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What makes a good leader

Describes three styles of leadership and shares questions for a lively discussion

2005 Available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish

Pillars magazines on a desk

From: Pillars guides

Practical, discussion-based learning on community development for small groups

There are three kinds of leadership:

  • Leaders who command – they make decisions on behalf of the group and allow little or no discussion with group members. In times of trouble, this may be necessary but in other situations it is unlikely to encourage the group to grow in confidence and skills.
  • Leaders who consult – these leaders encourage discussion about situations and goals and then make a decision on behalf of the group.
  • Leaders who enable – they set certain limits but within these limits encourage and enable members to gain confidence in discussing and analysing their situation and in making their own decisions.

Can you identify examples of these kind of leadership styles. Which style would help your own situation?

An illustration of a group of men talking together

  • Can participants think of examples of these three leadership styles?
  • Was each different leadership style appropriate for the particular situation?
  • Discuss what makes a good leader. If possible encourage thoughtful discussion of local personalities, politicians, characters from well known books or radio programmes or leaders within local organisations. Try to keep the discussion from becoming critical or too personal.
  • How much does the personal knowledge and experience of a person affect their ability to lead successfully?

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