Styles of leadership

  • Range of leadership styles
  • Telling
  • Selling
  • Testing
  • Consulting
  • Joining
  • Doing nothing

Leaders of adventure groups often have to perform many roles in the course of a trip. They may have to encourage a beginner, arbitrate a dispute and inspire confidence when faced with a hazard. In addition to an awareness of group dynamics, leaders need to have a feeling for the appropriateness of various styles of leadership for particular situations and different groups. Although the underlying principles are similar, very different leadership behaviours are necessary to guide an experienced adult group from those needed to run the first day of a beginners' youth group.

A number of styles of leadership can be described, ranging from ‘autocratic’ to ‘laissezfaire’. To be effective, leaders need to be aware of their own predominant personal styles and be able to expand their range of options. Each style has appropriate applications, depending on the group, the nature of the task and the range of outside factors influencing the situation. Aspiring leaders will benefit from an understanding of the range of styles and the situations where each is appropriate.