Leadership: Four Styles

Article excerpt

Overview of Leadership Styles

The Four Styles narrative of Leadership is written in three sections, which are Overview of Leadership Styles, Analysis of Leadership Styles, and Applications of Leadership Styles. While the primary foundation for its development was generated from more than 30 years of research and studying leadership styles in education, the secondary foundation is generated from clients and colleagues representing more than 100 schools, colleges, and universities. This article is designed to facilitate awareness and provide instruction for leaders struggling with identification of their own leadership styles, as well as the identification of the most appropriate leadership style of subordinates. Perhaps, the most important work that influenced the author's position was the brain quadrant research conducted by Ned Herrmann. Ned Herrmann, who mentored the author during the late 80's in North Carolina, provided the cognitive framework for the styles of leadership based upon his extensive work with research on brain quadrants. Additionally, data were generated from various research/case studies done by the author at The University of Alabama, Harvard University, Fort Valley State University, Talladega College, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Miles College, Stetson University, The Citadel University, Webster University, and numerous school districts and technical colleges. It is from these sources that this classification system for preferred leadership styles has emerged.

Personal Leadership Style

There are key questions that must be answered when defining personal leadership style. They are: What is leadership? What is your preferred leadership style? How does your style impact the people, tasks, and environment that you are leading? What is the preferred leadership style of the members of your leadership team? What tasks are best assigned to team members based upon their preferred leadership style? Can you change the preferred leadership style of your leadership team members? These and additional questions will be answered to aide you in enhancing the quality of your institutional/organizational effectiveness. In an easy to read narrative format, you can learn more about your preferred leadership style. Even more importantly, you will learn how to identify the leadership styles of your leadership team members. You will also be able to identify the most appropriate tasks to assign leadership team members based upon their preferred leadership styles. Thus, you will enhance your ability to increase the productiveness of your organization.

Leadership in General

Leadership and leadership styles have been a subject of considerable debate and discussion for as long as people have worked in groups. Leadership has as many definitions as there are writers of literature on the subject. Some writers include one of the following: behavior, personal characteristics, and leadership situations. After three decades of experience and research, it is the author's opinion that leadership must include all three elements. Leadership is the process of communication (verbal & non-verbal) that involves coaching, motivating/inspiring, directing/ guiding, and supporting/counseling others. This results in the timely production of predetermined organization goals. Warren Bennis, noted author and researcher, believed that all leaders of effective groups have four characteristics in common. First, they provide direction and meaning to the people they are leading. The leaders are responsible for keeping team members aware of important stated goals and objectives. Second, they generate trust. They act in an honest manner that creates an environment of trust. Third, they prefer action and risk taking. They are willing to operate outside of the safety circle of tradition. Fourth, they are communicators of hope. Using effective communication skills, leaders encourage others to believe that the expected behavior will result in successful realization of stated goal. …