The earlier post described about how leaders are different from an ordinary person. What sets apart a leader from a follower is a set of certain skills that leaders develop. Just as people have different personalities, there are different leadership styles also. To become a successful leader, one must know what these styles are and when and how to use these styles effectively. A true leader must be able to recognize the change in style needed to get the particular job done.
The Autocratic Leadership Style
Autocratic leader like to be the decision makers and they choose to make majority of the decisions on their own. They prefer keeping the control and responsibilities of the projects they are assigned in their hands. They rarely allow any interference in their style of work and are less likely to delegate decision making to others. This might seem old fashioned but it can still be beneficial in some situations.
- Since the leader is in complete control of decision making, the decisions are taken quickly because the leader takes the decision himself.
- It reduces stress for the leader because he/she knows that they are in full control of the situation and not dependent on anyone else.
- The employees tend to be more productive because the decisions are made quickly.
- This is helpful for unmotivated employees.
- Since the decision making is rather quick, this leadership style suits the situation when the project needs to be implemented quickly.
- This style can have detrimental effects in long run.
- Since the decision making is done only by the leader, the team members cannot develop decision making skills or other leadership skills, all they know is how to follow.
- This can make the team morale low and reduce the enthusiasm of the team members to work.
- The team becomes entirely dependent on leader, so if he is unable, the team members will not feel confident to make their own decisions.
When to Use It
This style works best when there is:-
- Short term, complex, technical or urgent project.
- Low-skilled positions with monotonous tasks that can lead to low motivation
- Where there is high turnover in the employees so keeping organizational knowledge in a leader is important.
The Democratic Leadership Style
The leader shares his responsibility with his team for taking decisions, making changes and making deadlines. The leader seeks feedback and looks for opportunities for development for both himself and his team. This is a popular style because when it is done well, it creates a harmonious, productive, evolving work force.
- The team members are more dedicated because it creates a feeling of “ownership for ideas” they have input.
- The team members are willing to work harder because they know that they will share in the credit.
- This style results in employees dedicated to their work and are result oriented.
- The continuous feedback improves decision making and eventually gives better results.
- The work environment becomes more collaborative and positive.
- Since everyone participates in decision making, the decisions cannot be made quickly
- The leaders might lose balance between allowing others to take lead and control of overall process.
- This style is not suitable, when there is the need of quick decision making.
When to Use It
This style can be a great way to create an effective and efficient team which takes the responsibility and accountability for its work. The employees are more willing to contribute their own creativity and knowledge to the process.
So use this style when the team development is the priority which means that there is no immediate pressure of deployment of any project and you can focus on training and development of the team.
The Bureaucratic Leadership Style
“Leadership by Rules”, this is the style that focuses more on following the set parameters or rules for the task with consistency. There are certain situations when the employees need to follow a specified procedure to ensure consistent quality and to protect their health and safety at the workplace.
The work environment is more formal with clear distinction between leaders and the employees.
- This style ensures the delivering of consistent output with a consistent quality.
- Setting a specific procedure is useful when the work done is repetitive but to be done in exactly same way each time.
- Works well when the tasks are highly segregated and dependent on each other.
- This style helps organization in cost cutting and improving productivity.
- Working on same pattern everyday without any choice creates boredom at workplace.
- Employees are expected to perform their duties repetitively and without any personal creativity which can harm an organization in the long run.
- A monotonous work and no training will end up the organization without a skilled workforce.
When to Use It
If the desire is to produce the image of regulation and control, the bureaucratic leadership style is a good choice. It is also a natural choice for organizations where there need to be rigid controls over health and safety measures.
The Charismatic Leadership Style
This style is based on a leader’s ability to inspire and influence the actions of others. The leader creates a vision which they communicate to the team to generate the team’s excitement about the idea, possibly a risky one. Since, some members of the team will be difficult to be inspired compared to others, a charismatic leaders needs a great deal of energy and patience to be able to ‘sell’ his idea.
- A charismatic leader might bring out the best in his team. When he is successful in his efforts, the team is powerful, committed, loyal and willing to deliver even beyond what is expected of them.
- He focuses on the development of each member of his team and brings out the best in them.
- Each member of the team tends to become a leader on their own by helping their team mates and helping them to remain committed to the vision as well.
- This requires a great deal of time for the leader to fostering relationships with his team and can be stressful.
- There is a little or no room for human errors because everything relies on the personal relationship of the leader with each member of his team.
When to Use It
In situations when there is the need of getting the work done quickly, working hard and get a new company, division or a product off the ground, this style works well. In situations when the employees of the company have gone disheartened, a charismatic leader can rejuvenate the employee morale and blow new life into the organization.