what kind of leaders would hiccup and toothless be according to their personalities, how would be hiccups style of leading and how would be toothless s style?
Though Hiccup and Toothless have yet to fully grow into themselves and become full leaders of human and dragon, they honestly have done a lot of leadership actions already. From events in How to Train Your Dragon, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and every season of the television series, we can have a good idea of what sorts of leaders Hiccup and Toothless are.
This is a condensed analysis; I really could expand upon it and look at the topic of leadership in greater depth
especially since I have a Minor in Leadership and have had to do leadership analyses with academic theory a lot. But I hope this is a good start, and if people would like more details, message me!
Hiccup as a Leader
Hiccup is not someone who thinks of himself as a leader, especially not in HTTYD when he is just a teenager in a dragon-fighting society. However, by the end of How to Train Your Dragon, he clearly takes charge. Hiccup leads himself and all of the teenagers out to Dragon Island on the backs of dragons. While it is a group effort, every single teenager contributing as best they can, it is Hiccup who is delegating who does what. He asks Fishlegs to give an analysis on the Red Death’s strengths so they know how to attack it. Then he tells them to keep it busy while he gets Toothless. And once he gets Toothless, they all look to him about what to do next. This is the first clear time we see Hiccup leading, but he is already doing it notably well.
After the events of How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup is no longer a scorned nobody, but a celebrated hero remembered for being the “dragon boy” of Berk. People start expecting him to handle dragon matters, seen pretty clearly in Gift of the Night Fury when the entire village mobs him with questions about why the dragons are flying away. Hiccup has become the authority on all things dragon, and because much of village life is about dragons now, he takes on increasing leadership.
Hiccup always takes on leadership when he believes it is needed. He does not even question whether or not it should be done; in typical impulse-style Hiccup fashion, he just takes it upon himself to finish things. He does it subconsciously a lot of the time rather than consciously. When it is conscious, it is with the desire to do something he feels needs to be done - kill the Red Death, start the Dragon Academy and get dragon life in order, or give peace talks to Drago in HTTYD 2. When Hiccup leads, it is because he legitimately desires to “get the thing done.”
This translates into a very clearly defined leadership style. Hiccup uses all the tools in the toolkit to get the task he wants done as pragmatically and efficiently as possible. One of the biggest resources to accomplishing a task is human resources, and we see that Hiccup is a leader who logically delegates everyone according to appropriate tasks. He does this over and over and over and over again in the television series. Hiccup simply tells everyone what to do and expects them to do it. And the thing is… because Hiccup has such good ideas… people do it.
I think my favorite instance of Hiccup going into “leadership mode” assigning people tasks is in “Crushing It.” Right when Stoick is about to give people a plan of action, Hiccup steps in. He does not even realize he is cutting his dad off; he just is doing what he is always doing. He goes right up to the group and straight-out says, “Astrid, you search the eastern coast line. Ruff, Tuff, you have the west. My father and I will take the middle of the island. Fishlegs and Snotlout, you take care of Gobber and keep fixing the base.”
The thing is, Hiccup always acts like a leader to the dragon gang. He is almost invariably in some sort of leadership mindset, even though he does not realize it. And everyone treats him as the leader without question. Right after Snotlout gives his instructions in “Crushing It,” Snotlout whines, “Why do I have to stay behind?” Snotlout is not challenging Hiccup’s authority - he recognizes it exists - but he is just complaining about the instruction Hiccup gives him. He wants the authority to give him the go to do something else. Good Odin, Snotlout does not even look to Stoick at all in this scene for leadership - he and everyone else just talks and listens to Hiccup!
So Hiccup is a leader that people listen to because he’s the one with ideas, and because, frankly, he has come to expect people to listen to him. Even when Ruffnut and Tuffnut are officially dubbed the leaders of the island, everyone turns to Hiccup for what to do about it. The twins become the legal authority, but Hiccup is the authority in presence, personality, and mind.
