There are numerous "leadership" styles, and each leader may use combinations of these various styles. Consider the following example: Employee X is asked to describe his/her supervisor's leadership style. "My supervisor does a pretty good job. Prior to becoming involved in EMS they were in a technology business company as a manager. They were laid off in the 1990's and learned about EMS through their son's Boy Scout group. My supervisor decided to become an EMT and after a few years became a paramedic. About 1 year ago my supervisor moved into their current supervisory role."
"In general, I think my supervisor is an effective leader. They let us run our calls and rarely 'check-up' on us between calls. Sometimes they tend to control things. This is especially the case when we are working on a project that is due quickly. Instead of letting our work group have a lot of input, they tend to take over and complete the tasks themselves. This can be frustrating but we all understand that the project is due soon. Our supervisor tells us this stems from their experience working in the business world where deadlines and projects can directly impact the company's success. We understand that; but we would still like to be allowed to do more."
The following is an overview of 3 leadership styles: authoritarian, participative, and delegative. Each style is unique and has rather specific features.
The authoritarian approach involves the leader telling the employees what is to be done and how to accomplish it. This approach allows for minimal input from staff. This approach may be most appropriate for those situations in which a majority, if not all, of the information needed to solve the problem is available, there is very short time available, and the entire team is motivated.
Depending on the individual using this approach, the authoritarian approach to leadership may be perceived as an aggressive or "bossy" approach. This may include being overly bearing, the leader demanding things be done in a certain manner, and possibly the use of aggressive or demeaning behavior. The following is an example: An EMS crew that consists of 2 staff, are working on an unconscious elderly patient. The newly certified paramedic is struggling with an intubation. His partner, the field trainer, mutters an expletive, tells the new paramedic to "get your act together", and takes the airway equipment away from the new paramedic. The field training paramedic intubates the patient and tells the new paramedic "we'll talk about this later!"
A second style of leadership is the participative style. This approach is nearly the direct opposite of authoritarian. When the participative style is used, the staff is included in the decision-making, although the leader often has the final…