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Lincoln Composite Squadron
Civil Air Patrol


December 2004
More Professional Development Resources

Civil Air Patrol

Developing the Leader Within

Submitted by: Steve Hubbell & Bruce Marxsen, Professional Development Officers, Lincoln Composite Squadron

Developing leadersLeadership is critically important when emergencies occur. Leaders carry out their roles in various styles. The leadership style is influenced by the individual's beliefs, values, culture, the situation, and assumptions. Contrary to conventional understanding, leadership is not just telling others what to do. Leadership is also not who has the greater rank or perceived authority. Each of us plays a leadership role in various aspects of our lives. Leadership is knowing how our leadership actions reflect who we are and how we affect others. Therefore, it is important that we determine how each of us thinks and reacts to situations that call for leadership.

Common Failures in Leadership

Operational Leaders most often make the following behavioral mistakes:

  • Inability to organize details
  • Unwillingness to render humble service
  • Fear of competition from followers
  • Lack of imagination
  • Selfishness
  • Lacking emotional restraint
  • Disloyalty
  • Emphasis on the authority of being a leader or the title
  • Not knowing the limits of their own abilities
  • Not willing to work as part of the total team

How leaders are trusted depends on the perceptions the group will have based on the leader's demonstrated behavior.

Common Factors of Operational Failures

Operational Leaders most often make the following tactical mistakes, leading to potential failure:

  • Preoccupation with minor technical problems
  • Failure to delegate tasks and assign responsibilities
  • Failure to set priorities
  • Inadequate monitoring of assigned tasks
  • Failure to utilize available data
  • Failure to communicate intent and plans

A leader needs to adapt to the role of systems manager, team leader and resource coordinator.

  • Before any decisions can be made or problems to be solved, a leader must find out whom he or she is based on his or her culture, experience and belief system.

Three Mental Models of Leadership

There are three mental modes that govern and impact the way we think and act in a leadership role:

  • Technical- individual contribution, with a focus on detail and task-specific work

  • Transactional- managerial, with a focus on articulating standards, expectations, goals and rewards, on a transaction basis

  • Transformational- visionary, with leadership based on beliefs and values, and a course of action that stimulates effort to its highest potential.

On paper it would seem that every good leader should be transformational. This is not true. It may be the final development stage from supervisor, to manager, to leader, but each of these mental Models is not mutually exclusive. Each augments and compliments the others, providing a range of thinking from which to draw from, depending on the situation. The leader within is a combination of all three models.

Leadership Interaction- A Leader will interact differently with each mental model, based on the knowledge, experience, and comfort level. A leader may be technical in one situation, and transactional or transformational in another. There are six interactive dimensions:

  • View of Organization
  • Credibility and Source of Power
  • Orientation to Authority
  • Approach to Opposition
  • Communication Pattern
  • Intention

The key to well-developed leadership is in moving from Technical to Transactional, and ultimately to Transformational. For most people, growing as a leader requires becoming aware of their values, beliefs, and behaviors in order to develop the ability to view situations in one of the three.

The first step in leadership growth is developing self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is an awareness of internal feelings, preferences, biases, strengths, and weaknesses. Self-knowledge is a common trait among great leaders. Effective leaders will look inside for a centered, internal control. Great leaders exhibit self-understanding and self-confidence. Increased self-knowledge helps the leader:

  • Understand others
  • Understand and manage their reactions to others
  • Appreciate other points of view
  • Leverage their strengths
  • Strengthen or compensate for their weakness
  • Earn trust
  • Be aware of how they impact others (positively and negatively)
  • Have more self-confidence Johari Window of Self-Knowledge: (See 'Johari Window Sheet)

The 'Johari Window' is a model that indicates how the leader sees him or herself, as compared to how others see the leader. There are four categories of this model:

  • Known to Self : Known to Others- Open
  • Known to Self : Unknown to Others- Hidden
  • Unknown to Self : Known to Others- Blind
  • Unknown to Self : Unknown to Others- Unknown

The leader's attributes in the 'Open Area' are what the leader and those managed by the leader know about the leader, and openly share.

