Leadership - Primary Principles

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The aim of a leader is...

...to influence the thoughts and activities of a group or organisation in the direction of a desired goal, whilst maintaining discipline and building high morale.

They do this in four steps:

1) Inspire Confidence

(Must also be self-confident)

2) Establish and Maintain Control

(Must have self-control)

3) Make Decisions

(Requires Knowledge and Courage)

4) Understand Human Nature

(Everybody Is Human)

Leadership, Power and Authority...

Leadership: is the ability of an individual to get others to do what they want done. It does not necessarily have to be the appointed leader of the group.

Power: is the control that an individual or group has to do things without answer to another leadership level.

Authority: is the power given to an individual or group in order to carry out a task. That authority can be revoked.

Many people assume, that when they exercise authority they are automatically exercising Leadership; this is not always true.

People may reject a Leader but still obey his or her orders through fear of his or her Authority through position. This instills motivation through fear, not through leadership. This may bring short-term positives, but in the long run it is not productive.

Thus, a Chain of Command will give a person Authority, but not necessarily an effective leadership style. To be and effective leader you must have the respect of your subordinates and your superiors, because again, respect is not automatic with a position.

A Leader May Gain Their Position By...

Force: Through gangs, political or financial pressure

Inheritance: From monarchies or family companies

Prestige: Is popular, charismatic

Appointment: Rank in the services, business managers

Natural Ability: Is capable in the situation

Tasks of A Leader

The major roles of a leader are to act as:

Representatives (or spokespersons):

Both up and down the Chain of Command. The leader represents higher authority to his or her subordinates, but also represents the team in dealing with higher authority.

Policy Maker:

Must make policy decisions on the direction of the group will enhance the group (mainly a Senior Management role)


Has to translate policy into practical plans that work, specifying how the task is to be accomplished, where, when and by whom.


Must see that the task is accomplished according to the plans and the required standard.


Must be able to instruct his or her subordinates in the ways and means of doing necessary tasks.


Must be able to settle disputes and allocate priorities in a fair and just manner.

Welfare Officer:

To be responsible for the well-being, good health and safety of his or her team.

Common Traits Of A Leader...

Leaders traits can be broken up into three basic areas.

Technical Skills The ability to use knowledge, methods, techniques and equipment necessary for performance of specific tasks.

Human Skills The ability and judgement in working with and through people, including understanding of motivation and application of effective Leadership.

Conceptual Skills: The ability to understand the complexities of the overall organisation and where one's own operation fits into the organisation. This knowledge permits one to act accordingly to the objectives of the total organisation rather than only on the basis of the goals and needs of ones own immediate group.

Leadership Levels, Authority and Responsibility

There are three main levels of leadership. Line Management, Middle Management and Senior Management.

Line Management: It the immediate supervisor of a group, they are a working supervisor whose main tasks are to act as an arbitrator and envoy for their subordinates as well as act as a Morale Officer.

Middle Management: Is the group that decides the direction of the organisation. They are the main policy setters.

Senior Management: Is the group that undertakes the strategic guidance and develops plans for the future of the organisation. Strategic Management is ensuring that all policies, procedures and actions are aligned to the highest goals of the organisation.

Authority is the power given to an individual or group in order to carry out a task, given Authority is a privilege and should be treated as such, always remembering, this authority can be revoked.

In order that the Chain Of Command does not break down a leader is responsible to:

Subordinates: For their safety and purposeful direction

Superiors: For their own conduct and the method of sectional control

Their Peers: Other Leaders for upholding their position and Authority

Themselves: For their self-respect

Principles of Leadership

Have confidence in yourself, your superiors, associates, subordinates. It is also crucial to give and receive feedback at all times. Respect and trust does not come with position; but is earned.

1. Lead by example

Ø Subordinates look up to the leader to set examples, which they may follow. If the leaders appearance, conduct and performance are outstanding, team members will view the leader with respect, pride and a desire to match the quality standards. The following could be used as guidelines for foster quality standards:

o Be alert, cheerful, interested, well groomed and correctly dressed

o Control emotions. Outbursts of anger or fits of depression will not win respect.

o Be calm, confident and optimistic.

o Show self-discipline.

o Exercise initiative, and encourage this in subordinates

o Show team loyalty - you are intimately responsible for all actions of your subordinates. Also avoid favorites.

2. Know your subordinates and students, and look after them.

Ø When a team member knows you are looking out for them, they will have a better attitude towards the team and towards you.

o Be friendly and approachable.

o Be fair and firm in delegation and disciplinary decisions.

o Share privileges and rewards.

3. Develop the qualities of leadership in your followers

Ø By delegating authority to your subordinates; you will not only develop your own future leaders, but you will also show that you trust them to make decisions as well as trust their opinions and input.

o Use the Chain of Command

o Tell subordinates what to do, now how to do it. Supervise their decisions, you also may learn a new way of doing something.

o Be quick to recognise accomplishments - Praise in Public, Criticize in Confides.

