Working with people and teams, leadership styles.

Essay by CurlsUniversity, Master's October 2003

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Leadership is a social process in which one individual influences the behavior of others without the use of threat of violence.

Style theory concentrates on the behavior patterns of the leader rather than the personality of the leader.

The autocratic style of leadership believes that the leader must retain decision-making authority. Although there are many reasons for this belief, the leader may assume that subordinates employees are incompetent, disinterested or lazy. The superior-subordinate relationship is the same, the leader gives orders and subordinates are expected to follow them. Assuming that the leader is competent, the advantage of this type of leadership is that tasks are efficiently completed. Autocratic leadership can be appropriate in times of crisis or emergencies, or when a person is training others who do not know enough about the task to make decisions.

The primary problem with the autocratic leadership style is that workers are made aware of what to do, but not why.

This often leads to low employee morale and workers following leader directions to the letter while knowing the directions are wrong. Later, when blame is attached for errors, subordinate workers will take no responsibility since they were merely "following orders". Thus, the autocratic style, while satisfying the leader's needs, may induce employees to avoid responsibility, initiative and innovative productivity. An authoritarian approach is not the best way to get the best performance from a team or develop leadership in followers.

The democratic style or participative style delegates authority to subordinate employees, allowing them discretion to make certain decisions based on their interest and competence in dealing with the situation they face.

The democratic style of leadership has many advantages. First, the employees' feelings of self-worth and satisfaction are increased because the leader conveys a sense...