Hiccup is also a no-nonsense leader. He does not focus on emotional ties of the group members as much as just pragmatically getting the situation done. For this reason, we see Hiccup calling out Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and Snotlout a lot in the television series for goofing off. Hiccup does not like people distracting them from the task at hand, and wants them to focus on what needs to be done. What he needs done.
Hiccup does still listen to people and considerately listen to other peoples’ contributions to ideas. He does it very well. He listens to peoples’ ideas and either incorporates them into his plan or says they will not work. But while Hiccup is a leader who listens to other ideas, he frankly is not a communal leader. He takes on all stages of getting things done and controls a lot of how a plan goes into action. He is the one who comes up with a lot of the brainstorming, he is the one who decides how the plan goes after everyone brainstorms, he delegates people with what to do without even telling them why sometimes, and he assigns himself the most challenging aspects of a plan. Hiccup is a leader that uses others as an extension of his arms and legs. He does it efficiently, he does it well, and he does it to get things done.
Hiccup might not think he is much of a leader because his leading style is very different from Stoick’s. But Hiccup is a leader almost every day of his life from the time he is fifteen.
I think he will grow a lot in How to Train Your Dragon 3 regarding leadership. I think he will be a bit of a timid and uncertain chief, not sure what to do with the title. He is not accustomed to official authority over everybody, and he is not accustomed to being a leader for everything. All his leadership actions in the past have been over very specific tasks: things he has wanted to do with dragons, or things he has felt he has needed to do because of the pressing situation at hand. As a chief, he will have to expand himself and pay heed to many more kinds of problems. He also will not have to rely on himself as much to solve and execute every problem. How this leadership growth occurs and how this results in a much more mature, balanced leader will be interesting to see in HTTYD 3. But I suspect it will have to improve in some of the ways I have already mentioned: confidence, increased tasks to focus on, and learning he cannot do everything himself. But once he realizes that being a leader is not about giving speeches, and realizes he can be a sympathetic figurehead and voice for the people… then he really can be a magnificent leader indeed.
Good Odin, I could really talk about this guy’s leadership for eternity… but I think I will have to cut myself off. For now at least. :) Later, I might actually pull him out as a leadership theory case study.
Toothless as a Leader
I do not have as much to say about Toothless, but he is just as much of a leader as Hiccup is… just in a different way. Toothless is a less forthcoming leader. He is more of a community leader than Hiccup is. While Hiccup assigns tasks in a straightforward manner and simply assumes people will follow him and his logic, Toothless is more about pulling his weight in a shared system. Toothless is always working with others to accomplish goals, and he tends to make sure at least Hiccup is on board with him for what he wants to do. In How to Train Your Dragon, he gestures for Hiccup to get in the saddle so they can fight the Red Death. In How to Train Your Dragon 2, he fights the Bewilderbeast with all of Berk’s dragons behind him supporting him. And when he does other missions throughout the television series, he is cooperating with the other dragons. He might be at the front of some ideas and might be the one who starts the initiative, but Toothless works together as a part of his leadership style. Toothless does not command; he operates within a herd who all have the same goal and mission.
But Toothless does share some similarities to Hiccup in leadership. He only does it when he thinks it is needed. And frankly, most of the times he thinks it is needed is because Hiccup thinks it is needed or because Hiccup is in trouble. But the point of the matter is, Toothless does not take charge unless it is a pressing matter like defeating the Red Death or the Bewilderbeast.
I imagine Toothless will probably be a more hands-off leader in How to Train Your Dragon 3. He will let the dragons do their thing with less supervision than Hiccup will as Hooligan chief. That sort of community-based, socially aware leader is probably what the dragons need. Toothless might feel a little awkward or cumbersome giving direct commands and having the dragons do things that need to get done. He probably will have to do that in HTTYD 3 at least once. Like when the dragons disappear. That might all be him saying they need to.