In the past several decades, the definition of the word Leadership and its attributes have undergone revolutionary change. It has transferred from a very classical autocratic approach to a very creative, participative approach. In different situations different leadership styles are followed by leaders. There are basically four leadership styles. They are as follows.
Autocratic Leadership Style:
The Autocratic approach is often considered as classical approach. In this type of Leadership, the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. In this type of leadership, manager behaves as autocrat. He never ask for employees opinions nor would accept any input if given voluntarly by them. Employees are expected to act as per the manager I.e obey orders without hesitations. The motivation factor is created by announcing rewards and punishments as per employees work. This leadership style has faced lot of criticism over the past 30 years. Some studies has revealed that most autocratic leaders have higher turnover and absenteeism than other organisations. Present generation employees are highly resistant to this type of management. These studies also reveal that Autocrat leaders rely on threats and punishments to influence employees. These leaders don’t trust their employees. They don’t allow the employees to express their inputs. But basing on above information we cant judge that Autocratic leadership is all bad. It is also yield effective results in some situations. Those situations can be as follows:
1.New, untrained employees who don’t know which task to perform or procedure to follow.
2. Where effective supervision is achieved by providing detailed orders and instructions.
3. If employees don’t respond to other leadership styles.
4. Where there is need to generate high volume production on daily basis.
5. Where there is not much of time for decision making.
6. If subordinates challenges the management decision.
7. If the area lacks proper management and where one department work to be coordinated with other department or organization.
There are some situations in which Autocratic leadership will not succeed. Those situations are if employees are sensitive, fearful or resentful. If the employees expect that their opinions should be valued. If employees depend on managers to make all their decisions. If employee morale is low, high turnover and absenteeism and work stoppage.
Bureaucratic Leadership style:
In this type of leadership manager manages everything by the book. Everything should be carried out according to the specific plan or policy. If it is not there in the book, then he seeks the help of higher level people above him or her. Here the manager role similar to that of a police officer than a leader. The manager just enforces the rules. This type of leadership is effective in following situations.
1. When employees are repeating the routine tasks.
2. When employees lack the knowledge about certain standards and procedures.
3. When employees are handling dangerous or delicate equipment that requires definite set of procedures to operate.
4. When employees are to be trained in the areas of safety or security.
5. When employees are performing cash related operations.
The bureaucratic leadership style in ineffective when:
1. There is a need for change in work habits.
2. Employees are not interested in job and not mingling with fellow workers.
3. Employees lack innovation.
Democratic Leadership Style:
Democratic leadership style is also known as Participative style as it gives a chance for the employees to participate in decision making. The democratic manager informs the employees all the factors that effect their work and also shares his or her decision making and problem solving responsibilities with the employees. Democratic leadership can produce high quality and quantity work for long periods of time. Most employees want their work to be appreciated and their opinions to be valued, only then high morale and team spirit exists. Typically the democratic leader does following things.
1. Develops plans to help employees to assess their work.
2. Allow employees to establish goals.
3. Recognizes and encourage achievements.
Democratic leadership not always successful. It is most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems.
Democratic leadership style is most effective in following situations:
1. The leader keeps everyone informed about the matter that effects their performance.
2. The leader gives opportunity to their employees to participate in decision making and problem solving.
3. When manager requires lots of inputs to solve the complex or huge problem.
4. When organization wants to build teams and encourage active participation.
5. In solving the problems faced by individual or group.
Democratic leadership shouldn’t be used when:
1. There is lack of time to consider others opinions.
2. It is cost-effective and much easier for the manager to make the decision.
3. The business cant afford mistakes.
4. Employees safety is main concern.
Laissez-Faire Leadership Style:
The laissez-faire leadership is also known as “Hands-off” style. In this type of leadership, manager gives as much freedom as possible to the employees. Employees must determine their goals, make decisions and resolve problems on their own as they are fully authorized. This type of leadership is effective when:
1. Employees are highly skilled, experienced and educated.
2. Employees have that instinct in them to succeed.
3. Outside experts, such as staff specialists or consultants are being used.
4. Employees can be fully trusted.
It shouldn’t be used in following situations.
1. If employees feel highly insecure at unavailability of manager.
2. When Manager fails to inform the employees about their waekness.
3. When managers cant appreciate the good work done by employees.
4. When manager is unskilled and depends on others to get him through.
The Effective leadership can resolve the problems that arise while implementing the problem. Mostly the consultant has to follow the democratic style of leadership too yield goo results. Thus he gives a chance to staff to express their ideas and participate in decision making and problem solving though retaining the final judgement making authority with him. Thus the project can implemented in a more effective manner. This creates a good environment among staff as they will be high in morale and innovation. At the same time the staff performance are evaluated periodically and suggestions are provided for attaion their full potential. So the project quality and performance will be of high standards. The manager rely’s on staff opinion only if time permits and is cost effective.