Directive Leadership from Mr. Miyagi

Directive Leadership from Mr. Miyagi

Wax On, Wax Off, No Questions

Does directive leadership have its place? Research shows that coercive leadership negatively impacts culture.

The pacesetter style also negatively impacts culture. The pacesetter style of leadership is a “keep up with me” type of leadership. The pacesetter style also negatively impacts culture because it doesn’t build sustainable skills of the follower.

Directive leadership is somewhat different than coercive leadership. It’s possible to be directive while not resorting to force or coercion. In fact, directive leadership is most appropriate when the follower is low in competency but high in commitment. Directive leadership is also appropriate during emergency type situations. For example, if the room was on fire, I wouldn’t say, “Ok, everybody break up into small groups and discuss the situation among yourselves”. I would pull a George Costanza and say “Everybody after Me”.

http://youtu.be/ueh_1PeJhaQ

Well maybe not that extreme.

Directive leadership is appropriate in emergency situations where there’s little time and where the follower is low in competence but high in commitment. Take the famous scene from Karate Kid. Wax on, wax off, no questions from the late Mr. Miyagi.

or sand the floor.

And finally paint the fence

At some point, Danielson moves from low in competence but high in commitment to the disillusioned learner. The disillusioned learner has some competence, but experiences a drop off in commitment. Danielson says, this is BS man….I’m outa here!

I guess directive behavior is appropriate as long as it’s part of a bigger picture development plan.

When is directive leadership appropriate for you?

  • Larry Hiner

    Small doses, intentional, immediate, in a context of trust. I agree, Dale.

    • Thanks Larry. Liked your comment about small doses. Any virtue carried to an extreme is a crime. Sometimes the difference between music and noise is the volume to which it gets played. I also like your comment about trust. Trust is like an organizations immune system. Once trust is gone, all sorts of other illnesses begin to invade the organization.