It is my belief that there are three standard types of leaders. There are those that lead from the front, those that lead from the middle and those that lead from the back. No matter the leadership skills or styles you use they fall under this category. Each type of leader plays an equally important role in the development of a group.
Those that lead from the front are able to pull the group in the direction of the goals. Those who lead from the front have the ability to use their leadership style to influence the group to move on one accord. To lead from the front one must have an understanding of what the group does well. This leader must deliver a message that can be received from the majority of the group. This allows the group to want to move in the direction of the leader. Those who lead from the front must be stern in their decision making as they affect everyone behind them. A difficulty that stems from leading from the front is that you are often the last to know about problems within the group. You must remember to take the time out to feel the pulse of the organization. You must ensure that your message is not falling onto deaf ears. Another difficulty is that one’s ego can get in-between the leader and the group. One must not let his or her position get to their head. They must remember that they are in a position that requires them to serve.
Those that lead from the middle are the ones that lead by example. They show up on time and usually with a smile. They take on tasks when assigned and even offer to do other jobs. Others notice their hard work and it entices them to work hard.
Those that lead from the back are able to push the group in the directions of the goals. They have the ability to use their leadership style to help the organization in tough times. When progress on a task is not being made these leaders step up to the plate and get it done. These are the people that are willing to do the dirty work of an organization. On college campuses these are the people are going around campuses getting the papers signed. Those who lead from the back are sometimes uncomfortable in the spot light but have a desire to do the work of the organization. Their work ethic motivates others to achieve more when others notice the work they are doing. However those who lead from the back must become comfortable being overlooked because the fact is that people may not notice them. They must realize that what they are doing will serve a greater purpose. Those who lead from the back have to be careful not to become envious of those who get more attention. It is natural to want credit for the work that you do but one must put aside personal pride for the benefit of the organization.
As leaders you may naturally feel comfortable in one role over the others. However, a good leader must adaptable and be willing to play each part to better the organization. This will cause group members to become comfortable playing their roles. It shows that are you prepared to perform any task that the organization needs of you. The people you are leading will see that and work harder for you.