Online Toolkit

Part 5 - Modules

Leadership Styles Exercise

MAIN THEMESLeadership.
DURATIONAt least 1 h 30.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVESTo be aware of different interaction styles and understand them.
To be aware of the influences that the environment or external conditions may have on an individual's interaction style.
To be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the different interaction styles and the connection between them.
-Post pictures of a lion, fox and St. Bernard on three different walls.
-Beside each picture post a large sheet of paper, divided into two sections, one labelled "Good Features" and the other "Bad Features."

1. Ask participants to look at the pictures and then go and stand by the picture of the animal that appeals to them the most.
2. Invite each group to brainstorm and write ideas under the label "Good Features." Then have groups rotate to the other two pictures, where they will brainstorm ideas to write under "Bad Features" of that animal. Discuss what was written. (20 min)

*Encourage some humor.
Make a copy of the inventory sheet "Interaction Styles", for each participant and have participants fill it out. (15 min)

When participants are finished responding to the statements, ask them to total columns A, B and C.
If the total in column A is highest the interaction style is represented by the St. Bernard.
If the total in column B is highest the interaction style is like a lion.
If the total in column C is highest the interaction style is like a fox.

When the participants are done with the inventory sheet, ask them to sum up their points. If the sum adds up to a different animal from the picture they were initially at, ask them to kindly move to the other picture.

These three animals represent three different styles of relating with other people. Each style has its strengths and each has its weaknesses.
Explain the characteristics of all the styles. (See below)
Reflect on how strengths become weaknesses - for example cautious, suspicious. (See below)

Ask if there is someone who has a different style in the first and in the second part of the inventory. The second part is our behaviour under stress conditions (such as competition, opposition, conflict, crisis, etc.)

Gather the participants in a circle and ask them to each state their interaction style, according to what they learned about themselves through this inventory.
Notice the mix of different styles in your team.
To help you move on further with the discussion, you can use the following guide questions:
- What did you learn about the strengths of others with different styles?
- How is our style of interaction influenced by the external conditions (stress, conflict etc)?
- Why is there is a difference in style in normal situations and when in situations of conflict?
- Why is it important to be aware of the change in our style in conflict situations?
HUMAN RESOURCES 4 to 30 participants.
MATERIALSPictures of the 3 animals (mandatory).
Large sheets of paper for every different style.
Handouts for every participant (inventory sheet.)
Markers and pens.
METHODOLOGY USEDBrainstorming, discussion.
WHERE WAS IT USED? Used during a Peacemakers camp in Crimea (Ukraine) in 2009. Submitted by Volunteers Bulgaria.

"Interaction Styles" inventory sheet
Here is the "Interaction Styles" inventory sheet.

Leadership Styles
  • A. St. Bernhard (altruistic, nurturing style)
    - likes being genuinely helpful,
    - cares about others' feelings and well-being,
    - dislikes selfishness and anger,
    - views self as needing to be more assertive.

    Strengths: supportive, trusting, adaptable, optimistic.
    Weaknesses: submissive, gullible, spineless, impractical.

  • B. Lion (assertive, directing style)
    - likes to control and get things done,
    - likes to compete and win,
    - dislikes gullibility and indecision,
    - views self as needing to be more considerate.

    Strengths: ambitious, competitive, self-confident, forceful.
    Weaknesses: ruthless, combative, arrogant, dictatorial.

  • C. Fox (analytic, autonomous style)
    - likes to be independent and self-sufficient,
    - values planning and an orderly approach,
    - dislikes emotionalism, respects logic, facts and wisdom,
    - views self as needing to be more trusting and considerate.

    Strengths: analytic, cautious, methodical, fair.
    Weaknesses: nitpicking, suspicious, rigid, unfeeling.