Leadership Styles: Directing, Participating And Self-assured Style

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Leadership is not something that comes naturally instilled amongst everyone; however, it is something that can be taught to those willing to learn. Kahn et al., states that faithful and honest people should be selected to fill positions of leadership (2015, p. 92). A reason for promoting people who have a good head on their shoulders is because that person becomes a role model for an entire group of people to look up too. One important thing to acknowledge is that there are many different styles of leadership. Due to the various methods of command and the personal characteristics of the commander, some individuals make better leaders than others, leading to better work environments. According to Fietkau (2018), utilizing a passive-avoidant leadership technique will lead to greater levels of job dissatisfaction (p. 3). The purpose of this paper is to inform readers about these three leadership styles: directing, participating, and delegating.

The directing style requires the leader to closely monitor their subordinates while they complete whatever specific task that has been assigned to them. This method places little focus on the individual strengths and weaknesses of the subordinate since they are expected to complete the mission in whichever manner the leader tells them to do it in. The Field Manual states that this style is most effective when time is limited and only the leader knows what needs to be done and how to do it (1990, p. 69). Some subordinates become resentful when their voices aren’t heard, therefore these people might prefer a type of leadership style that considers the opinions of the lower ranked.

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The participating style of leadership is a method that might appeal to the subordinates who want their perspective to be considered. When a workforce feels more like an inclusive team rather than a dictatorship, job satisfaction and employee cohesion will increase. Kahn et al., (2015) claims that this style of leadership is generally the most effective (p. 89). This type of leadership does not entrust subordinates with any final decision-making power, instead, it serves as a source of advice that a leader can turn to if they choose to do so. The Field Manual states that when a leader considers the opinions of their soldiers, it is a powerful team building process that increases the overall support and confidence among coworkers (1990, p. 69). When group members become confident in their trade, their leaders might decide to designate them with more responsibilities than those who do not take as much initiative.

When a leader is self-assured that their squad can complete certain tasks, they can establish a different approach towards leadership. This final style of leadership entrusts subordinates with the highest amount of decision-making authority, rather than simply considering their opinions. The Field Manual says that this style, known as the delegating style, is best when dealing with mature subordinates who support your goals and are motivated to accomplish the tasks that they are delegated (1990, p.70). When the members of a unit are dedicated to the same vision as their leadership, their superiors are more likely to assign them tasks which require more responsibility. Kahn et al. declare that this style is the least productive method since these type of leaders offer little to no guidance, the style is only effective in situations where group members are highly qualified in a specific area of expertise (2015, p. 90).

After reviewing all three styles of leadership, it is easy to conclude that there is no single leadership style that is better than the other. The positive results that each style provides can only be used to the highest potential when all three are incorporated to the specific mission and soldiers involved. Khan et al., states that different styles of leadership are needed for different situations, and each leader needs to know when to exhibit a particular approach (p. 87). Since leaders are often required to use discretion in this line of work, it is important that they are in tune with their soldier’s strengths and weaknesses. If a unit has placed a strong emphasis on team building it will become much easier to determine who can solve certain problems without any supervision and which ones might need more guidance. All in all, leaders need to be informed about all three leadership styles and need to be familiar with each one’s unique pros and cons.


  1. Fietkau, B. J. (2018). Leadership style and job satisfaction: A correlational study in a contingent work environment.
  2. Khan et al., (2015) The styles of leadership: a critical review. 87-93.
  3. (1990) United States Army Field Manual. FM 22-100. July 31, 1990.


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