Leadership Workshop

By Evans, A. L.; Evans, V. | Education, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Leadership Workshop


Evans, A. L., Evans, V., Education


Introduction

Leadership has always been a focus in government, especially in a democracy, because in order to have the people rule themselves, they must have a leader who directs the action of the group, yet who does not make the group advance in any one direction. In other words, a leader in a democracy leads according to the wishes of the group, while listening to the wishes of all the group members. In a democracy, leaders tread a fine line between too little leadership (laisez faire or anarchy) or too much leadership (dictatorship). This workshop is designed to help junior high through college teachers/counselors develop leadership skills in their students/clients.

Rationale

Leadership development is very critical in a democracy such as America because we have no aristocrats who are born in families whose primary role is that of leading the nation, and we have varied cultures/races, many of whom are capable of leading communities, states, or the nation. And for democracy to thrive, it demands the best leaders, who must be developed. In addition, almost everyone has some leadership skills, and those who develop these at the right time and to the appropriate level may become our leaders.

Questionnaire

Teachers should give the following leadership test to their students:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

2. Have you ever served as a leader?

3. What is the most outstanding quality of a leader?

4. Who do you think is an outstanding leader? Why?

5. Who are other leaders whom you know?

6. What would you like to do as your life's work? Do you have to perform your work as a leader?

7. Is a leader born or developed? Explain your answer.

8. What do you think you should do to develop your leadership skills?

9. Are you willing to develop your leadership skills?

The answers to the questions will assist your students in finding out more about leadership in general and their leadership skills in particular.

Leadership Definition

Leadership is the capacity to lead, to conduct, to escort, to guide, to route, to steer, or to manage others. Leadership is also the office or person who leads a group. And a group has task and social functions. The purpose of the group is considered the task function, such as the purpose of the nomination committee is to recommend officers for the organization/club. The social function of the committee may be to develop positive relationships--to meet, to talk, and to get to know one another-so as to accomplish the purpose of the committee.

Leadership Styles

Although few leaders have any one leadership style, the three major leadership styles are laissez-faire, democratic, and authoritarian leadership. Osborn and Motley (1999) call these "the autocratic, participative, and free-rain leader" (p. 165).

Laissez-Faire comes from the French meaning allow to do. The laissez-faire leader takes no initiative in directing or managing the group. In other words, the leader allows the group to develop on its own, as it has no real authority. Specifically, the leader answers questions, provides information, or gives no reinforcement to the group. Furthermore, the leader evaluates and criticizes little, and is thereby nonthreatening. The leader allows the members to make their own decisions.

The democratic leader does provide directions, but allows the group to make its own decisions. Specifically, "the leader encourages members to determine goals and procedures, and stimulates members' self-direction and self-actualization" (DeVito, 1999, p. 276). In addition, the democratic leader offers suggestions and reinforces members' ideas. After offering these suggestions, providing information, and clarifying ideas, the leader allows the group to make the decision. In leadership styles, the democratic leader is in the middle of the styles. …

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