Leading in Rehabilitation - Implement the Leadership Approach

Original Editor - Jess Bell based on the course by Jason Giesbrecht

Top Contributors - Jess Bell and Kim Jackson  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

There is often a gap between knowing about leadership and actually doing the leading. Bridging this gap can help people in informal and formal leadership roles become capable and influential leaders in rehabilitation. Leaders must be able to:

This page focuses on the third step of implementing the optimal leadership approach. It explores eight prominent leadership styles, which are discussed in detail here. These leadership styles are:

  • Transformational
  • Transactional
  • Charismatic
  • Servant
  • Laissez-faire (delegative)
  • Authoritarian (autocratic)
  • Participative (democratic)
  • Coaching

Leadership Effectiveness[edit | edit source]

Essentially, leaders strive to achieve leadership effectiveness, which is defined as:

“The successful exercise of personal influence by one or more people that results in accomplishing shared objectives in a way that is personally satisfying to those involved.”[1]

Figure 1. Leadership effectiveness.

The personal influence described in this quote refers to the combined impact of personal values, beliefs, and emotional intelligence. Together, these provide a foundation upon which the leadership approach, or the leadership skills and characteristics associated with each approach, can be implemented (Figure 1).[2]

Personal Values[edit | edit source]

"[P]ersonal values can be defined as trans-situational goals that vary in importance and serve as guiding principles in people’s lives."[3]

They are the inner standards from which you receive the motivation to act and by which you make decisions and judge behaviour. They represent a deep expression of what is most important to you.[2]

Figure 2. Beliefs.

Beliefs[edit | edit source]

Beliefs are thoughts, assumptions, outlooks and attitudes that we favour about ourselves and others (Figure 2). They arise from evidence, tradition, authority, association, and revelation.[2]

Belief domains are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1. Belief Domains.[2]
Domains Positive Beliefs Negative Beliefs
Self “I am worthy of love and happiness” “I am flawed and unlovable”
Others “Others like me and value my opinion” “People are generally hurtful and disloyal”
The world “The world is my oyster!” “The world is a dangerous place”
The future “The future is bright and opportunity awaits” “There is no hope – things will never get better”

What is Emotional Intelligence?[edit | edit source]

"Emotional intelligence (EI) can be defined as the ability to identify, express, understand, manage, and use emotions. EI has been shown to have an important impact on health, relationships, and work/academic performance."[4]

It enables individuals to:[2]

  • Recognise, understand, and manage their emotions and the emotions of others
  • Express their thoughts
  • Develop and maintain social relationships
  • Cope with challenges
  • Use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way

The following video provides an explanation of emotional intelligence.


Emotional quotient is a measure of emotional intelligence.[6] [7] It incorporates: self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; and relationship management.[7]

Table 2, based on Jason Giesbrecht's work,[2] lists the characteristics of someone who is high in emotional intelligence vs someone who is low in emotional intelligence.

Table 2. Characteristics of High vs Low Emotional Intelligence[2]
Low in Emotional Intelligence High in Emotional Intelligence
  • Aggressive
  • Demanding
  • Egotistical
  • Bossy
  • Confrontational
  • Easily distracted
  • Glib
  • Selfish
  • Poor listener
  • Impulsive
  • Change resistant
  • Passive
  • Un-responsive
  • Inflexible
  • Stubborn
  • Critical
  • Judgmental
  • Fussy
  • Hard to please
  • Perfectionistic
  • Assertive
  • Confident
  • Motivated
  • Independent
  • Decisive
  • Warm
  • Enthusiastic
  • Sociable
  • Inquisitive
  • Persuasive
  • Patient
  • Steady
  • Controlled
  • Consistent
  • Good listener
  • Detailed
  • Careful
  • Empathetic
  • Organised
  • Thoughtful

Bar-On Model of Emotional Intelligence[edit | edit source]

Figure 3. Bar-On Model of Emotional and Social Intelligence.

In order to understand emotional intelligence, it can be helpful to use the Bar-On model of emotional and social intelligence (see Figure 3). This model consists of five main sections known as composites:

  • Self-perception
  • Self-expression
  • Interpersonal
  • Decision making
  • Stress management

Each composite has three subscales. More information on this model is available here and in the Plus course: Emotional Intelligence.

