leadership styles? what is mean by leadership

Different leaders approach the problem of altering the behaviour of followers in different ways. The pattern of behaviour displayed by a leader in influencing the behaviour of his followers is called the style of leadership. Followers are subordinates in an organizational context. The particular pattern of behaviour of a leader emerges out when he begins to respond very similarly in similar conditions He then develops some actions habitually and those who are closely working with him can predict these actions. Later you will see that leadership itself is a personality trait. The various pattern of behaviour displayed by leaders are called different styles of leadership.

Each leader follows a philosophy, which in itself is the leadership style. A style of leadership is a relatively enduring set of behaviour, which is a characteristic of the individual, regardless of the situation. You have leadership styles based on behavioural approach, some based on the situational approach.


1 Autocratic or Dictatorial Leadership

These leaders keep the decision-making authority and control in their hands and take full responsibility for all actions. They will never make anybody a scapegoat for any of their faults. They structure the situations in their own way and expect the workers to follow their orders.
They will not allow any deviation from their orders. The subordinates are instructed to carry out their orders without any question. Also, the subordinates entirely depend on their leader and normally they suffer in the absence of their leaders.

Some autocratic leaders are tough and highly dictatorial and are a source of fear or intimidation. Some leaders are paternalistic depending on the approach of the leader.

The motivational approach of the leader can be threat and punishment or appreciation and rewards. When highly dictatorial, the subordinates develop a kind of fear, sense of insecurity, frustration, low morale, and will avoid responsibility. The drive and initiative in them is killed and they do not display their innovative behaviour.
The autocratic leader believes that his leadership is unquestionable as it is conferred upon him because of the position he enjoys.
He also believes that his knowledge is superior, power to punish or reward is his privilege They even impose penalties on subordinates or use abusive language in front of others and criticize. But autocratic leaders who positively motivate are a class you enjoy working with. But the biggest nuisance is from those autocratic leaders who hide their incompetence for fear of being exposed.

This style permits quick decisions, as there is only a single person to make decisions. There are also many members who prefer working under strict discipline and under a central authority. The style provides motivation and rewards to a manager who gives results.

However, a majority of members do not like strictness and discipline especially because motivation is negative. Single leadership creates frustration and lacks motivation. Morale is lost and unbalanced rewards create conflicts jeopardizing organizational efficiency since communication is also one-way.



2 Participative Leadership

This is also known as democratic leadership. Here the subordinates are consulted and their feedback is taken into the decision-making process. Though the leader makes the final decision, he acts more as a moderator and of course, he takes responsibility for the results.
The management in this type recognizes the fact that there are employees who are capable to give innovative ideas, intelligent, skilful, competent, suggestive etc. Obviously, the group members get an opportunity to display their talents and are encouraged to demonstrate initiative and creativity. The members thus get a chance to participate in decision-making. This incidentally leads to a good management-labour understanding or relations, higher morale and greater job satisfaction.

This style is very useful when you have educated labour, experienced, dedicated and ready to work independently with nil or least directives. By this, you are developing a set-up conducive to growth and development.  A good climate is generated for growth and individual personality development too. “This style is also consultative and ideographic.
When participation is there, it means mental and emotional involvement of a person in a group situation is assured. It ends up in sharing of responsibilities and contribution to group goal achievement. Moreover, a participative manager decentralizes the decision-making process which increases positive motivation. The leader does not take any unilateral decisions and believes in the consultation and participation of members. The superior even rewards the subordinates for the best suggestions during consultation. The benefits of this style of leadership are

  • The productivity is high as participants are the decision-makers.
  • They share the responsibility with the superior thereby ensuring not only his safety but also for themselves. You will not drill a hole in the boat in which you are travelling with your friend.
  • High morale and favourable attitude of employees result in organizational stability
  • It is a motivating technique as the employees feel highly elevated as their ideas and suggestions are given weightage in decision making.

3 free rein

Also known as laissez-faire, literally means giving complete freedom to subordinates. To start with the manager decides the policy, programme and limitations for actions. Then the entire process is left to the subordinates Here the group members perform everything and the manager keeps liaisons with the outside only to get materials for the group to perform.

This style leaves everything to subordinates, who make their own decisions and it helps subordinates to develop an independent personality. But the contribution of the manager is nil and it can create chaos. It may be creative with a free and informal work environment but can lead to inefficiency if members are not capable of decision making or wrong decision-makers. All members are not leaders and hence can create frustration and non-cooperation. With so much freedom, there is a possibility that a member may put his individual interest above the group interest.

Mukesh Pottam


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