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Types of Leadership Styles

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  • Last Updated : 30 Aug, 2022
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The process of influencing the behaviour of people towards the achievement of organisational goals is known as Leadership. It indicates the ability of an individual to maintain good interpersonal relations with followers and motivate them to contribute to achieving organisational objectives. An individual who has the attributes of leadership is known as a leader.

The behaviour pattern which is reflected by a leader in his role is known as the Leadership style. It is the result of the philosophy, personality, experience, and value system of a leader. The type of followers and the atmosphere prevailing in the organisation also affect leadership styles.

Types of Leadership Styles

  1. Autocratic Leadership or Authoritative Leadership
  2. Participative Leadership or Democratic Leadership
  3. Free rein Leadership or Laissez-Faire Leadership

All the above-mentioned styles of leadership are used by a leader over a period of time. However, one style tends to predominate as his normal style of using power.

Autocratic Leadership or Authoritative Leadership

The leadership style under which a leader centralises all decision-making powers and exercises full control over his subordinates is known as Autocratic or Authoritative leadership. The leader here gives orders and makes sure that they are obeyed. For example, if Sam assigns work and gives orders to complete the work as per his discretion without consulting his subordinates, then Sam is an Autocratic Leader.

  • Policies and plans are made by the autocratic leader without consulting subordinates. The employees are also not given information about future plans.
  • Orders are given and tasks are assigned, and subordinates are not given the freedom to influence the decision of the leader. This situation is similar to “bossing people around”.
  • In such a leadership style, there is little or no concern for the welfare of the employees. Subordinates are compelled by the leaders to follow orders under the threat of penalties and punishments. 
  • Because of lack of freedom and threats of penalties and punishments, subordinates suffer from frustration and low morale. Subordinates avoid responsibility, lack initiative and become ‘Yes Men’.
  • This leadership style should be used on rare occasions.
  • Such leadership styles are used in the Military. 
  • This style is also known as the ‘Directive style of leadership’.

Participative Leadership or Democratic Leadership

The leadership style under which a leader consults subordinates in the decision-making process and encourages them to give suggestions in setting goals and implementing decisions. In this, the subordinates are allowed to participate in the decision-making process and their suggestions are welcomed by the leader. For example, if Satyam is discussing the work and taking suggestions to complete the work, then he is a Participative or Democratic Leader. 

  • Under the Participative leadership style, orders are given only after consulting the subordinates, and any plan or policies is carried forwards only after the acceptance of the subordinates.
  •  This style wins greater confidence, cooperation, loyalty and initiative of the group. The morale of the employees is also boosted.
  • Here, the subordinates are never asked to do things without working out long-term plans.
  • The subordinates become part of the team and help the leader in making better decisions. Thus, it is a style of mutual benefit. 

Free rein Leadership or Laissez-Faire Leadership

The leadership style under which a leader gives complete freedom to the subordinates is known as Free rein or Laissez-Faire. For example, Sitaraman gives the responsibility of setting goals and devising plans to the subordinates, then here Sitaraman is practising free rein leadership. 

  • The leader depends on the group for setting goals and devising plans to achieve such goals. 
  • It can be said that this style is more of a non-leadership style than a leadership style, as the leader acts as an umpire and delegates the entire authority of decision-making to subordinates.
  • Group members work as per their choice and competence. The leader acts as a contact man with the outsiders and collects information and resources required by the group to achieve the goals.
  • This style is also known as “laissez-faire”, which means no interference from others. “Laissez-faire” is a french phrase, which means “let them do”.
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