Implement the Leadership Approach[edit | edit source]

After assessing the situation and selecting an appropriate leadership style, it is necessary to implement the chosen leadership approach.

Each leadership approach is associated with a specific set of characteristics and skills. Leaders must develop and refine their skills in a range of leadership styles, so they can successfully implement each style as appropriate. In order to develop these skills, it is necessary to first look within yourself and perform a self-assessment. Ask questions such as: “What leadership skills are needed to implement this approach? Do I possess these skills? If not, what steps do I need to take to develop these skills?"[2]

The following table, adapted from Jason Giesbrecht,[2] provides a summary of the key characteristics of eight common leadership approaches, ideas for self-assessment and useful tips to help you implement these leadership styles.

Table 3. Characteristics of Leadership Approaches, Self-Assessment and Implementation Tips.
Leadership Approach Characteristics Self-Assessment Implementation Tips
  • Coaches
  • Mentors
  • Inspires others
  • Communicator
  • Visionary
  • Engaging
  • Collaborates
  • Am I prepared with coaching questions?
  • Have I prepared a mentoring plan?
  • What actions and behaviours will I role model?
  • What is the vision I want to inspire others towards?
  • How will I promote creativity and development in others?
  • Create a list of powerful coaching questions
  • Develop and balance emotional intelligence subscales - it can be useful to take part in an emotional intelligence assessment, such as the EQi-2.0
  • Develop and refine a clear and compelling vision
  • Identify or seek out opportunities for others to grow, develop, and contribute
  • Structured
  • Organised
  • Motivates
  • Detail oriented
  • Goal focused
  • Process driven
  • Manages
  • Instructs
  • What are the goals that I want to achieve?
  • What formal authority do I have to give instructions or direction to others?
  • How will I monitor and reward / correct performance?
  • What methods will I use to communicate my instructions?
  • Develop organisational awareness and hierarchical clarity
  • Clearly and proactively communicate goals and requirements
  • Be clear on what is flexible and what is not
  • Incentivise good performance; correct inadequate performance early
  • Charming
  • Persuasive
  • Communicator
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring
  • Visionary
  • Influential
  • Passionate
  • How might I successfully engage and persuade others?  
  • How can I best communicate my message with passion?  
  • What steps can I take to inspire my vision in others?
  • Create connections through praise and gratitude
  • Use multiple approaches to clearly communicate a compelling vision
  • Be positive and upbeat
  • Show confidence, poise, and positive non-verbal cues
  • Humble
  • Listener
  • Caring
  • Loyal
  • Empowering
  • Collaboration
  • Unselfish
  • Trusting
  • What active listening techniques do I use?
  • How can I show I genuinely care for others?
  • How can I share my power?
  • How can I support others to succeed?
  • Understand the needs of others
  • Use mirroring techniques
  • Ask curious questions
  • Seek opportunities to serve
  • Coach and mentor … then trust
Laissez-faire/ delegative[12]
  • Assigns
  • Delegates
  • Entrusts
  • Empowers
  • Independence
  • Freedom
  • Equips
  • Uninvolved
  • Does trust exist between the followers and leader?
  • How can I ensure team members are equipped to complete the task?
  • What steps can I take to remain uninvolved and forfeit power?
  • Focus on recruiting and developing highly capable persons
  • Practise power-sharing with increasing risk
  • Articulate a clear vision
  • Provide feedback
Authoritarian / autocratic[13]
  • Directive
  • Inflexible
  • Structured
  • Power focused
  • Strict
  • Controlling
  • Decisive
  • How will this approach impact my relationship with or engagement of team members?
  • What information do I need before giving direction?
  • What are my goals or desired outcomes?
  • Do I have the authority to make this decision?
  • Set specific and unambiguous goals
  • Practise taking decisive and confident action
  • Become acutely aware of the small set of situations where this approach is applied
  • Be aware of negative impacts on creativity, engagement, and morale
Participative / democratic[14]
  • Guides
  • Collective wisdom
  • Inclusivity
  • Consults
  • Collaborates
  • Communicates
  • Seeks diversity
  • How will I engage others to encourage participation?
  • How will I guide others towards a decision?
  • How will I balance collaboration with expectations and required outcomes?
  • Once all input is in, how will I make the decision?
  • Review the IAP2 Spectrum and consider the most appropriate level of engagement (see Figure 4 below)
  • Communicate the decision making process early
  • Ask curious questions to expose ideas, promote creativity, and uncover assumptions
  • Inquires
  • Active listening
  • Curious
  • Empathetic
  • Trusting
  • Develops
  • Encourages
  • Does the coachee hold the solution within?
  • How will I resist the temptation to give advice?
  • What curious questions will have the greatest impact?
  • How can I best prepare to listen deeply?
  • Prepare open-ended questions before the interaction
  • Seek to identify blind spots, assumptions, or judgments
  • Use active listening techniques such as mirroring, verbal affirmations, and non-verbal cues
Figure 4. IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation.

