This week, we’d like to start off with a few questions right away. For our parents, think about the best boss you’ve ever had at any job. What made them your favorite? What things did they do that make them stand out amongst other bosses? What qualities did they possess that made them so likable?
For our kids, think about your favorite school teacher that you’ve had so far. What made their class so fun? What did they do that made you enjoy coming to class and learning? What about them made them such a great teacher for you?
The reason we are asking all these questions is because “teamwork” is our word for the month, and when there’s a team, there’s bound to be a leader! Bosses and teachers are great examples of team leaders that everyone should be familiar with, so think about what makes the great ones stand out. Without leaders, groups would struggle to find direction, and likely work inefficiently. The role of a leader is to make sure the team is working efficiently, while also encouraging growth and elevating each member to their highest level.
Every leader has their own way of leading their team, which comes down to the many variations of different leadership styles. Our goal is to help our students become great team leaders by helping them develop their own personal style of leadership. This week, we will be going over the 3 basic types of team leadership in order to help our students recognize what works best for them!
Before we jump in, keep in mind that there are many more styles of leadership than the 3 we will be discussing this week, but these three are especially prevalent in all forms of teams. Additionally, there is no one “right” way of leadership; each style works in different settings, and has their pros and cons. Anyways, let’s get going!
As the name suggests, this form of leadership involves a leader who chooses to take the reins all by themselves. In this style of leadership, the leader will often make decisions without consensus from the rest of the group, and expects the group to follow accordingly. They may come off as more aggressive and strict, and are usually more focused on results than anything.
Generally speaking, authoritarian leaders are not very popular among their teams– think of a really strict teacher boss– but this form of leadership is still effective in scenarios where consistent results are necessary. However, there are people who may find the pressure and high standards of Authoritarian Leadership practical and useful.
Hands Off Leadership
Also called “Laissez-Faire” Leadership, this is an approach where the leader is very laid back and lets members figure out their own methods for getting things done. In this style, the leader is also often not working directly with the team. For example, they may give instructions to the other group members, and then leave them alone to complete the task while they go work on something else entirely. Leaders of this method often value independence and problem-solving.
Hands Off Leaders are the least common of the three main styles, as their methods can often be interpreted as laziness or negligence. However, oftentimes these types of leaders practice this style in order to encourage other members to be able to do their work the way that works best for them. Plus, there are many people who prefer a leader who does not micromanage, and give members space to do their own work. This style works best when the leader has responsibilities that are separate from the work of the team members.
The last style of the big 3, Democratic Leadership, replicates the governmental style it is named after. In this approach, leaders work closely with the rest of the group to create a culture where everyone’s voices and opinions are heard. Leaders under this method like to get the whole group involved, and encourage group productivity. They are more focused on how a group works together, because they believe that a team with good chemistry will get better results.
People usually tend to like democratic leaders, because they are open to everyone’s thoughts and opinions, so members feel like they are being heard. Furthermore, this style of leadership leads to members feeling more involved, which boosts morale and motivation. It is also a very versatile approach that works in most team situations, unless the team is too big or spread a
part for every single person’s opinion to be voiced or taken into consideration. Finally, members are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and community under this method, which leads to higher levels of satisfaction. Chances are, your favorite teacher or boss implemented Democratic Leadership systems.
In our classes this week, we will be going over all 3 of these styles of leadership, and explaining each one to our students. Our mission is to give our kids the chance to figure out both which style works best for them to work under, and which style works best for them as leaders themselves. However, the truth is that leaders often combine aspects and ideologies from more than just 1 of these styles, or potentially even all 3. Nevertheless, it is still important for our children to figure out which style works best for them, that way they can better understand how to be on or lead a team.
In summary, the 3 kinds of basic leadership styles are Authoritarian, Hands Off, and Democratic Leadership. The difference between each of them comes down to how leaders choose to interact with their team members, and how group decisions are made. Again, there is no one “right” method of leadership, since all 3 have their advantages and disadvantages, and all are effective in their own rights. Additionally, many leaders choose to synthesize different parts of all 3 styles. Moreover, there are plenty of more styles of leadership out there, but all of them have roots in one or more of these 3 approaches. Just remember: an effective leader who knows what works best for them and their members is what makes the team work!