4. Make sound and timely decisions.

Ø A leader who cannot make up his or her mind is not only unable to take advantage of opportunities as they occur, but is also likely to lose the confidence of the team. A leader must be able to assess a situation quickly and make a prompt, sound decision.

o Make clear and logical decisions and assessments.

o Plan ahead, plan for possible questions or issues

o Keep the team informed.

5. Train your followers to work as a TEAM (remember Together Everyone Achieves More)

Ø It is the leaders responsibility to train the team to work together; teamwork is the key to success. Individuals will perform better when they share the goals and achievements of the team.

o Ensure everyone is keeping up with the teams progress (don't lose anyone)

o Educate the team in their duties and responsibilities, as well as the duties and responsibilities of other team members.

o Ensure everyone knows why his or her role is important in the bigger picture.

6. Communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly.

Ø Ensure your ideas and "orders" are understood, accomplished and supervised.

o You should be clear and concise.

o Make sure there is a need for the order - don't overstep your boundaries

o Encourage the team to give you feedback, and ask questions of unclear matters.

o Ensure you assist the team in the task - you are a working supervisor.

7. Keep staff and students informed of what's going on.

Ø Team members who are well informed are less likely to be influenced my false rumor, and their morale and confidence in the leader will be higher.

o Explain why tasks and duties are important

o Check that information is being passed down the Chain of Command.

o Be alert to the spreading of false information.

8. Take good personal initiatives / seek and accept responsibility.

Ø You should seek our responsibility and take initiatives, this will show your team that you are willing to expand and develop the team and its goals. You should also take responsibility for the actions of your team - you are the leader you are responsible for them.

9. Know your personal strengths and weaknesses

Ø Before a leader can successfully lead others, he or she must first master himself or herself by knowing his or her personal strengths, weaknesses and limitations. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your team and supervisor.

10. TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED (perhaps one of the "golden rules" in any situation; especially a youth-type organisation).

Qualities of A Leader

Leadership is not simply attained as a birthright or inborn ability. It takes practice, trial and error. But all leaders have certain qualities in common, which are not necessarily inborn traits, but instead learnable and practicable qualities. Qualities are characteristics or traits that can be associated with a person. One does not need to have all of the qualities of a leader to be an effective one, but the GREAT majority of successful leaders throughout history and the world share these qualities today.

Honesty: A leader must be honest to inspire trust in them. If a leader is not honest, their superiors and cadets will be reluctant to trust them with information or jobs that need to be done.

A sense of responsibility: Followers and superiors alike must be able to depend on the leader. Cadets need to be able to depend on you to help them when needed, to be there for them, and superiors need to be able to trust that you will perform your tasks and look after your subordinates.

Confidence: You must believe in yourself before others will believe in you. Picture an officer who was always second-guessing their decisions or questioning whether they could do the task assigned. Would you follow this person?

Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is contagious. Envision a teacher who came into the classroom, threw their books down and grumbled before beginning to teach. While teaching, they grimaced. Would you be interested in hearing them? Now picture a teacher who comes in with a smiling, bubbly attitude and shows genuine like for what they are telling you. Most would be much more willing to listen to the second teacher than the first.

Dependability: Your followers must feel like they can count on you to help them when necessary. Likewise, your superiors must be able to depend on you to do your jobs.

Patience: Patience is not just a quality but a virtue. Some cadets need a little more help than others...take the time with them to help them on their way. If you have no patience you will be seen as unapproachable. An unapproachable leader is not an effective leader.

Decisiveness: A leader must make clear and consistent decisions. Do not delay decisions if you do not know all the information, instead, ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather strength.

Determination: Finish what you start to the best of your ability. Do not get hung up on the tiny details, organize a plan of action and attack your tasks. People WILL notice what you do.

Loyalty: You must be loyal to your followers. Support them when they need your help. Do not tell them that you will do one thing and then do another.

Courage: You do not need to run in front of a train to be courageous. To stand up for your rights and your actions, the not let your emotions rule your actions, but instead to think, that is courage. To finish what you start, to persevere, that is courage.

Styles of Leadership

There are four main Leadership Styles: Autocratic, Democratic, Passive and Situational. Each of these styles have their own Strengths and Weaknesses, it is commonly argued that a Situational Leader is the "better" leadership style. Each style is discussed bellow.

Autocratic Leader


· This Leader normally gives priority to tasks rather than people

· Believes in close supervision - a narrow span of control

· Minimum concern for friendly relations

· Determines all matters personally

· Gives orders and expects them to be carried out with out question

· Does not spoil with too much praise

· Remains separated from group

· Any attempt at participation seen as a challenge to his/her authority

Possible Advantages:

· Satisfies subordinates lower needs.

· Appropriate where duties must be carried out according to the rules

· Often effective in short term through fear.

