Leadership Styles

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How to train someone up for a management/leadership role.

In the early 1970s I read a book that inspired me to become a high school teacher. The book outlined the stages Jesus took His disciples through to get them to the point where He could go away; leaving the job with them. The name of the book has long been lost to my mind but not the four stages.

First, Jesus did and the disciples watched; second He did and they helped; next they did and He helped them; finally He left the job to them and He went away. It gave me a handle on how to teach.

And then, many years later when I read the book 'Leadership and the One Minute Manager' by Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi and Drea Zigarmi, the pieces fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle. The book maps out 4 stages in training someone to the point where they may be safely the role.

Largely drawing from this model I was able to train 17 DTS leaders in three years. Some of them have gone on to take highly significant roles in YWAM, it works.

The four leadership styles Blanchard et al outline are:

  • directive
  • coaching
  • supporting

One of the primary functions of leadership/management is to train people thoroughly for their roles. They will be trained thoroughly when it is safe to to delegate the job to them.

Normally people start out not knowing much about what needs to be done and the leadership style they need from us is more directional. Eg push that button on the computer, when the screen comes up, press these keys, click that block etc. That is a pretty basic example but illustrates the need to give clear instructions, but only when they don't know what to do. If they know already then it just gets annoying! When people are learning a new role they are highly motivated to learn, receptive to, and needing this style.

As they get to grips with the role three leadership styles follow on leading to full delegation of the role. steve-the-not-so-hasty 18:00, 31 December 2007 (CET)

Biblically it may be stated that we equip and prepare people for ministry (Ephesians 4:12). Our leadership style will greatly affect how this is done.

The Four Leadership Styles

Diagram 1:1 Leadership Styles Four Quadrants

Directing: High Directive, Low Supportive

The leader provides specific instructions and closely supervises task accomplishment. Directive behaviour: Clearly telling people what, how, where and when to do something.

This is where we start with people who are keen but know little.

Coaching: High Directive, High Supportive

The leader continues to direct and closely supervises task accomplishment, but explains decisions, solicits suggestions, encourages initiative and supports progress.

Coaching may include planning together with the other person.

Supporting: Low Directive, High Supportive

The leader facilitates and supports people's efforts towards task accomplishment and shares responsibility for decision-making with them. Supportive behaviour: Listening to people, providing support and encouragement and facilitating ownership in every aspect of a project.

Supporting will include the other person planning and then receiving input from me before they implement it.

Delegating: Low Directive, Low Supportive

The leader turns over responsibility for decision-making and problem solving to the people.


All leadership styles are a combination of different measures of both, directive and supportive behaviour.