Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №6/2010

What Kind of Leader Are You?

It is common wisdom that a huge percentage of success in any business depends on the leader. A true leader, a Leader with the capital letter accumulates a great number of characteristics that can evoke the best in the employees and stimulate them to do their best to perform their work on the par.

Task 1

Type of activity: in groups of 3–4 people

Create a spidergram of a true leader.

For example:

After the task is completed, share your spidergrams with other groups and make a united one on the flipchart.

But the trick to these great characteristics is that sometimes the leader does not control his/her behaviour and his good qualities go to extremes and become drawbacks! So Dr. Jekyll shows his Mr. Hyde’s side.

Task 2

Here is a management characteristic worksheet. On the right you see characteristics of managers, and on the left you see explanations of these characteristics.

Management CharacteristicsDefinition
Winning too muchThe need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.
Adding too much valueThe overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
Passing judgementThe need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
Making destructive commentsThe needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
Telling the world how smart we areThe need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
Speaking when angryUsing emotionally volatility as a management tool.
Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
Withholding informationThe refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
Failing to give proper recognitionThe inability to praise and reward when the person is worth it.
Claiming credit we don’t actually deserveThe most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
Making excusesThe need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
Clinging to the pastThe need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; as subset of blaming everyone else.
Playing favoritesFailing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
Refusing to express regretThe inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
Not listeningThe most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
Failing to express gratitudeThe most basic form of bad manners
Punishing the messengerThe misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
Passing the buckThe need to blame everyone but ourselves.
An excessive need to be “me”Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.

Please answer whether or not this characterizes you.

(Alternatively you may use a 5 score evaluation basis, so that “0” means you do not have this trait and “5” means you have it to a high degree.)

After the task is completed, you share charts with the others. Discuss the traits of character we need to minimize.

(Alternatively, if the students know each other well – fill in this table for each other, for instance, in pairs, and then compare your own answers and the view of your friends on your behaviour.)

Task 3

Here are the definitions of the word “leader”, suggested by Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. This word has multiple meanings in various spheres of life.

Read the definitions, find the one that has a more general meaning and create your own definition of a “class-leader”.


1. In Control

the person who directs or controls a group, organization, country etc. (ruler)

the leader of the local black community

party/union/government/opposition etc leader

political/military/religious leader

natural/born leader (=someone who naturally has all the qualities needed to be a leader)

His air of confidence makes him a natural leader.

2. Competition

the person or group that is in front of all the others in a race or competition:

County Championship leaders of Hampshire

3. Product/Company

the product or company that is the best or most successful

leader in

a world leader in defense and space electronics

These products are firmly established as the market leaders.

4. Newspaper

(British English) a piece of writing in a newspaper giving the paper’s opinion on a subject [= editorial]:

The Times leader column

5. Musician

(British English) the main violin player in an orchestra [= concertmaster in American English]

6. Musical Director

(American English) someone who directs the playing of a musical group [= conductor British English]

Task 4

Look at this list of leaders below.

Leaders list:

1. Jesus Christ

2. Ivan the Terrible

3. Bill Clinton

4. Vladimir Putin

5. Ozzie Osborne

6. Walt Disney

7. Joan D’Arc

8. Julius Caesar

9. John Lennon

10. Che Guevara

11. Catherine the Great

12. Elizabeth II

13. Freddie Mercury

14. Victor Tsoi

15. Mahatma Gandhi

16. J. F. Kennedy

17. Bill Gates

18. Alexander of Macedonia

19. Lenin

20. Christopher Columbus

Who would you consider:

1. The most powerful?

2. The most authoritative?

3. The cruelest?

4. The most memorable?

5. The one you want to look like?

Task 5

Choose a person you respect as a great and unusual leader and make a report abut him/her. Get ready to present him\he to the whole class. He/she may be from Russia or abroad, well-known or not, dead or alive, or from any sphere of life.

Compiled by Alyona Pavlova ,
Moscow State University for Printing Arts