Many fans of the Harry Potter universe speak of Severus Snape as a hero, while others disagree with that statement and claim that he only did good out of selfish needs. Some argue that, if Neville had been the one attacked by Voldemort that night, Snape would have continued to be a Death Eater and never changed. We are of the opinion that he was a hero because the choices made by all parties involved caused him to be a hero. There will always be what ifs, but those could have changed anyone's role in the series and not just his. We want to look at Snape in a different way. We want to discuss how he was a leader.
A leader is, in the most basic format, someone who has followers. Severus Snape was a leader purely because he was a teacher, and he led his students to be better at Potions. He was also a leader of the Slytherin house because he was the Head of Slytherin and, therefore, responsible for his house's actions. There are many types of leaders or styles of leadership, but we believe that Snape would be classified as a Transactional Leader. And, with that, we believe he operated using an active management style along with contingent rewards.
Let us describe what we mean in more detail. We have chosen to pinpoint two major types of leadership and choose which one Snape applies to. He could be considered a Transactional leader or a Transformational leader. A Transformational leader brings about change and attempts to build their followers into leaders, while a Transactional leader works to maintain a status quo. Transformational leaders give their followers a vision to believe in, and that is why they follow, but a Transactional leader uses their followers' self-interest to get things done. So, from that definition, we can make the conclusion that Snape worked under a Transactional mindset.
Snape showed favoritism to his own students -- by that we mean Slytherins -- and he both rewarded them for doing what he expected but also kept them out of trouble when necessary. His system of rewarding them with his praise and respect along with his protection allows us to infer that he believed in a contingent reward style of leadership. Snape also applies to the role of Active-Management, though, because he was always present and always making sure all Hogwarts students were behaving. If you look back through the series, Snape was always the professor assigning detention and monitoring the halls as well as being present for every large event that happened, good or bad. Dolores Umbridge took on some of this role during her stint at Hogwarts but in a much more menacing way.
Take a look at these clips below showing some of Snape's moments using the contingency theory and active-management theory.
In the clip above, we see that Snape was out after hours patrolling the halls to ensure no student was out breaking any rules. He did this out of his role as a professor and out of his respect for Dumbledore. He took his role very seriously, which means he was a very active leader.
In the scene above, the dueling club from The Chamber of Secrets, we see Snape show favoritism to his own house when he suggests Draco as a match for Harry, but we also see that he is not pleased with Draco's performance. Had Draco defeated Harry in this duel, we can imagine Snape would have rewarded his behavior.
Regardless of your personal views on Snape, you can't argue that he was not a leader in his role at Hogwarts. Or maybe you can! And, if you do disagree, let us know in the comment section below. We'd love to hear your thoughts! Severus Snape will still go down in our books as the 'bravest man' we ever read about.