Crafting Student Leaders – Part 1 of 5: Exploring Leadership Styles

Cara Barker
This week, in the Morning Assembly—the daily meeting where Clairbourn students, staff, and parents gather to hear an inspiring message—the topic was the school’s new mission statement “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.” The student presenters delivered the following message about the importance of student leadership prepared by foreign language and drama teacher Cara Barker. The Insights below are based on the work of DiSC and the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, who in their book Personal Styles & Effective Performance identified four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. 

At Clairbourn, we aim to create scholars and leaders with heart. This week we will investigate the styles in which we lead.

Consider this: each person here is a natural leader. “What?! How is this possible?” you may ask. Well, part of the reason that many of us don’t think of ourselves as leaders is that we often share a very narrow perspective of what leadership looks like. For example, many people will label the person who takes charge of an activity and barks orders to others as a— quote-unquote —natural leader. And in many instances, this may prove to be true. Nevertheless, this pantomime caricature of a leader has its limitations and doesn’t give the full range of possibilities associated with leadership.

Clairbourn flag football players use games and practices to hone their leadership skills.

The first style of leader is called the Driver. This leaves us with three other leadership styles to be identified. The second is the friendly, Social leader whose primary interest is the followers’ well-being. The third is the detail-oriented, Conscientious leader. And, lastly, there is the Enthusiast whose own exuberance energizes others to follow. Keep in mind that we are all capable leaders, and the successful leader will apply these different styles as needs arise.

Now think about what leadership style you prefer. As a leader, which style seems most natural to you? As a follower, which seems to be a good fit? Are you naturally attracted to one style over another, or do you prefer several at once? Can you imagine instances where you might explore a leadership style that seems foreign to you now?

Tomorrow we will examine more carefully the Driver, and the benefits to a group who has a Driver as its leader.

Part 1: Leadership Styles | Part 2: Driver Leadership | Part 3: Social Leadership | Part 4: Conscientious Leadership | Part 5: Enthusiast Leadership
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