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Multi-dimensional model of leadership

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The Multi-dimensional model of leadership was created by Packinthan Chelladurai and is a model that combines current theories of leadership.[1] This model of leadership was created by analyzing data collected from 99 athletes, and their preferred leadership characteristics in coaches.[1] The Multi-dimensional model of leadership claims that an individuals leadership style is determined by defining characteristics. The model considers different styles of leadership that can be acquired, along with how a leader is able to adapt to a situation and change their style of leadership in order to meet the particular needs.[2] The multi-dimensional model of leadership is a model can be linked to the study in the 1970’s about the preferred leadership in sports. This study gathered data from ninety-nine questionnaire about athletic coaches’ preference of leadership tactics called the leadership scale for sport (LSS).[1] The study focused on giving numerical values to these tactics, the lower the value the more “preferred” the action or behavior was. This leadership scale was then revised at a later date to a smaller group of questions divided up into 5 categories.[3] This new model was then given out to athletes and physical education participants so they could provide data to the questions based on their experiences with coaches or teachers and their training methods, behaviors, social support, and positive feedback. These studies would lay the foundation for Chelladurai to develop the Multi-dimensional model of leadership as we know it today. The model now has two columns an antecedent’s column and a leader behavior column which leads to a consequence. The antecedent’s column is then broken into three categories which are situational, leader, and member characteristics. The leader behavior column is also broken down into three categories which are required, preferred and actual behaviors. For the leader to reach a consequence of group performance and member satisfaction they must recognize the characteristics of themselves, the members of the group, and the situation they are in. Once the leader has recognized all those factors, they must balance the required and preferred behavior to their actual behavior.

Elements of Leadership[edit]

Elements of Leadership is the ability to guide, influence, and motivate people to accomplish a goal. Some theories suggest that leadership is a behavioral process that can be learned through traits that can be taught. Some believe it is innate . Leadership requires both physical and emotional aspects that include good interpersonal skills, such as effective communication skills and the ability to show empathy towards others. [4]

When it comes to leadership, Sports is often disregarded as a source to be considered.  Researchers often dismiss or fail to see that there is a structure more than the team and its players.  The roles of coaches and player positions have merit for consideration in leadership behaviors.  Outside of playing the game, much organization is required, including budgeting, planning, educating, motivating, and executing for desired results.  The coach serves as a motivational influencer that leads a team to progression of achieving a goal. [4]

Multi-dimensional Model of Leadership

Model Elements[edit]

Chelladurai's model focuses on 3 states of leader behavior:


(Expectations, limits) Required behavior is the prescription in which leadership qualities occurs, such as explaining the type of task and setting goals for the group. [5] It’s the Code of conduct and social norms in various contexts form the situational characteristics affecting leadership behavior. Example: How the conduct of a paid coach is different from a volunteer coach? How the required behavior of a coach is different from that of an athletic director?


(By the group members) Preferred behavior refers to the leaders preference of specific forms of behavior. This can include personality traits and attitudes towards different forms of behavior, however individuals should be conscious of situational requirements. [5]The nature of the group will influence the leader's behavior in specific situations. Example: How do the demands upon the leader differ when coming from a volunteer or a professional or a paid employee? How does the leader's behavior differ when dealing with youth volunteers or senior volunteers?


(Adaptive and reactive behaviors) Actual behavior is defined by how the leader behaves. A leader should be observant of situational requirements and be aware of member preferences. [5] Adaptive being the situation and reactive being the members. These 2 forms of behavior are a function of the leaders personality and ability. Example: How much guidance does an average person need in comparison to an athlete? How does preferred behavior differ between an individual sport versus a team sport?


The Model states that the leader will be more effective if the team's satisfaction with the leader is high. A team that is not satisfied with its leader will not demonstrate the same level of performance or satisfaction. A leader's behavior is determined by 3 factors (antecedents).

Situational characteristics[edit]

The environment in which the leader is performing, including whether the group is large or small, elite or social, focusing on individual or team sports, and the game's relative importance.

Leader (personal) characteristics[edit]

Including past experiences, temperament, personal qualities, skills, expected standards and decision making skills.

Group Member characteristics[edit]

The gender, age, skill level, motivation, cultural backgrounds and experience of members of the team that you will be leading.

Preferred Leadership Method by Gender[edit]

This study examines preferred leadership method and breaks it down into the different sexes. It shows that there is a difference in the type of leadership style preferred by different sexes.

Autocratic Behavior[edit]

This refers to the decision making method taken by the coach. The autocratic behavior method was preferred more by males than their female counterparts.[1]

Democratic Behavior[edit]

The findings of this model of leadership was that it was supported more by female athletes than male athletes. These findings indicate that the impact of the content of behavior is of greater importance than the style of the behavior, and that females prefer more democratic behavior.[1]

Supportive Behavior[edit]

Supportive behavior connotes the concern of the coach for the personal welfare of the players, irrespective of their performance. This kind of leadership was preferred more by male athletes than female athletes.[1]

Rewarding Behavior[edit]

This dimension of behavior relates directly to the efforts and contributions made by the members. This behavior showed no significant difference between male and female athletes.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Chelladurai, P.; Saleh, S. D. (1978). "Preferred leadership in sports". Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences. 3: 85–92.
  2. "How to become an effective Leader". BelievePerform - The UK's leading Sports Psychology Website. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  3. Chelladurai, Packinthan; S. D. Saleh (1980). "Dimensions of Leader Behavior in Sports : Deveiopment of a Leadership". Journal of Sport Psychology: 34-45. doi:10.1123/jsp.2.1.34. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chelladurai, P; Saleh, S.D (1980). "Preferred leadership in sports". Journal of Sport Psychology (2): 34–45. doi:10.1123/jsp.2.1.34.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Multidimensional Model of Sport Leadership - IResearchNet". Psychology. 2016-10-30. Retrieved 2020-11-25.

6. Chelladurai, Packinthan. (2011)."Leadership in Sports-FAGDE". The Ohio State University. Retrieved 2011-09-10.

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