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Types of Leadership

Types of Leadership

Types of Leadership

Some form of leadership exists in all groups. The leader is the person who has the most impact on group behavior and beliefs. He or she is the one who initiates action, gives orders, makes decisions, settles disputes among group members, offers encouragement, serves as a model, and is in the forefront of group activity. All groups have some leadership structure.

Formal and Informal Leaders

Large organizations such as a business or school have formal organization charts indicating the official chain of command and giving guidelines about patterns of decision making and supervision.
At the other extreme, some groups have no formal leaders at all. Friendship groups are one example. What is important to recognize, however, is that groups without formal leaders still have patterns of informal leadership.

Paths to Leadership

Individuals can become group leaders in several ways:

  • Some leaders are appointed, e.g. an army lieutenant.
  • In other situations, such as clubs or student government, a leader is elected.
  • In a third process, a group member emerges over time as a leader.

Types of Leadership Activities

In general, leaders must perform two types of activities:

  • Task Leadership concerns accomplishing the goals of the group - getting the work of the group done successfully. The task leader gives suggestions, offers opinions, and provides information for the group. A task leader must be efficient, directive, and knowledgeable about the particular task at hand.
  • Social Leadership focuses on the emotional and interpersonal aspects of group interaction. The social leader concentrates on keeping the group running smoothly and happily, is concerned about people's feelings, uses humor to relieve tension, and tries to encourage group cohesiveness. A social leader must be friendly, agreeable, conciliatory, concerned with feelings, and socially oriented.

Both Task and Social Leadership are important to successful group functioning.

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