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The Four Styles of Leadership

Being a leader has several traits; an overview of what it takes to be a leader and how to be an effectively and a capably lead a team.

Directing involves:

. giving clear instructions

. Constant guidance

. Close supervision and monitoring

Works best with people who have low competence and high commitment. those who:

. have little experience

. out-of-date skills. are willing and able to 'learn on the job'

. are willing and able to 'learn on the job'

. are hard working, and keen to learn and develop

Coaching involves:

. One-to-one sessions where people can learn from watching or listening to someone who has high-level skills and expertise.

. Taking the time and making the effort to discuss possibilities, options , alternatives and different approaches.

Works best with people who have some competence and some commitment. those who:

. need training to enable them to hone and refine their skills

. Work adequately but who need to be motivated if they are to do their best work


. providing ongoing support and encouragement

. Offering positive, constructive feedback to maintain high energy and motivation
' Works best with people who have high competence and variable commitment. those who:

. Although highly skilled and experienced can sometimes be tempted to cut corners to save time, or their own energy

. Are able to work unsupervised, but who need to know that their leader is on their side and will support them whenever necessary.

Delegating involves:

. delegating the work and then standing back and allowing the member of staff to get on with the job and produce the required results in their own way

. letting the member of staff know that they have your support and confidence

. trusting and letting go

Works best with people who have high competence and high commitment. those who:

. consistently produce high quality work

. enjoy responsibility

. respond well to freedom

. take the initiative, even in difficult circumstances

. Welcome new challenges and learning and development opportunities.

Leadership Attributes and behaviours

When you have completed this unit you will be able to:

. Identify the attributes and personal equalities needed by an effective leader

. describe the behaviours used by effective leaders

. evaluate your own leadership behaviour

John Adair (1984) describes how, when asked to rank leadership attributes in order of importance, a cross-section of chief executives arrived at the following list:

1. ability to take decisions
2. willingness to lead
3. integrity
4 enthusiasm
5. imagination
6. willingness to work hard
7. the ability to analyse -data, people and situations
8. the ability to understand people
9. the ability to spot opportunities
10. the ability to adapt quickly to change
12. willingness to take risks
13. enterprise
14. the ability to speak clearly and effectively
15. astuteness
16. administration skills
17. open-mindedness
18. ability to stick with it
19. willingness to work long hours
20. ambition
21. single-mindedness
22. the ability to write clearly and effectively
23. curiosity
24. skill with numbers
25. the capacity for abstract thought

Every effective leader, regardless of his or her specialist knowledge:

. leads from the front and models the behaviour and attitudes they want their colleagues and subordinates to demonstrate

. understands the importance of holding to their own principles and values and retaining their integrity and professionalism in all business dealings

. respects the views, opinions and beliefs

Which leadership qualities and attributes do you need to develop to help you become more effective in a leadership role?

How can you best develop these qualities and attributes? Through:

. further training?
. shadowing and observing a more experienced leader whilst he or she is working?

. gaining wider practical experience leader whilst he or she is working?

. gaining wider practical experience of the leadership role?

. discussing leadership issues with a trusted colleague, mentor or 'wise friend'?

. taking some other action? If so, what?

Research shows that the 'top ten' attributes necessary for effective leadership are thought to be:

1. Ability to take decisions

2. Willingness to lead

3. integrity

4. Enthusiasm

5. imagination

6. Willingness to work hard
7. Ability to analyse people, data and situations

8. Ability to understand people

9. Ability to spot opportunities

10. Ability to meet unpleasant situations

Bennis and Nabus (1985)

these authors have identified the following:

1. Leaders have the ability to accept people as they are -rather than as the leader might prefer them to be.

2. Leaders have the capacity to approach relationships and problems in terms of the present, rather than the past rather than rehashing what has gone before, leaders learn from past mistakes and move on.

3. Leaders have the ability to treat those people who are close to them with the same courteous attention that they would extend to strangers and acquaintances. they listen to what people are saying, pay close attention to what people are doing, and take no one-for granted.

4. Leaders have the ability to trust others, even if the risk seems great. Effective leaders take the view that it is better to run the risk of being deceived or disappointed, rather than taking it for granted that people are incompetent or insincere.

5. Leaders are able to function effectively without the need for constant approval or recognition from others. they recognise that it is part of the leader's job to take risks and make tough decisions and they get on with the job, and do it to the very best of their ability.

Stephen Covey (1920)

Covey suggests effective leaders:

. are proactive

. do things with an end in mind

. manage their personal priorities

. operate on a win-win basis

. empathise - first understand, then be understood

. work to create synergy

. preserve and enhance their productive capacity - physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual

For more information about synergy, see the High Performance Teams work book which forms part of the diploma programme.

Hastings et al (1986)

These authors suggest that leaders:

. provide direction and create an environment that stimulates performance

. monitor performance and reward outstanding performance

. ensure two-way flow of information, resources and support

Burgoyne and Stuart (1976)

These have identified the following as the attributes of the most successful managers and leaders:

1. Command of basic facts

2. Relevant professional knowledge

3. Continuing sensitivity to events

4. Analytical, problem-solving, decision/judgement-making skills

5. Social skills and abilities

6. Emotional resilience

7. Productivity - inclination to respond purposefully to events

8. Creativity

9. Mental agility

10. Balance learning habits and skills

11. Self-knowledge

Excerpts from The University of Leicester Diploma in Management Resource Development International (RDI) Jamaica.
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