Alternative models of leadership

Written Karen Szydlik

If I asked you to think of ‘a leader’ what comes to mind?

What was your first image when you heard that word ‘leader’…the very first one?

Male, female?

Solo or group?

Known or unknown figure?

Body posture?

Black or white?

My first image was a non-descript, probably male figure standing legs askance holding a flag in some sort of

triumphant position.

The second image I had was Barack Obama.

Both quite traditional figures and both in position of power.


To shift our thinking and our way of being a leader or even entertaining the possibility of seeing ourselves as a leader sometimes requires a shake up of these vey traditional models and definitions.

So let’s play a bit with our own experiences of being ‘led’ and let’s delve a bit into the memory banks.

Who was your first leader? A parent, a sibling, an adult a child, a teacher a friend in the playground a neighbourhood kid?

How did they lead? Was it through persuasion, charisma, telling, doing.

I’m not sure if she was my first leader or not, but he leader that came to mind for me was Sharon, the girl across the road. I wanted to be just like her. She was a year older than me. After school I would go to her house. I’m not sure if she thought of me as a friend or not. She was the girl who was smarter than me and I admired her. I did anything she told me. Fortunately, she didn’t abuse this power. She may not have even known she had the power. But I admired her, I learnt from her and I copied her. I am y even have become a teacher because of her, because that is what we played schools. I was the pupil she was the teacher and she taught and I learned…

Who comes o your mind? How did they lead and why were you led.

Iron fist? Gentle guiding? Inspiring to be greater or demand?

The term leadership team is one we are hearing more and more? How does that look as distinct to the mo\del of the solitary leader…

Of course just becomes someone is a leader doesn’t mean they are effective. Are they getting the job done are they bringing out the best in their team.!