The International Association of Public Participation[16] has developed a tool (Figure 4) that demonstrates the five levels of engagement (inform, consult, involve, collaborate, empower). It is important to consider which level of engagement needs to be applied in a specific situation.[2]

When using this tool, it is possible that a team / audience may believe the leader is at one level of engagement (e.g. collaboration) while the leader believes they are at another level of engagement (e.g. inform). It is important to remember this when planning engagement sessions as this will help to keep you, the leader, safe.

Leadership Approach Preferences[edit | edit source]

  • Some leadership approaches come easily…others, require more work
  • What is your “natural” or preferred leadership approach?
  • Become aware of your natural tendency…and manage the impulse to use this style in all situations
  • Develop your ‘out of preference’ leadership styles[2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cooper JF, Nirenberg J. Leadership effectiveness. In Encyclopedia of Leadership. Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2004. p845-54.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Giesbrecht J. Implement the Leadership Approach Course. Plus. 2022.
  3. Barni D, Danioni F, Benevene P. Teachers' self-efficacy: the role of personal values and motivations for teaching. Front Psychol. 2019;10:1645.
  4. Kotsou I, Mikolajczak M, Heeren A, Grégoire J, Leys C. Improving emotional intelligence: a systematic review of existing work and future challenges. Emotion Review. 2019;11(2):151-65.
  5. Brendon Gouveia. Emotional Intelligence. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weuLejJdUu0 [last accessed 17/04/2022]
  6. Gilar-Corbi R, Pozo-Rico T, Sánchez B, Castejón JL. Can emotional intelligence be improved? A randomized experimental study of a business-oriented EI training program for senior managers. PLoS One. 2019 23;14(10):e0224254.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sánchez-Teruel D, Robles-Bello MA, Camacho-Conde JA. Assessment of emotional intelligence in adults with down syndrome: Psychometric properties of the Emotional Quotient Inventory. PLoS One. 2020;15(7):e0236087.
  8. Baskarada S, Watson JC, Cromarty J. Balancing transactional and transformational leadership. International Journal of Organizational Analysis. 2017;25: 506-15.
  9. Nielsen PA, Boye S, Holten A-L, Jacobsen CB, Andersen LB. Are transformational and transactional types of leadership compatible? A two-wave study of employee motivation. Public Admin. 2019;97:413-28.
  10. Banks GC, Engemann KN, Williams CE, Gooty J, Davis McCauley K, Medaugh MR. A meta-analytic review and future research agenda of charismatic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly. 2017;28(4):508-29.
  11. Eva N, Robin M, Sendjaya S, van Dierendonck D, Liden RC. Servant leadership: a systematic review and call for future research. The Leadership Quarterly. 2019;30(1):111-32.
  12. Chapter Seven: BEING A LEADER. In: Therapeutic Recreation (5th ed) [Internet]. Sagamore Publishing; 2004 [cited 2022 Apr 4]. p. 323–61. Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rss&AN=20094194&site=ehost-live
  13. Wang H, Guan B. The positive effect of authoritarian leadership on employee performance: the moderating role of power distance. Front Psychol. 2018;9:357.
  14. Odoardi C, Battistelli A, Montani F, Peiró JM. Affective commitment, participative leadership, and employee innovation: a multilevel investigation. Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. 2019;35:103-13.
  15. Rapp-Ricciardi M, Garcia D, Archer T. Personal attributes linked to empowerment that influence receptivity to coaching leadership. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice. 2018;11(1):30-45.
  16. International Association for Public Participation. IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation. Available from: www.iap2.org (accessed 17 April 2022).