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Group Leadership

Group Leadership

Author: Paul Hannan

Differentiate between the styles of group leadership.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Man Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on group leadership. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial.

So today is a quick tutorial looking at group leadership. So let me start by saying sociology has defined there being two major types of leaders. There's instrumental leadership and expressive leadership.

Now, if you're an instrumental leader, you're someone who's really focused on meeting specific goals. And if you're an expressive leader, you're really focused on having good relationships and a good work environment. Now, someone can be a little bit instrumental and a little bit expressive. But there's basically these two different types of leaders. With those types, there's three different styles of leadership.

The first one is authoritarian. So in this authoritarian leadership style, the leader holds all the power. The leader expects everyone to obey. They make decisions on their own. They tell the people that work underneath them what they want. And they expect everyone to do what they want.

I like to think of the analogy, that it's similar to a dictator. A dictator makes all decisions on their own. And they just expect everyone to follow them.

Authoritarian leadership can really work well when decisions need to be made quickly because there's no debate. There's no argument. Someone just runs with the information and makes a decision.

Also it works well when the people following the leader really lack skills and understanding of what's going on. So they wouldn't have as much import that would be useful to making the decisions. So the authoritarian leader just makes that decision on their own.

Now, a democratic leadership, I can think of as being the absolute opposite of authoritarian. So in this relationship or this leadership style, everyone holds the power. So everyone participates and communicates together to come to decisions. The leader, in a lot of ways, steps back and becomes just another member of society.

Now, this is really good when everyone involved the organization is really knowledgeable about what they're working on and everyone is buy-in. So when you have really passionate people, that know what they're talking about, it's really good to get multiple viewpoints involved in the decision-making. Then you're going to have a much stronger final decision as a group.

The last style of leadership that we're going to look at today is laissez faire. Laissez faire comes from the French term meaning "hands off." And that's exactly what it is. Laissez faire leadership is a hands-off style of leadership.

People that follow this leader can basically do what they want. So to say laissez faire leadership is-- when it's good, is a little bit difficult because the leader isn't actually doing much. It's clear, though, that it works better when there's not a lot of group or organizational goals that need to be met. And really, laissez faire leadership really depends on what individuals you have and what kind of individual projects they're working on.

So today's take-away message. We learned about instrumental leadership, which is a type of leadership that's really centered on meeting goals. And then also expressive leadership, and that's a leadership centered on the relationships.

Then we learn about three styles of leadership. Authoritarian leadership, which is where the leader holds all the power; democratic leadership, where leadership is spread amongst all the members; and laissez faire leadership, where the leader really has a hands-off approach.

Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work. And hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know
Authoritarian Leadership

Leadership that is take-charge and demands conformity; typically effective at accomplishing group goals.

Democratic Leadership

Leadership that includes all group members in the decision making process.

Expressive Leadership

A form of group leadership that is focused on solving group conflicts and maintaining group cohesion and harmony.

Instrumental Leadership

A form of group leadership that is focused on completing tasks and accomplishing the goals of the group.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Leadership that lets the group run itself; typically least effective in accomplishing group goals.