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ERIC Number: EJ1026727
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
Twisted Leadership: A Visual Example of Leadership Style Using a Human Knot
Simmons, Nathaniel; Striley, Katie
Communication Teacher, v28 n2 p80-84 2014
Effective leadership is imperative for successful societies. Therefore, researchers have studied effective leadership styles for nearly a century (Kalaluhi, 2013). Leadership is instrumental in creating productive groups and teams (Wheelan, 2005), organizations, businesses, communities, and countries (Kosicek, Soni, Sandbothe, & Slack, 2012). Although our understanding of leadership styles has evolved since Lewin, Lippit, and White (1939), their typology of authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire effectively introduces leadership styles to students. While most students intellectually conceptualize differences between leadership styles, according to John Maxwell (1999), "'understanding' leadership and actually 'doing' it are two very different activities" (p. x; italics in original). The activity proposed in this article allows students to enact and participate in a situation controlled by Lewin et al.'s (1939) three different leadership styles. The activity's benefit to students is threefold. First, it allows students to reflect on leadership styles' impact in a situation where they are reliant on a leader. As students find themselves in a literal bind and must follow the leader's lead, they learn the differences between leadership styles and recognize that different situations call for different styles. Thus, students obtain a greater understanding of the disadvantages and advantages of Lewin et al.'s (1939) leadership styles. Second, the activity allows students to "do" leadership, thereby grasping the look and feel of different styles. Some students will enact a leadership style, thus gaining a deeper practical understanding of that style of leadership. Therefore, the activity helps to transform intellectual knowledge into kinesthetic knowledge. Finally, in addition to allowing students to experience the same situation under three different leadership types, they will also experience their own reaction to each style. Ample research establishes that leadership styles affect follower performance and stress (Lopez, Green, Carmody-Bubb, & Kodatt, 2011). Wheelan (2005) called for leaders to adjust their style to meet the needs of a particular group at a particular time, which provides potential to improve group performance and satisfaction. Thus, students gain insight into their own reactions, which could help students succeed when they find themselves in various groups such as the workplace serving under bosses with diverse leadership styles. This opportunity allows students to experience the effect of each style on their own voice. They will find that some styles empower them to speak, while other styles silence them.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A