· Fits hierarchical organisation with specialization of tasks, narrow span of control and little delegation

· High level results obtained in minimal time

· Nay be effective in some situations, but requires strong and effective leader.

Possible Disadvantages:

· Some submissions to leader but revolt behind his/her back

· Buck passing, irritability and frustrations amongst subordinates

· Interest in work disappears when leader not present

· Initiative suffers and "Yes Men" appear.

Democratic Leader


· The Leader makes the final decision but only after consulting subordinates to determine their feelings and seek their ideas. Seeks to increase commitment to goals by ways of a participatory style of management

· Attempts to have Organisational and Individual goals compatible.

· Gives praise and criticism in terms of results

· Encourages suggestions for new procedures.

· Develops as much participation, opinion giving and decision making as possible

Possible Advantages:

· Satisfies subordinates higher needs

· Reduces resistance to change

· Leads to greater commitment to organisational goals as they are seen as compatible with personal foals.

· Promoted increase in supervisor/subordinate communication

· Increases co-operation

· Enhances so-ordination of work

· Subordinates learn to take initiative

· Quality and quantity of production increases over medium to long term

· Increases output of knowledge

· Leaders can devote more time to planning and constructive leadership

Possible Disadvantages:

· Total participation not always possible due to situation faced. For Example: Emergency; large span control

· Time a major obstacle

· Some people prefer to be led

Passive Leader

(Leave Them Alone)

· Prefers to stay out of decision making process

· Leaves responsibility largely to subordinates

· Does not interfere with group decisions

· Makes him/her self available for advice when needed

· Manages by exception

Possible Advantages:

· May be effective when leader is top professionals or research scientist

· Requires self motivated subordinates

· Allows people to achieve self direction and control

· Subordinates able to satisfy higher level needs

Possible Disadvantages:

· Work may be sloppy, disjointed, lacking direction

· Possible resentment towards leader for lack of attention

· Lack of co-ordination

· Requires self-motivated subordinates

Situational Leader

(All Purpose)

A situational approach to leadership argues that the leader of a group will be that person whose leadership will serve the groups needs in a given situation.


Discipline is necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of a team or unit. Within a disciplined group, regular, predictable patterns will follow. Punishment and discipline is not the same thing, punishment is only one means of influencing the action of discipline.

There are three forms of discipline; Imposed Discipline, Self Discipline and Collective Discipline.

Imposed discipline can be defined as steps and procedures. This would be the introduction to a routine or system of doing something. For example a new recruit is told how to correctly wear a uniform, as time progresses he or she no longer needs to be told this, it becomes part of their Self-Discipline.

Self-discipline is a persons set of built in or added routines or systems. They have known this for a long time and it had become a second nature. Self discipline for example would be manners, how to correctly speak to people, once this would have been instructed to them as imposed discipline, but now they just know how to speak.

Collective discipline ensures consistency in a team. Such discipline happened under the good leadership of their leader, through the establishment of goals and parameters.

Morale and Esprit-de-Corps are two factors, which directly relate to discipline, all three are interlinked, and dependant on one-and-other.


Morale is a state of mind, an attitude of confidence and well being in the minds of individual's whey they identify themselves as a team and accept the team's goals. The leader must realise that many factors influence morale. The most important of these are: effective leadership, unity of purpose, discipline, sense of belonging, comradeship, mutual confidence, comfort and well-being.

Achieving a Task Check List

1) Define objectives:

Ø Identify task

Ø Recognise constraints

2) Plan task:

Ø Devise own solution

3) Plan leadership:

Ø Style (autocratic/democratic) etc

Ø Use of time

Ø Motivation techniques

Ø Involvement and use of team

Ø Method of briefing

Ø Method of supervision

Ø Method of monitoring

Ø Method of assessment

4) Explain task:

Ø Brief of task and constraints

Ø Check understanding

Ø Involve team

Ø Share commitment

Ø Motivate

Ø Answer questions

5) Plan solution:

Ø Present own solution

Ø Establish priorities

Ø Establish interim objectives

Ø Encourage suggestion and identify skills

Ø Discuss plans

Ø Decide on best plan

Ø Establish timing for plan

6) Deploy:

Ø Brief final plan

Ø Check understanding

Ø Delegate responsibilities and tasks

Ø Allocate resources

Ø Advise, encourage, and enthuse

Ø Monitoring and support:

Ø Co-ordinate activities

Ø Consider assisting

Ø Keep whole team informed

Ø Develop suggestions

Ø Check individual performance/standards

Ø Encourage, enthuse, praise, and advise

Ø Check plan is followed/resources adequate

Ø Reconcile conflict

7) Evaluate:

Ø Assess progress

Ø Check interim objectives achieved

Ø Review plan

Ø Inform team of changes

8) Debrief:

Ø Check task completed fully

Ø Assess own and team's performance

Ø Praise, motivate for next time

Ø Consider training, guidance advice