Blog #3 Leadership and Management Styles

 

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How to decide on most effective leadership styles? Concept of management styles is quite complex. In the twentieth century a “command and control” style was seen as the norm. Also there was a perception that there was only one best way to manage, which would achieve the best outcome in every situation (CMI, 2017).

Nowadays, there is a growing belief that managers need to find a style, which is authentic for them.

At present, there is certainly a stronger emphasis on management style as the way in which managers relate to people (Coaching and collaborative styles) (CMI, 2017).

In general, there have been recognised two sharply contrasting styles that can be broken down into smaller subgroups Autocratic and Permissive.

Autocratic leader makes all decisions unilaterally, without any consultation. Donald Trump is an example of autocratic leader; though, he leads his country as a giant corporation, which resulted in increased change resistance and protests.

Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher are also examples of autocratic leaders, working efficiently and able to make swift changes during times difficult changes in the UK’s political life.

Permissive leader permits subordinates to take part in decision making and also gives them a considerable degree of autonomy in completing routine work activities. Subgroups include participative and consultative leaders. A consultative and participative management styles sometimes have been viewed as a combination of democratic and autocratic. These managers ask opinions from their staff, allowing them to feel involved and valued but ultimately make their own final decisions.

Laissez Faire Style  is another proposed subgroup in permissive mode (Forbes, 2016). A laissez faire manager sets the tasks and gives staff complete freedom to complete the task as they see fit, with minimal involvement from the manager. The manager is there to coach, answer questions, supply information (Goodnight, 2004)

John F. Kennedy displayed characteristics of laissez-faire styles when spearheading of the Apollo space program. In other case he showed autocratic leadership- his quick decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Another example of permissive model is James Parker. In the wake of September 11, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines, he distinguished his company by recommitting to all of his staff members and avoiding layoffs, thus showing that their need were equally important to his own.

I summarised pros and cons of two main leadership models in the Table 1. I strongly believe, though, there is No one approach that works for all situations, all people and tasks. In my opinion, different people will respond uniquely   to different management styles, and different situations will require different management styles.

Steve Jobs (Apple) learned how to adapt different styles in different situations. He started out as a charismatic/laissez-faire leader, became a democratic leader, later became an autocratic leader, When he returned to Apple  more than 10 years later, Jobs combined several leadership styles and added participative to his repertoire, so that Apple survived.

Table 1. Democratic and Autocratic leadership pros and cons

Democratic leadership pros and cons

Pros

Cons

·       Increased job satisfaction and a sense of empowerment.

·       Consume valuable time

·       Creativity and innovation increase

·       Dependence on the expertise and experience of subordinates

·       Relationships are built on mutual trust

·       Dependence on agreement  of subordinates

·       Stronger commitment to performance

·       Can be costly

·       Absenteeism is lower

·       Challenge of overseeing experts

·       Solutions-centric workforce

·       Issues of multiple collaborative teams

·       Productivity increase

·       Problems of seeking consensus, to dead lines

                                             Autocratic leadership pros and cons

Pros

Cons

·       Effective at time of change and work to deadlines

·       Creativity is low

·       Budget-saving

·       Treat people as a commodity,  trust is low

·       Time-saving

·       Job satisfaction is low;

·       Strict industry standards

·       Absenteeism is high and low motivation

·       Good when team members have low expertise

·       Innovation is low

·       Work well at crisis and limited recourses

·       Staff turnover is high

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There is also an ongoing debate about the concepts of management and leadership, with some seeing leadership as an aspect of management, while others as different and distinct concepts. Some argue that leadership is not just the prerogative of senior managers but can be exercised by everyone in their area of responsibility.

Main differences of the concepts of leadership and management are below.

Table 2. Leadership and management comparison

 

Factor for analysis Leadership Management
Meaning Art(leading others by examples) Skill ( day-to-day coordinating  in an efficient way)
Main foundation Trust Control
Emphasis Encouragement, Inspiration Organizing activities
Power Influence Rule
Focus Change Stability
Strategy Proactive Reactive
Formulation Concept Procedures
Perspective Long-term vision (good foresightedness) Short perspective.

In my point of view, even though management and leadership are conceptually distinct in theory, in day to day practice it is difficult to separate these concepts.

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Selecting the correct leadership and management style will often lead to greater motivation and productivity from staff.  However, which model type should manager adopt to ensure success? Answer is not easy.

The most successful leaders are flexible and use a wide range of styles appropriately (Businessnewsdaily, 2015).What does “appropriately” mean?  In the table below (Table 3) I present analysis of two leadership models in relation to leadership traits, examples of various business situations and companies that adopted those styles.

Table 3. Leadership traits and appropriate situations

 Democratic style Authoritative  style
Intuitive leader Charismatic
Good observer Inspirational speaker
Pragmatic and rational Good motivators
Realistic Good foresightedness
Focused on accomplishing goal Proactive
Good collaborators, facilitators; multi-tasking Strong vision and confidence; Influential
Fair-minded and Adaptive Courageous and unbending willing
Appropriate when sufficient time, budget and expertise are available, focus on innovation and creativity, no reliance on sole decision making, competent and talented team, multiple inputs required in decision making, motivating top performers etc Appropriate at time of change, crisis, risks, working to deadlines, insufficient know how and expertise, misused authority or violated rules, limited budget, strict performance standards etc
Examples : Google, Gentech, Amason, IBM, High-tech and start-ups, Pharma

Leaders surround themselves with knowledgeable experienced key players

Examples:  Trump Organization, Sunbeam Corporation,  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

 

Leaders single-handedly effected changes

 

Many factors are involved in decision making, and multifactor analysis can be required (Philip, 2010). For example, characteristics above will influence the type of style adopted. Easily frightened, timid manager will find it uneasy to adopt an autocratic style.

