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Chapter: Principles of Management : Directing

Leadership Styles

Leadership is defined as influence, the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals. The leadership style we will discuss here are: Autocratic style, Democratic Style, Laissez Faire Style.





Leadership is defined as influence, the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals.


            Leaders act to help a group attain objectives through the maximum application of its capabilities.


            Leaders must instill values – whether it be concern for quality, honesty and calculated risk taking or for employees and customers.


Importance of Leadership


Aid to authority


Motive power to group efforts


Basis for co operation


Integration of Formal and Informal Organization.





The leadership style we will discuss here are:


            Autocratic style


            Democratic Style


            Laissez Faire Style



a) Autocratic style


Manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are they allowed to give any input. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments.


Autocratic leadership is a classical leadership style with the following characteristics:


            Manager seeks to make as many decisions as possible


            Manager seeks to have the most authority and control in decision making


            Manager seeks to retain responsibility rather than utilize complete delegation


            Consultation with other colleagues in minimal and decision making becomes a solitary process


            Managers are less concerned with investing their own leadership development, and prefer to simply work on the task at hand.




Reduced stress due to increased control


A more productive group ‘while the leader is watching’ Improved logistics of operations


Faster decision making





Short-termistic approach to management.


Manager perceived as having poor leadership skills Increased workload for the manager


People dislike being ordered around


Teams become dependent upon their leader

b) Democratic Style


Democratic Leadership is the leadership style that promotes the sharing of responsibility, the exercise of delegation and continual consultation.


The style has the following characteristics:


            Manager seeks consultation on all major issues and decisions.


            Manager effectively delegate tasks to subordinates and give them full control and responsibility for those tasks.


            Manager welcomes feedback on the results of intiatives and the work environment.


            Manager encourages others to become leaders and be involved in leadership development.





Positive work environment

Successful initiatives

Creative thinking


Reduction of friction and office politics Reduced employee turnover




Takes long time to take decisions Danger of pseudo participation


Like the other styles, the democratic style is not always appropriate. It is most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems.


c) Laissez-Faire Style


This French phrase means “leave it be” and is used to describe a leader who leaves his/her colleagues to get on with their work. The style is largely a "hands off" view that tends to minimize the amount of direction and face time required.




            No work for the leader


            Frustration may force others into leadership roles


            Allows the visionary worker the opportunity to do what they want, free from interference


            Empowers the group





It makes employees feel insecure at the unavailability of a manager.


The manager cannot provide regular feedback to let employees know how well they are doing.


Managers are unable to thank employees for their good work.

The manager doesn’t understand his or her responsibilities and is hoping the employees can cover for him or her.

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