The leader's attributes in the 'Hidden Area' are what the leader knows about him or her, but are hidden from others.

The leader's attributes in the 'Blind Area' are what others know, observe, think or feel about the leader, but are kept from the leader, so the leader is unaware.

The leader's attributes in the 'Unknown Area' are what neither the leader nor others know of on any conscious level.

The more the leader can increase the parts of ourselves that are known to self and others, the greater the leader's potential for building effective relationships that can lead to great leadership potential.

Effective leaders expand the 'open area', increasing what others know about them. This builds trust over time and makes the leader more available for understanding of the leader's thinking.


  • Have the leaders you really trusted and respected been more open about themselves than other leaders?
  • Did that leader let you in on their preferences, biases, strengths, and weaknesses with respect to 'work' issues?

Once the leader has established his or her self-knowledge based interactive relationships with others, they are ready to establish their leadership styles based on the utilization of resources and the situations that are faced.

Situational Leadership- Utilization of Resources

Leadership is a utilization of resources for, during, and after a situation. There are four basic styles of leadership, which have to do with the way resources are used by leaders and the groups they lead:

Proactive- the leadership style that is used when the leader has the resources and the right to initiate action and exert control over what is going on. Success for this style is likely when:

  1. There is an agreement that the leader has resources and the group does not.
  2. There is a time pressure or crisis.
  3. The group's resistance toward the leader is minimal.
  4. The situation or problem is not too complex.
  5. Motivation and commitment of the group is not critical.

Reactive- the leadership style that is involved when the leader seems powerless and sees the group as strong. The leader then attempts to fit in with and accommodates. Success for this style is likely when:

  1. There is an agreement that the group has the resources, but the leader does not.
  2. The leader is willing to 'go along' for the sake of time.
  3. There is no moral or ethical issue at stake.
  4. The leader does not see this as a priority item.

Inactive- the leadership style that is involved when neither the leader nor the group have the resources. Success for this style is likely when:

  1. The response is short term.
  2. There is inadequate information.
  3. There is little motivation for either the leader of the group.
  4. No immediate gain can be seen.
  5. There is an emotionally charged atmosphere.

Interactive- the leadership style that is involved when the leader and the group has the necessary resources. Success for this style is likely when:

  1. There is a true need for both leader and group to contribute.
  2. The problem is complex and high motivation is needed.
  3. There is adequate time.
  4. Resistance is significant.

An effective leader will know when each of the above styles is necessary, adapting to the situation. New leaders must first accept, adjust, and be willing to adapt:

Accept the responsibilities of being a leader- It is important that an operational leader becomes comfortable with the responsibilities of leadership.

  • Become technically and tactically proficient
  • Communicate goals and expectations
  • Establish a spirit of cooperation and team work
  • Share your knowledge with the group

Adjust to the Needs of the Group- The success of a leader will depend on the responsiveness of the followers within the group.

  • Establish bottom to top decision-making
  • Allow the group to fulfill its potential
  • Stress communicating
  • Empower the group with authority to go with their responsibility

Adapt to the Role of Leader- A good leader will evaluate the system that support the group, while monitoring the performance of each member.

  • Evaluate the performance of the group and focus on their accomplishments
  • Correct systems that hinder the group's performance
  • Keep the group informed
  • Make sound and timely decisions

Return for more resourcesReturn for more CAP Professional Development Resources

USE OF THE EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: You may reproduce these resources for educational purposes but not for sales purposes. If you have questions about using any photographs or images, contact Soni Cochran. You're also welcome to link to this web site. Please credit: Lincoln Composite Squadron - Civil Air Patrol (

2005 Lincoln Composite Squadron - Civil Air Patrol | 402-423-1098 | comments?

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