Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. As seen by the employees, it includes the total pattern of explicit and implicit actions performed by their leader
Leadership style refers to a leaders’ behavior towards group members.
The behavioral pattern which the leader reflects in his role as a leader is often described as the style of leadership. Leadership style is the result of the leader’s philosophy, personality, value system, and experience.
It also depends on the types of followers and organizational atmosphere prevailing in the enterprise. The different types of leadership may be discussed under the following heads:
- Leadership Styles Based on Authority.
- Likert’s Four Styles of Managerial Leadership.
- Leadership Styles in the Managerial Grid.
- Leadership Continuum.
So it can be described as leading a process by which a person leads others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.
Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.
Leadership is a Process and a Property Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically.
Good leader’s use all three styles, with one of them normally dominant, bad leaders tend to stick with one style, normally autocratic.
Authoritarian or Autocratic Leadership
This style is used when leaders tell their employees what they want done and how they want it accomplished, without getting the advice of their followers. Some of the appropriate conditions to use this style is when you have all the information to solve the problem, you are short on time, and/or your employees are well motivated.
Some people tend to think of this style as a vehicle for yelling, using demeaning language, and leading by threats. This is not the authoritarian style, rather it is an abusive, unprofessional style called “bossing people around.” It has absolutely no place in a leader’s repertoire.
The authoritarian style should normally only be used on rare occasions. If you have the time and want to gain more commitment and motivation from your employees, then you should use the participative style.
Participative or Democratic Leadership
This style involves the leader including one or more employees in the decision making process (determining what to do and how to do it). However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority. Using this style is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength that your employees will respect.
This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts. A leader is not expected to know everything—this is why you employ knowledgeable and skilled people. Using this style is of mutual benefit as it allows them to become part of the team and allows you to make better decisions.
Delegative or Laissez-faire Leadership
In this style, the leader allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyze the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. You cannot do everything! You must set priorities and delegate certain tasks.
This is not a style to use so that you can blame others when things go wrong, rather this is a style to be used when you fully trust and have confidence in the people below you.
Continuum of Leader Behavior
In 1958 Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1973) expanded on Lewin, Lippit, and White’s three leadership styles by extending them to seven styles and placing them on a continuum.
(i) Manager makes decision and announces it – The team has no role in the decision-making role. Coercion may or may not be used or implied.
(ii) Manager “Sells” decision – Rather than just tell, the manager needs to sell the decision, as there is a possibility of some resistance from team members.
(iii) Manager presents ideas and invites questions – This allows the team to get a fuller explanation so they can gain a better understanding of what the manager is trying to accomplish.
(iv) Manager presents a tentative decision that is subject to change – This action invites the team to have some influence regarding the decision; thus, it can be changed based on the team’s input.
(v) Manager presents the problem, gets suggestions, and then makes the decision – Up to this point the manager has always presented the decision, although the last style allows it to change based upon the team’s input. Now the team is free to come up with options, however, the manager still has the final say on those options.
(vi) Manager defines limits, and requests the team to make a decision – The manager delegates the decision making to the team; but instills specific limits on the team’s solution.
(vii) Manager allows team to function within limits – Now the team does the decision making, however, the manager’s superior may have placed certain limits on the options they can make. If the manager sits in on the decision making, he or she attempts to do so with no more authority than the other members do.
Basically, the first two styles or behaviors are similar to the authoritarian style, the next three are similar to the participative style, while the last two are similar to the delegative style. This approach gives the leader more options that can be refined to specific situations or environments.
Leadership can be defined both as Process and Property
Leadership is a Process
Leadership is the ability of a superior to influence the behavior of a subordinate or group and persuade them to follow a particular course of action.
It is the art of inspiring subordinates or followers to perform their duties willingly, competently, and enthusiastically.
As a process, leadership involves the use of no coercive influence to direct & coordinate the activities of the members of an organized group towards the achievement of group objectives.
Leadership is a Property
Leadership is the set of characteristics attributed to individuals who are perceived to be leaders.
Thus leaders are people who can influence the behaviors of others without having to rely on force or people whom others accept as leaders.
As a property, leadership is a set of qualities or characteristics attributed to those who are perceived to successfully employ such influence.
Such qualities include; ability to inspire the other, ability, to understand human behavior, the ability of verbal assertiveness, willingness to take the risk.