Explain Different Styles of Leadership Essay Example
Explain Different Styles of Leadership Essay Example

Explain Different Styles of Leadership Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2228 words)
  • Published: November 30, 2016
  • Type: Case Study
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In business, there are three universally recognized leadership styles. Despite the introduction of new styles in modern office environments, this discussion will focus on the traditional ones. It is crucial for individuals to discover a suitable leadership style for themselves and their subordinates because what may work effectively for superiors might not be effective for an individual and their team.

To be a successful leader, it is crucial to evaluate different leadership styles and their effectiveness with different personality types. Adapting one's style according to the situation is vital as there is no universal approach to leadership. Therefore, comprehending all leadership styles offers advantages. The more familiar you are with these styles, the better equipped you will be for effective leadership. Globally, business leaders often utilize three conventional leadership styles that possess their individual strengt


hs and weaknesses, which I will elaborate on.

Kurt Lewin conducted a study in 1939 to identify various leadership styles that had a major impact on subsequent research. The study specifically examined autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire styles. To observe the effects of these leadership styles, school children were divided into three groups, each led by a leader representing one of the styles. Researchers observed how the children responded to these leadership styles during arts and crafts activities. Autocratic leadership is characterized by the leader exercising complete authority over their subordinates.

Staff and team members lack the chance to offer suggestions that could benefit their team or organization. The autocratic style, commonly used in business, is widely understood. The authoritarian style operates based on the organization's rules, with a clear distinction between leader and followers. In thi

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style, communication and commands flow from the leader or manager to the subordinates, who then follow the decisions made by the leader.

The autocratic leader asserts their authority by giving orders and not considering input from employees or team members. They expect tasks to be completed according to their instructions. This approach can be described as "my way or the highway." The authoritarian leader sets clear expectations for tasks, deadlines, and methods. They make decisions independently without much input from subordinates. They guide and motivate the team towards a shared vision or objective, emphasizing end goals. Authoritative leaders inspire enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial spirit for a vision or mission.

Although autocratic leadership may not be suitable for teams of knowledgeable experts, it provides efficiency in decision-making and task completion. This leadership style can especially advantage routine or unskilled jobs, where control is more important than the drawbacks. Nevertheless, a significant drawback is that individuals often feel resentful when treated as subordinates without any authority to initiate changes.

Autocratic leadership can result in higher levels of absenteeism and employee turnover due to employees feeling powerless and excluded from decision-making. On the other hand, democratic leadership fosters inclusivity by involving all individuals in the decision-making process, treating both leaders and employees as equals with equal voting power.

The democratic leadership style involves team members in decision-making, encouraging them to contribute their ideas and viewpoints. This approach fosters creativity and active engagement within the team. The goal of a democratic leader is to build consensus through participation, which is especially effective when seeking buy-in, ownership, or new ideas from the team. While maintaining control,

the democratic leader guides the team towards the overall vision without forcing their own decisions upon them.

When employing democratic leadership, it is crucial to give team members substantial authority and trust their decision-making skills. This approach cultivates teamwork and shared objectives, showcasing the leader's faith in the team and respect for their viewpoints. While encouraging input and perspectives from others, the leader ultimately maintains ultimate decision-making power. Democratic leadership has several benefits as it boosts job satisfaction among team members and improves productivity by involving them more in decision-making processes.

The democratic leadership style encourages skills development and empowers employees to take control of their careers and purpose, thus motivating them to work diligently. Kurt Lewin's research has shown that democratic leadership is considered the most effective approach. Democratic leaders provide guidance to team members while also involving them in decision-making. Interestingly, Lewin found that children in the democratic group were less productive but made higher quality contributions compared to those in the authoritarian group.

The democratic leadership style has a drawback in that it can hinder decision making due to the time required for participation. Despite this, the result is typically favorable. Hence, this leadership style may impede situations where speed or efficiency is crucial. Additionally, it can pose challenges if certain team members lack the necessary knowledge or expertise to contribute high-quality input. The leader may not always concur with the group's decision, and there is a possibility of dominant team members assuming control.

The frequent consultation and invitation of participation from all make the leader's style popular. A democratic leader's team is more creative, supportive, and committed

in comparison to an autocratic leader's team. The laissez-faire (also known as delegative) leadership style provides minimal guidance to team members, allowing them to make decisions. The French phrase 'leave it be' clearly exemplifies the functioning of this leadership style.

The leader adopts a hands-off approach and allows team members to work independently. They give the employees complete control over decision making, leaving the details up to them. Laissez-faire leaders grant their team members freedom to set their own deadlines and work without interference. They offer support and resources when required but otherwise remain uninvolved.

When there is a lack of control over work or team members, the laissez-faire leadership style can emerge. This approach relies on the dynamics and types of employees. Independent and highly skilled team members thrive under this type of leadership. The laissez-faire leader respects their team's expertise and provides guidance and assistance when necessary, without enforcing strict orders.

The Laissez-faire leadership approach is well-known for its popularity and effectiveness. It enables team members to work without pressure from management, fostering confidence, trust, and the development of leadership skills. However, challenges may arise for some individuals due to the lack of strict orders. Additionally, while this approach can be beneficial for highly skilled group members, it often leads to unclear roles and decreased motivation.

