Leadership Styles

A leader’s typical way of behaving towards group members can be classified as leadership style. It refers to the behavior exhibited by a leader during supervision of employees. The style represents the leader predominant way of acting with his group. Actually, there are as many different styles as there are leaders. However, organizational researchers have listed following three basis styles:
1. Autocratic Style
The autocratic leader assumes responsibility for deciding on the group’s project by assigning tasks to members and permitting no participation in decision making process. He centralizes authority and decision making in him and exercise complete and full-fledged control over his subordinates. He sets group goals and structures the work. He gives orders and the subordinated are expected to obey them. The manager expresses decision by the use of rewards and the fear of punishment. Communication tends to be one way i.e. downward. The subordinates are made aware of what to do but not why. Tasks are assigned facilities provided and direction given without consultation with the individual carrying out the work.

An average of autocratic leadership is that the decisions are very speedy. It is most suited at the time of crisis or when the subordinates are inefficient.

2. Democratic Style
Democratic style is widely known participative or employee oriented leadership styles. The essence of this style is the consultation, the leader consults the subordinates. Before arriving at decisions, participative leadership styles take into consideration the wishes and suggestions of the subordinates as well as the leader. All members of the group are seen as important contribution to the final decision. The communication is two ways i.e. upward as well as downward.

The advantages of this type of leadership style include;
  • Increased member’s moral and support for the final decision and better decisions through shared information. 
  • Ideas among group members participating in decision-making can lead to improve manager/ worker relations. 
  • High satisfaction and decreased dependence on the leader.
  • Multi-directional communication permits fruitful exchange of ideas and information between the leader and led and helps in encouraging member commitment to the decision.
3. Free rein style or laissez faire Style
It goes a step further of democratic style and turn an entire problem or project over subordinates, subordinates may be asked to set their own goals and to develop plans for achieving them. Thus, in this type of leadership style, a manager avoids power and relinquishes leadership position. The leader is a silent spectator. In essence, this approach is characterized by the absence of any active leadership by the leader. It is the abdication of responsibility. The leader merely functions as a group member, providing only as much advice and direction as requested. There is very little control or influence over group members of the leader.

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