Leadership Styles

There has been much research into leadership and its impact on organisations and individuals. The general conclusion from this research is that the leader must balance the needs of the organisation with the needs of the individuals that are associated with it. This is not always an easy task!


Current leadership theory is drawn from the various management and organisational theories that have been developed over the past 80 years. These theories help us understand the current ideas on managing people. The major change in the last 80 years has been the shift away from a systems management approach to a people management approach based on individual needs.

One style doesn’t always suit all situations.

Coaching Styles

View this 11 minute video on different coaching styles. You will see there is a continuum from being controlling (high level of control) to a more open and participative leadership style where the group is involved in their own learning.


Authoritarive or Command Style – Leader likes to be in control and in charge “I know best” attitude.



Activity 4

From the video write down the characteristics of a coaching using this style





When an urgent decision is needed an autocratic leadership style may be appropriate.


  • Can result in high productivity but create hostility, resentment poor quality of work and dependency on leaders
  • While, this style of leadership may save time in the short term, few new ideas are generated and generally morale is low.
  • Can develop “robot” players

“I was an authoritarian coach when I first started. Because I was an inexperienced

educator (I’m not a teacher by profession), I thought the only way to run a team was by

making all of the decisions without any input from the team. I thought I knew what was

best for the team and just wanted the athletes to follow orders. This worked to a point,

until the athletes questioned why they were performing certain drills. Then I understood

that this style cannot be used all of the time” http://www.mts.net/~cglass/Coaching%20Styles.pdf


Democratic (Participative or Cooperative Style) – “Allow members to make choices & have say in what the group does & becomes”

Activity 5

From the video write down the characteristics of a coach using this style

Seems to produce a higher level of morale and group cohesiveness


“The co-operative coach has the players sharing in the decision-making process. The

coach guides the athletes with decisions and athletes buy into this style because they are

part of the decision-making process. Athletes will work harder to achieve the goals set

by the team and will show more respect and be more willing to listen if they know that

the coach is genuinely interested in their opinions. It also makes the coach more

approachable if an athlete or the team has questions or concerns. However, this style

requires some skill and balance by the coach to know how much decision-making is

required of the athletes, because not all athletes see the team perspective, but have their

own individual perspective.


I have used this style the most. After using the authoritarian style and taking some more

coaching clinics, I started to think like an athlete. If I were an athlete, I’d like to

understand why I’m asked to perform certain tasks. Now I question my athletes as to

why they think they keep serving the ball out, why the pass was crisp right to the setter,

and why they think we’re running serve-receive drills every practice. My athletes realize

that I’m looking out for their best interests and want them to improve”



 Laissez Faire (or Submissive) – This type of leader tends to adopt a policy of not ‘interfering’ with the group by letting them run themselves. This method is generally only effective in highly specialised fields. Due to the lack of leadership, informal leaders tend to take control of the group and conflicts often result. The group tends to drift and productivity is low.

Activity 6

From the video write down the characteristics of a coach using this style


Advantages & Disadvantages

  • May work if members are committed to the plan, have resources they need and abilities to process with the project on their own.
  • Can produce independence among members but often low morale.


 “The casual coach basically lets the players run the program. This is the easiest style to

put into practice and is used by coaches who are not very experienced. The athletes

typically enjoy this style of coaching the most. However, the greatest issue with this

style is that the athletes will not improve very much due to the lack of direction and

training the coach is providing. As a casual coach, you’re basically a supervisor than a

teacher”  http://www.mts.net/~cglass/Coaching%20Styles.pdf

Activity 7

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