According to Lewin's research on leadership styles, the laissez-faire group of children was discovered to be less productive compared to the other two groups. Additionally, these children showed a greater need for their leader, hindered cooperation, and lacked independence. This indicates that this particular leadership approach is more suitable in specific situations and

should only be utilized when team members possess advanced skills for optimal efficiency. It is clear that each of the three conventional leadership styles has its own advantages and disadvantages and can achieve greater success based on workplace circumstances.

In order to be successful as a leader, it is crucial to possess a thorough comprehension of the three different leadership styles and how they should be applied appropriately. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each style, leaders can determine which techniques are suitable for various situations. An adept leader has the ability to assess circumstances and utilize the most fitting style accordingly.

Leadership is situational, and there is no single definitive style that individuals will consistently employ. To choose three distinct leadership styles suitable for various situations, it is crucial to acquire a comprehensive comprehension of all leadership styles. Adjusting your leadership approach to suit a specific circumstance becomes essential as leadership cannot be universally applied. The better acquainted you are with diverse leadership styles, the more resources you possess to lead proficiently. The selection of a leadership style relies on both the followers and the current situation.

Business and management leaders often utilize a combination of three leadership styles. These styles can be applied interchangeably in various situations within the company. For instance, when assigning a project that includes sales-related bonuses or incentives for external customers, it is appropriate and effective to employ the autocratic leadership style. In such cases, team members require clear objectives and depend on their leader for specific guidance regarding expectations, deadlines, and approaches.

By leading autocratically, decisions can be made quickly, ensuring the team

is clear on their tasks and objectives. The goal is to meet sales targets and receive a bonus, which requires meeting deadlines and being measured by productivity. Time management is crucial in authoritarian leadership to avoid wasting time and instead focus on productivity towards hitting sales targets.

The leader in this scenario would provide a clear definition of the tasks that must be completed, specify potential rewards, and establish objectives without input from subordinates. Deadlines would be outlined for completing the work, and the leader would closely monitor the team throughout the process. This increased oversight would likely result in higher productivity and successful achievement of targets within set deadlines and to a satisfactory level of quality. The team's awareness of the leader's observation would motivate them to work harder in order to earn a bonus.

The autocratic leader has the responsibility for the overall success of the team, thus having control and authority over all aspects. Additionally, because the leader has complete control and significant involvement in all areas, instead of team members being responsible or having input, it is more probable that any issues would be identified promptly and deadlines would be easier to meet with guidance. With the bonus tied to sales, the leader is motivated to drive the team to work diligently and maximize productivity within a set deadline.

With a bonus incentive target to meet, the leader should closely guide the team to ensure that all instructions and commands are clear and that the team stays on track. This is achievable with an autocratic leadership style. Although there are disadvantages to this style as mentioned earlier (such

as team members being unhappy with being 'bossed' around or being unable to develop their own leadership skills due to the leader's full responsibility), it would be most suitable to use the autocratic style in this specific situation.

The democratic leadership style can be beneficial for non-profit organizations seeking cost-saving techniques or fundraising ideas. This leadership approach encourages active participation and contributions from all employees in decision-making processes, fostering creative thinking and promoting the free flow of ideas.

A democratic leader fosters a positive environment that encourages creativity, which is especially beneficial for non-profit organizations seeking fundraising ideas. Moreover, this positive environment reduces employee turnover by demonstrating the organization's commitment to their growth. By valuing and listening to their input, the organization shows its investment in their development and future. This appreciation cultivates a positive work atmosphere and stimulates additional creativity.

In a democratic setting, the leader encourages consultation and feedback from employees, actively involving them in decision-making and challenges. They value and consider team members' ideas, ensuring they are recognized for their contributions. This approach fosters an egalitarian environment where both the leader and employees have equal voting power in decisions.

The leadership style in a non-profit organization involves the leader having final decision-making authority while all members have equal input. This style promotes consensus through participation and is effective in generating fresh ideas. The leader provides help, support, and guidance but emphasizes encouraging input from the team. Although obtaining input from all members may cause decision-making delays, it is the most advantageous leadership style for a non-profit organization as it prioritizes quality of ideas over speed or efficiency. This

fosters engagement, commitment, and creativity among team members, which is highly beneficial for seeking new cost-saving initiatives.

An example of an appropriate situation for Laissez-faire leadership style would be when a computer programming company owner allows a programmer to install computer software according to their specifications.

Even though the business owner lacks programming expertise and a complete understanding of its complexities, they are ultimately accountable for the company's systems and functions. Due to time constraints, they cannot closely oversee every task, so they choose to delegate responsibilities to their team. This enables the owner to trust the programmer without constant supervision and focus on other priorities.

The computer programmer's knowledge and expertise in software gives the owner confidence in their abilities. The laissez-faire approach allows the programmer to make autonomous decisions, recognizing their qualification in this area. This boosts confidence for the programmer but can also result in a lack of motivation due to unclear roles.

The owner would adopt a hands-off approach to leading and allow the programmer to work independently. This autonomy is expected to enhance the programmer's productivity, as their high skill level and expertise would lend themselves to working without close supervision or instruction. The owner would also delegate decision-making authority to the programmer, without imposing any pressure to complete tasks.

The programmer is given the freedom to set their own task outlines and deadlines, while receiving assistance and guidance from the owner. The owner recognizes the programmer's skills and trusts them to complete the task on time and with quality. Although there may be a risk of lack of motivation, taking a laissez-faire approach allows

the programmer to work effectively and comfortably without pressure. Effective leaders adapt their leadership style based on circumstances and individuals involved. When leading a group, it is recommended to be adaptable or select a leadership style that aligns with the organization and its employees.

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