An overview of leadership style
It is impossible to pinpoint precisely the time when interest in leadership styles emerged. However a set of experiments conducted by 3 social scientist in 1938 is a good time to begin. Kurt Lewin, Ronald Leppit, and Robert White used groups of children to study different approaches to exercising control. Their classic study identified three types of control: autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire. These three types of control came to be known as leadership styles.
Lewin, Leppit, and White were cautious in the conclusions the drew from this study. They noted that autocratic leadership does get results and is preferred over democratic leadership. However ...view middle of the document...
These classifications generally fall somewhere on continuum of leadership styles is shown in the figure below. This continuum of leadership styles differentiates 7 styles of varying degrees of leader authority and group freedom. The major idea to get from figure, or any other classification of leadership styles, is that each style can lead to different behavioral consequences. There are no implications in this figure that styles at the left and of the continuum are “better” than styles at the right end. The best styles depend on the criteria used to judge “best”. If group productivity is the criterion, any of the styles could be effective. If optimizing group freedom is the criterion, styles at the right end are better than styles at the left. If quickness in decision making is the criterion, styles that maximize leader authority usually are best. Thus, the value of leadership style must be evaluated in terms and desired outcomes.
Another important point can be seen in the figure. A leader’s behavior at anyone time falls somewhere on the continuum or within some range on it. This range may represent behavior that comes” naturally” to the leader. Even thought leaders may know that another type of behavior would be more appropriate, it does not follow that they simply can change their style behavior. Leaders acquire particular styles as a result of experience and training. They learn that their styles work for them for some occasions and do not work on others. Nevertheless, their styles are familiar to them, and they cannot be changed easily. In theory, the most appropriate leadership style is the most responsive to the forces (in the leader, the followers, and the situation) determining behavior in concrete circumstances. In practice, few leaders are so flexible that they can adapt their behavior to all circumstance. New behavioral styles can be learned, but only with great offer and patience. In the meantime, leaders have to work with styles they know and with which they are comfortable.
The participation style The essence of a participatory leadership style s that leaders (managers) allow their followers (subordinates) to share in making decisions that affect their behavior. The more followers share in decision making, the more participative the style. Not all employees, however, respond favorably to a participative leadership style.
Is the participative leader effective? Will a participatory style get good result or are certain low participation characteristics necessary for effectiveness? Greiner asked another group of 161 managers to rate the 39 questionnaire items for effectiveness rather than participation as the 157 managers had done. The ten highest rated effectiveness characteristics. The three additional effectiveness characteristics Greiner found are: lets the members of the organization know what is expected of them, sets high standards of performance, and knows subordinates and their capabilities.
What would be a rational way...