Nature of leadership Leadership styles - Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-faire, Situation leadership
Evaluate the effectiveness of various styles of leadership and their implications for organizations.

Summary Video:


Types of Leadership:


Autocratic
Leadership style in which a manager or director (any individual who has the power in a company) makes the decisions without delegating any responsibility the subordinates.
In other words, all management decisions are made by one person without consulting others.
No businesses in particular adopt an autocratic style of leading, but autocracy differs from person to person in the business world. Business which sell goods such as raw materials or simple consumer products (electronics, household items etc) may be more inclined to have autocratic leadership, because creativity is not a necessary ingredient to succeed

Pros
- Decisions are made quickly, as consulting and discussion takes time (during crisis situations, this style of leadership would be most effective [financial crisis,layoffs])
- Effective if the workforce are unskilled/ the work being undertaken uses unskilled laborers, as they need explicit instructions on how to complete tasks

Cons
- Lack of feedback: employees do not understand the rationale for why they do things the way they do, and therefore cannot improve
- Alienates and demotivates other employees: Autonomy is a large factor in motivation. If people are demoralized due to a autocratic manager, they will be less inclined to do their work well because they have no freedom
- Does not allow the business to optimize itself: they choices of the business are constantly being made by one individual, regardless of whether or not the aforementioned individual is given prudent directions. If more perspectives were considered, a business would be more likely to identify its shortcomings and improve

An autocratic style of leadership is effective in the short-term since the decisions are made in quickly however for the long-term it's best to avoid conflicts in the workplace and maintain the lines of communication.

0050320805008.png Example of where autocratic leaders are relative to their employees


Laissez-faire
"Let it be" leadership style where the leader or manager has minimal input and control.
Most of the decisions are left to the individual employees to be made.
While businesses which employ a laissez-faire style do have a CEO or manager of some sort who will directly intervene, they will usually only do so if they are forced (eg. if absenteeism becomes an issue). In technology companies such as Apple.inc, or video game producing companies such as Bungie, leaders cannot impose a large amount of rules and restrictions, as creativity and a gradual business plan forming as time goes on is the best solution for the company.

Pros
- Gives employees high motivation: Because a laissez-faire system gives employees a high degree of autonomy, the employees will feel that employers have a large degree of trust in them, and therefore they will put forward their best effort
- Able to generate highly creative ideas: because there is no consistent managing force, employees can work at their own pace and produce innovative ideas. This is also thanks to the low levels of bureaucracy, which generally comes with laizzes-faire leadership

Cons
- Lack of coordination: Because the structure of the business in a laizzes-faire is highly decentralized and has loose rules and restrictions, slack can become a very serious issue due to the fact that no one is watching over the employees and making sure they work. This may be the case for X theory workers, who are highly unmotivated to do anything, and may need a constant looming force watching over them in order to do their task
- Decision-making is time-consuming: Because Laissez-Faire looks to let things happen as they go an get input from everyone, there is a very slow decision making process within the company. This is a problem when a leader does not take an active role.

Democratic Leadership
A leadership style where the leaders/managers/directors consult or take the opinions of the staff and subordinates before making a final decision. Generally, when it comes to a vote, because everyone has an equal stake, everyone gets the same amount of power as the next person does. Typically seen as the 'correct' method of leading due to the fact that it takes the broadest consensus of the population (employees). However, the popular opinion may not always be the right one for a business. For example, employees vote democratically to extend break time- however, a leader may see the bigger picture and realize extending break time will leak to inefficiency.

Pros
-Employees feel motivated to work as their opinions are valued by the company i.e. they feel more involved
-The decisions made are more well thought through and have input from a variety of angles than in would be in for instance an autocratic leadership
-A majority is satisfied with the outcome/results

Cons
-Only a majority is satisfied with the outcome: This does not take into account potentially 49% of the group which does unrepresented. This could be a very big problem, as the unrepresented group could cause significant protests. Furthermore, some individuals are more radical than others. In a company, if a disgruntled employee is not represented by the companies choice, he may take drastic measures to harm the company, such as exposing it in a press conference or talking to reporters
-Takes a lot of time to make a decision and so quick decisions are very difficult: One of the key benefits of autocratic leadership is that it avoids all the time and hassle debating- these are all the problems that democracy has

An article on the benefits and limitations of democracy:

http://www.angelfire.com/journal/rantoverlord/democracy.html

democracy2.gif

Situational Leadership

Addresses each leadership opportunity differently according to the skills and experience of employees, urgency of the task, and organization structure.

Pros
-Caters to every employee’s skill set and need for motivation via empowerment when possible: Situational Leaderships are beneficial due to the fact that they don't have a fixed method of leading and ordering their employees- instead, they adopt the strategy based on the problem that they are faced with.
-Multiple creative angles can be obtained when relevant, but quick decisions can also be made by managers autocratically when relevant

Cons
-Requires a lot of training and experience for managers to be able to adapt easily according to any situation
-Communication between switches in leadership style may be difficult and result in confusion

Situational leadership can be described by using the acronym "CLOTS"

C- Culture- what type of culture exists in the business?
L- Leader- how much control does the leader have, and how much is he respected?
O- Organization- how is it organized?
T- Task- what assignments does the business have in the moment?
S- Subordinates- What are the skills of the employees? How many are employed?