In 1982, after I returned from my stint teaching English in Libya where I had a couple personal encounters with Qaddafi, I publicly declared that his days were numbered. I thought that any leader as feared and hated as he was would not last. I was correct that his days were numbered! However, I was thinking at most three years, not 30.

What was it that enabled him to remain in power for so long and does he disprove servant leadership theories? I don’t have time to fully delve into this here, but, in brief, his barbaric intimidation leadership style does not disprove servant leadership theories, rather it demonstrates them by antithesis. Leadership authors will certainly spend many words commenting on his leadership methods, few if any will be complementary. Few or none will admire Qaddafi for his ability to remain in leadership for four decades. Instead they will join the people who suffered under his cruel reign and criticize him.

Conclusion, if bullying is bad, servant leadership is good.