“Criminal Minds’ is a procedural show on CBS and depicts the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). The head of the BAU is Aaron Hotchner (Hotch) whose leadership style, at first glance, appears to be authoritarian style which is defined as “expecting or requiring people to obey rules and not allowing personal freedom.” Yet, underneath Hotch’s cold exterior, he deeply cares and respects his team because he is willing to adapt and change his different leadership styles for each team member.
Spencer Reid is the youngest and the smartest member of the team who did have the abilities or knowledge to be an FBI agent when the show first premiered. Hotch took the time to teach Reid how to pass the field requirements, although Hotch was busy with other aspects of the job. Hotch’s leadership style towards Reid is the paternalism style of leadership. Northouse defined paternalism as one “that regards the team as family, rewards loyalty, and punishes non-compliance” (p. 81). When Reid stepped out of bounds during a case, Hotch informed Reid that if the incident happened again, Reid would be dismissed from the FBI. However, Hotch also told Reid that he should go back to his support group meeting. The specific incident is one that shows how much Hotch cares about the welfare of the team. As a result of Hotch’s time to teach Reid, he as grown to be an excellent FBI agent.
Hotch are uses socialized power to “empower” some of the team members. When “Criminal Minds” premiered, Garcia was the team’s computer analyst and never went into the field. However, Hotch needed her on a case and asked Garcia to come along. Since that case, Garcia has become an invaluable asset to the team and has increased her self-confidence.
As Hotch as taught me, there is not one specific way to lead. Each member has different needs and abilities that must be addressed so the team members can learn and grow to be successful in work and life.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authoritarian.
Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2014). PSYCH 485 Lesson 7: Power and Influence. Retrieved from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/su14/psych485/001/content/07_lesson.