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Difference between Authoritative, Democratic and Laissez Faire Style of Leadership

Last Updated : 02 Aug, 2023
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Leadership styles play a crucial role in various settings, such as business, education, and politics. They describe how leaders interact with their teams and make decisions. Let’s explore three common leadership styles: Authoritative, Democratic, and Laissez-Faire.

What is Authoritative Style ?

The Authoritative leadership style is characterized by a leader taking charge and making decisions with confidence. They provide clear instructions and guidelines to their team, ensuring a strong direction. This style proves effective in situations that demand quick decision-making and a clear vision. However, it is essential to be aware that excessive authoritarianism may hinder creativity and engagement among team members. Balancing authority with openness to input can foster a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.

What is Democratic Style ?

The Democratic leadership style emphasizes collaboration and participation from team members in the decision-making process. Leaders using this style value the opinions and expertise of their subordinates and actively encourage open communication. By involving the team in decision-making, this style often leads to higher job satisfaction, motivation, and a stronger sense of belonging. Although it may require more time to reach a consensus, the benefits of fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment are significant.

What is Laissez-Faire Style ?

The Laissez-Faire leadership style involves a leader taking a more hands-off approach, granting team members a high level of autonomy. This approach can be beneficial when working with a highly skilled and self-motivated team. By allowing team members to explore their creativity and make decisions independently, the Laissez-Faire style can promote innovation and a sense of ownership. However, it is crucial to ensure that team members receive sufficient guidance and support to avoid inefficiency and disorganisation.

Difference between Authoritative, Democratic and Laissez Faire Style of Leadership

Following are the differences between Authoritative, Democratic and Laissez Faire Style:

Basis Authoritative Style Democratic Style Laissez-Faire Style
Decision-making Leader centralizes decision-making power. Leader consults with subordinates in the decision-making process. Leader delegates the entire authority of decision-making to subordinates.
Delegation of Authority Little or no delegation of authority. Moderate delegation of authority, involving subordinates in the decision-making process. Full delegation of authority, allowing subordinates to take all decisions independently without direction from the leader.
Degree of Supervision Close supervision. Moderate supervision. Little or no supervision.
Employees’ Morale Low employee morale, as subordinates have limited involvement in decision-making. High employee morale due to their participation and sense of ownership in decisions. Employee morale varies, but it may be low due to the lack of guidance and involvement from the leader.
Effectiveness Effective in short-run decisions. Effective in both short and long-run decisions, fostering engagement and creativity within the team. The effectiveness may vary, depending on the competency and autonomy of the team.
Approach to Work The leader makes use of a negative approach (like penalties) to get work done. The leader makes use of a positive approach (like rewards) to get work done. The leader neither uses positive nor negative methods.
Suitability Suitable when there is little or no time for group decision-making or when subordinates are incompetent and inexperienced. Suitable when subordinates are competent and experienced and can participate in decision-making under the guidance of their leader. Suitable when subordinates are highly competent, skilled, and expert, capable of making decisions independently without much direction from the leader.

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