Introduction to Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Kurt Lewin Pages: 8 (2237 words) Published: December 5, 2012
I joined Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Services as a whole-time fire fighter in 2002 and then as Retained fire fighter in 2009 progressing to the role of Crew Manager. I have also worked in the position of Temporary Crew Manager for six months at Coalville Station, in order to gain experience in this role. I have always been keen to learn new skills and often volunteer to undertake additional training applicable to my role. I very much enjoy working as part of a team, and believe I am now ready to develop my leadership skills further to enable me to lead and manage others. Leadership Styles

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans and motivating people. This is generally divided into three main categories: Attributes - qualities of a good leader.

Behaviours - things a good leader does.
Styles - attributes and behaviours influenced by culture and working practices.

The factors that may influence my choice of leadership style are: My personal observations and experience of leadership, effective and ineffective ways to manage and lead teams or individuals. Context in which I am leading.

The experience of the team or individual.
They type of task required.
The urgency of the task.

Prior to attending this course I believe that my leadership style has been mostly influenced by observing other leaders within the organisation and from the culture and working practices of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue.

I have observed some of the leadership styles and behaviours that I believe will help form my leadership style in the future as I develop in the role of crew manager. This course has presented me with many methods to apply in various situations. I have discovered that effective leaders are those who can adapt their style according to the situation.

In 1939, a group of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Lewin set out to identify different leadership styles. Although further research has identified additional specific types of leadership, this early study was very significant and established three major leadership styles.

See below:

Autocratic Leadership
Also known as authoritarian leadership, is a leadership style characterised by individual control over all decisions with little input from members of the group. Autocratic leaders commonly make choices based on their own ideas and judgments and rarely accept advice from others. Authoritarian leaders, provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is usually a clear division between the leader and the team. Researchers found that decision-making was less creative under authoritarian leadership. Lewin also found that it is more difficult to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than vice versa. Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision-making or where the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the group. I have occasionally witnessed this style of leadership in my role as a fire fighter when attending incidents. A crew manager may adopt this style in order to get things done quickly due to the urgency of the situation. The Crew Manager is the person in charge and is deemed to be the most knowledgeable and responsible member of the team and so makes their decisions based on their own experience, giving them control over the team. The disadvantage of this type of leadership is that the leader may abuse their position and become too officious, leading to resentment within the team causing reduced productivity and diminished respect for the leader. Elements of this style could be used effectively for example; at an incident requiring urgent intervention, but if they continued with this style outside of this situation, the effectiveness of the team would be limited as there would be little opportunity to contribute ideas or...
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