The aim of this European Leonardo Da Vinci project is to improve
the quality of workplace training in industries in Europe.

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4.3 Leadership styles


To provide the right sort of guidance to the trainees at a particular point in time a leadership style that fits the context (= situational leadership) can be chosen.

There are 4 basic styles of leadership available to the supervisor:

  • Directing: the supervisor defines the tasks of the trainees and closely supervises them. The supervisor makes decisions. Communication is one-way.
  • Coaching: the supervisor defines the tasks of the trainees. He listens to suggestions by the trainees. Communication is more two-way.
  • Supporting: the trainees are allowed to make small day-to-day decisions. The supervisor listens to the trainees and helps them.
  • Delegating: the supervisor is involved in the decisions, but control is with the trainees.


You can raise the development and the feeling of independence and self-assuredness of the trainees by gradually moving from a directive to a more supportive leadership style.


The interaction and cooperation between the supervisor and the trainees is at its most intense in the beginning of the work internship period.

Towards the end of the period, the trainees’ work becomes more independent and the supervisor can delegate things and withdraw more into the background.


If the trainees are not committed to training or motivated, you may be forced to adopt a more directive learning style throughout the internship.

Be aware of cultural differences in leadership styles.