I believe whatever style, a manager will adopt, and he should

  • Remain authentic and true to himself;
  • Understand the accepted style and culture in the organisation;
  • Be aware of strengths and weaknesses of the team; and personal roles in organization;
  • Avoid ignoring opinions of peers, superiors or subordinates.

 

 

Good leader is about knowing the team and the situation (Martindale, 2011). Currently, there are many tools, such as industrial psychology and personality tests (e.g. Mayers-Briggs Type Indicator) that are available to managers and help to decide what model to choose, how to interact with and motivate subordinates. It is important to judge the capabilities of the team (in team roles- facilitator, communicator, analyst etc). If management style is inconsistent with the dominant organisational norm, then it will be likely to lead to failure in optimisation of team performance.

 

In conclusion, the best approaches vary depending on circumstances and individual’s qualities. There is no single ideal, and every authentic style of leadership is decided with understanding and knowledge of organisational culture and nature of tasks.

 

 

References:

 

Businessnewsdaily, 2015. What Kind of Leader Are You? Traits, Skills and Styles. [Online]
Available at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2704-leadership.html
[Accessed 03 2017].

CMI, 2017. CMI. [Online]
Available at: http://www.managers.org.uk/
[Accessed 03 2017].

CMI, 2017. MENTORING AND COACHING. [Online]
Available at: http://www.managers.org.uk/events-and-courses/2017/june/mentoring-and-coaching?sc_trk=follow%20hit,{86CB756B-AB02-44E6-995A-305C69252B29},Coaching+and+collaborative+styles
[Accessed 04 2017].

Forbes, 2016. /how-to-decide-on-management-styles-for-your-company. [Online]
Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckcohn/2016/04/06/how-to-decide-on-management-styles-for-your-company/
[Accessed 03 2017].

Goodnight, R., 2004. Encyclopedia of Leadership. s.l.:s.n.

Martindale, 2011. Leadership Styles: How to handle the different personas. Strategic Communication Management, 8(15), p. 32–35..

Philip, W., 2010. Democratic leadership: drawing distinctions with distributed leadership. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 1(7), p. 3–36.

 

 

 

 

How to decide on most effective leadership styles?

Which style of leadership/management do you think suits your country the most?

Please leave a comment below.

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15 comments

  1. Amber Lin · April 3, 2017

    Hi Vladimir, I was so surprised by your blog, I think there is no most effective style of leadership, different organisation can adopt different styles of leadership. I think in my country, directive style would be the most appropriate one. In China, employees do not have good self-management skill, for example, if leader does not give an order to employees, they would not know what to do and end up with doing nothing, they could just sit there and play their smart phone for whole day. In China, employees are used to get order from leader and do it, it is what we have done from our school and we do it in workplace as well.

    Like

    • Vladimir · April 4, 2017

      Thank you for sharing your vision Amber!
      I agree that leadership style must reflect the social situation in the country and mentality of the people.
      In Russia most people would also waste their working time unless ordered to work under strict penalty.

      Like

  2. Andrew Ariananda · April 3, 2017

    I like when you writing something about psychology you never put one side is better than the other side which is you understand that there are lots of variable to influence someone psychology. Like this leadership yes most people say democratic is good leadership style but in country with really hierarchical structure can you use it? I don’t think so. One question from your opinion what do you think about transformational leadership? Is it true leadership like that or just marketing words? Because many people follow leadership training just because this words and they don’t become what its expected.

    Like

  3. Yujun Liu · April 4, 2017

    Thank you for your post!
    Is there any particular style of leadership or management that would suit your country the most?

    Like

    • Vladimir · April 4, 2017

      Hi Yujun.

      Thank you for asking my opinion on my own question x)

      I think in my country, directive and autocratic style would be the most appropriate one.
      As most people need to be forced to work otherwise they would waste time doing nothing productive.

      Like

  4. JFK · April 4, 2017

    Hello Vladimir! Your blog is interesting to read! I want to ask you a personal question, about your ability to work with an autocratic leader, would you be able to handle ? and how?

    Like

  5. Vladimir · April 4, 2017

    Hi Farouk!

    Thank you for your question.

    I already worked under autocratic leader. He used to be an ex army worker and so he tried to set military discipline in the office. It was too suffocating for everyone and for me especially and so after 1 year i left and never looked back. My next job had more democratic leader which suited me more.

    Like

  6. culcrezandyd · April 4, 2017

    According to my opinion, at this time the most style of leadership that will suit the most is the situational leadership style (short-term), as long as you can accomplish tasks and achieve objective than you will be awarded.

    Like

  7. culcleixiao · April 4, 2017

    this is a very good paper to teach us how to be a ideal leadership plz write more detail about it.

    Like

  8. khamkhoaculc · April 4, 2017

    This is the best blog on this subject I have seen so far! Always a pleasure to read your posts. However, I would like to ask your opinion on the following matter. Do you think it is important for managers to discuss the reasons for change and if you fail to get the majority of the workforce on board with changes should they still apply it?

    Like

  9. oscarzly · April 4, 2017

    interesting man,you will be a good leader in the future.

    Like

  10. khamkhoaculc · April 4, 2017

    Dear Vladimir, since we come from the same part of the world, our countries differ from each other. Therefore, I would like to hear your opinion on which leadership style would fit best in yours?

    Like

  11. oscarzly · April 4, 2017

    interesting man,you will be a great leader in future

    Like

  12. culcmshawm10 · April 4, 2017

    Vladimir ,thank you for your blog!

    What do you think, is there any particular style of leadership that you mentioned would suit your country the most?

    Like

  13. culcchattera · April 4, 2017

    HI,
    What is in your opinion the most effective style of leadership?

    Like

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