What makes a good leader? Part 2

Laissez faire and Servant leadership are two styles of leadership that may be used in a 4-H setting.

What makes a good leader? Are there qualities that one must possess to be a good leader? Does their style of leadership determine if they are a good leader? How do you know what style of leadership is best for any given situation? The most important thing to remember is that each situation is different and unique. A good leader will realize this and understand they have to adapt their leadership style to the situation. There are many different defined leadership styles out there and even more tools to help you determine what type of leader you are. However, instead of looking at the person, you should look at the situation.

This article will discuss the last two of four styles of leadership and how each may be used in a 4-H setting. To read about the first two styles, democratic and dictatorship, see “What makes a good leader? Part 1.” The 4-H leadership civic engagement team does training around these four leadership styles through the Backpack to Adventure curriculum and advisory group trainings.

In the Laissez faire style of leadership, the leader may take a back seat. They let the group make the decisions with very little input. If a 4-H club chooses to have a theme of Star Wars for their decorations this year, the leader may step back and let them have total control of what those decorations will look like or how they will be used. As long as the group has the parameters of the budget and resources then there isn’t really any reason they cannot be creative and develop everything on their own.

Servant leadership is a style where the leader is taking into consideration the needs around them before their own thoughts or opinions. This is a style that may be used in community service projects. Once the project is determined, the leader is there to help the group in need. They will do whatever the group says is needed to improve a situation or a group.

A good 4-H leader will analyze the situation and determine which style of leadership is the most appropriate to assure the youth get the most out of the experience. The leader wants to make sure youth are safe, but still being an active part of their development.

For more information about the Back Pack to Adventure Curriculum, contact the 4-H leadership civic engagement team at 4-HLeadership@anr.msu.edu.

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