Choosing Leadership Style

In my mind, there are basically 2 important types of Leaderships viz Authoritative and Participative

Authoritative/Autocratic Leadership:
Many of us would have experienced managers using their authority in telling their employees what to do. This leadership style would not inspire employees to be innovative and creative in their work place. Employees would have to comply as been told. They do what they are being told and no more. They are not expected to deviate from the instructions or guidelines given. They soon learnt to put in their time but not their energy. They produce but they do not put in their best effort to perform. Their work output are mediocre only to meet the minimal standards so as not to be penalised. They lack interest and have no concern for quality, change or creation of opportunity. Like programmed robots, mindlessly and mechanically they are busy. Nothing much can be expected other than the expected results. Thus, this leadership do not inspire nor motivate employees to perform extraordinaire'. This leadership style is normally only appropriate for production lines and routine work processes. Or when a new employee joins the organisation or when there is an evacuation emergency to be followed!

Participative leadership:
It provides greater opportunity for upward and lateral communications. It is not unilaterally downward as in authoritative leadership. Participative leadership encourages open flow communications. It is more personal than positional power. Personal power is that which a leader possesses because of his own knowledge, skills, interpersonal and communication skills. In contrast, position power is that which is being conferred on that person by virtue of his position by the higher authority.

Thus under participative leadership, people will want to perform because they "want to". They are driven by their inner energy and they enjoy their work. They put in effort and time. They innovate. They initiate, embrace changes and create opportunities. They are proud of their contributions and output. They perform more than expected. The advantages of having this leadership are that it allows opportunity to build second tier management and provides an environment for dynamic growth for the employees and the organisation.

In conclusion, both these styles have their respective places in leadership management. Leaders and Managers must know and understand when to embrace each of these, or a mix of both, in their respective organisation growth and development.

In a High Performance Organisation, Participative leadership is the way forward.

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