on their own emotional feedback, and because they are often emotionally immature, the feedback is erratic and unpredictable.


  • Pander to superiors.
  • Do whatever the Wizard says without questioning the wisdom of it.
  • Blindly follow rules and do everything by the book, even if the rules are not working.
  • Fail to communicate with employees effectively yet have no inclination to learn better communication skills.
  • Cultivate and maintain a network of relationships that support their co-dependent behaviors.
  • Avoid, rather than resolve conflict.
  • Don’t develop themselves (leadership skills for example).
  • Can seem very supportive, but don’t teach, train or develop others through effective feedback or guidance.
  • Expect others to figure out how to do the job on their own.
  • Intimidated by change.
  • Fail to solve problems.
  • See most unforeseen events as negative and approach them with skepticism and trepidation.
  • Lack perseverance in the face of challenges, but insist that others persevere.
  • Lack curiosity and creativity.


Tin Man Leaders

Tin Man leaders are not too hard to recognize. They act cold and hard as nails and have a stiff, unyielding demeanor. Like the Tin Man in the story of Oz, this leader has a heart in there somewhere, but many don’t seem to know it and those who do know try very hard not to let it show. Often heartless leaders have kept their caring side hidden away for so long that they have forgotten it is even there.


  • Are disconnected from employees, subordinates and many of their peers to focus on appeasing superiors and shareholders.
  • Are disconnected from their own feelings to adhere to the corporate focus on “get it done” and “get it right.”
  • Use rules and requirements to justify their behaviors and ensure compliance. Don’t necessarily follow the rules themselves, but insist that others do.
  • Do not attempt to communicate on any meaningful level. Prefer to hide behind superiors and simply pass on orders.
  • Can be intimidating and infuriating though they often fail to see this in themselves.
  • Those who dislike people, tend to seek out other heartless Tin Men to validate the rightness of their lack of empathy.
  • When it comes to conflict, the non-people types seek it out, glory in it, gain energy from it and use to sustain their sense of power. Their approach to conflict is “bring it on!” The people-oriented types try to avoid conflict to the point of creating it.
  • Employee development focuses on job-specific technical skills that ensure the job gets done right.
  • Expect others to perform their job exactly as told. Any other way is wrong.
  • Don’t motivate and inspire others. Prefer to coerce, intimidate or manipulate.
  • Only embrace changes they or the company initiate.
  • Dictate solutions rather than problem solve.
  • See unforeseen situations as negative, but attack them when they occur in an attempt to control the outcome.
  • Feel they need to always be calling the shots.
  • Some of this type lack empathy—cannot see other people’s point of view and don’t really care about their employees’ personal needs. Some have too much empathy and have shut it down to prevent looking “weak.”


Cowardly Lion Leaders

The biggest problem with Cowardly Lion leaders is that they don’t have the courage to make hard decisions and follow through on them, but they don’t want anyone to know this. They reason that if they look tough enough and mean enough, no one will ever get close enough to realize they are really softies who often feel uncertain and insecure.

For the Cowardly Lion, the bravado is not about feeding a big ego as many assume. It’s about hiding their frailties. They usually work very hard at maintaining the tough, intimidating image because it is actually quite foreign to their true nature. Most Cowardly Lions would really prefer to follow someone else’s lead and maintain a more laid-back, easy-going pace. They don’t like conflict so try to keep a low profile and side-step sticky issues rather than face them. They avoid tough issues they really should be addressing and defer decisions to others whenever possible.


  • Appear to be in agreement with superiors and will easily acquiesce to their suggestions and demands, but don’t often follow through. Like a weather vain in the wind, their focus points in whatever direction the leader of the moment suggests.
  • May privately disagree with the position of their superior, yet will publicly agree and even seem enthusiastic about the initiative, but will rarely actually carry the enthusiasm forward.
  • When it comes to rules, does not want to look like the bad guy, but will play the game when superiors are watching. When superiors are not watching will defer compliance of rules to team members or an unofficial leader on their team.
  • Empathetic listeners who really would like to help their team succeed, but are afraid of their superiors, so often come across as tough at times and easy-going at times leaving employees confused.
  • Tend to have a few close friends and confidants, but do not have a strong network of people. Tend to protect their position by maintaining distance.
  • Avoid conflict and will hand it off to any willing volunteer.
  • Open to learning and developing themselves as leaders, but in OZ organizations, the assertiveness training they need to be more effective is often not made available.
  • Very open to employee development. Understand that effective employees make them look better.
  • Open to allowing their employees to perform their work in their own way. Tends to encourage rather than coerce.
  • Try to motivate employees by encouraging them and allowing them to decide for themselves. This typically backfires and leads to frustration rather than motivation.
  • Greatly dislike change, which is anxiety producing for them. They are intimidated by the new and different.
  • Defer problem-solving to others. This is not delegation, but deference. Others are allowed to decide how the problem should be solved.
  • When it comes to meeting challenges, theirs is leadership by abdication. They find meeting challenges draining and avoid it.
  • Lack assertiveness skills, which is an essential and always learned skill. They are not naturally bold and need training to help them manage the fear that conflict brings up.


Wicked Witch Leaders

Wicked Witch leaders are truly mean, and they seek to visit their negativity on everyone around them. They tend to surround themselves with “Flying Monkeys,” informants who do their bidding and report everything anyone does back to the Witch, who is quick to punish. Any employee brave enough to stand up to the hostility of Witch-like leaders is quickly brought down so few will dare to oppose the Witch or openly express their views. When they do there are serious consequences to be paid.


  • Believe all of life is a win/lose proposition and they are determined to be the winner.
  • Tend to tell their superiors what they want to hear and then do whatever they please.
  • They find a subordinate they can sacrifice as a scapegoat when things go wrong, as they often do.
  • Live on the negative end of the spectrum so their reactions tend to be negative – anger, frustration, blame, a false sense of injustice, etc.
  • They love rules and use them as weapons, not just to control, but to inflict pain and suffering.
  • Communication is non-existent except to issue orders to their minions and underlings so the underlings will do the dirty work and the Witch can stay above the fray.
  • Build a pseudo-network through fear and intimidation. People comply to avoid being the target of the Witch’s ire.
  • Use conflict to their advantage. Set one person against another to ensure everyone is off-balance, on edge, compliant and blind to the Witch’s behaviors.
  • Avoid personal development and any suggestion of it. Their behaviors are based in low self-esteem and they are terrified that this fact may come out in training.
  • Employee development is a process of fire and replace. They believe employees should walk in the door with every necessary capability.
  • Employees cannot make mistakes and there are no second chances. Perform or get fired.
  • Believe that people are naturally lazy and only perform when coerced. Any “motivation” is negative motivation, such as humiliation and threats.
  • Have a long memory for mistakes and always seek pay back.
  • Use change as a way to keep people unsettled and unsure so their commands are less likely to be questioned. Use change as a fear inducer and manipulation device.
  • Do not handle problems themselves. They issue orders to others in a “go take care if this” manner and then punish the poor soul who gets chosen for the job if it isn’t done properly.
  • Meet challenges by manipulating their “monkeys”. They are always willing to send the troops into battle, but never willing to go in themselves. Then if failure occurs, the troops can be blamed.
  • Don’t see personal development as at all necessary. They think they already know all they need to know. Their position is that if they don’t already know it, it has no value. They see “soft skills” (how to work effectively with people) as valueless and will rarely invest in the development of them.