Four Leadership Styles Based on Authority

Leadership styles refers to a leader’s behavior towards group members. Behavior pattern is that the leader reflects his role as a leader is described as style.

Leadership style is the results of a leader’s philosophy, personality, and experience and value system; Leadership styles based on authority can be four types:

Four Leadership Styles Based on Authority

  1. Autocratic Leadership,
  2. Democratic or Participative Leadership,
  3. Free-Rein or Laisse-Faire Leadership, and
  4. Paternalistic Leadership.

Lets know how these leadership styles works and know about their’s advantages and disadvantages;

Autocratic Leadership

Advantages and Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic Leadership relies on coercion, and its style is paternalism, arbitrariness, command and compliance. The autocratic leader gives orders which must be obeyed by the subordinates.

He determines policies for the group without consulting them and does not give detailed information about future plans, but simply tells the group what immediate steps they must take.

Diagrammatically it may be shown in the following way;

However, some autocratic leaders may happen to be “benevolent autocrats.” Generally they are willing to hear and consider subordinates’ ideas and suggestions but when a decision is to be made, they turn to be more autocratic than benevolent.

Advantages of autocratic leadership

  • It is the speed with which decision can be made; the leader does not have to obtain group members’ approval before deciding.

Disadvantage of autocratic leadership

  • Autocratic leadership does have negative impact upon group -morale.
  • Members may resent the way in which decisions are made and thus support them in only a minimal fashion.

Democratic Leadership

Advantages and Disadvantages of Democratic Leadership

Style of leadership that uses legitimate power can be classified as democratic leadership.

A democratic leader usually gives instructions only after consulting the group. He sees to it that policies are worked out in group discussion and with the acceptance of the group.

That means democratic leadership solicits employees’ participation and respects their opinions. Diagrammatically it can be shown in the following way;

Advantages of democratic leadership

  • It often enhances morale of the employees.
  • It increases acceptance of management’s ideas.
  • It increases cooperation between management and employees.
  • It leads to reduction in the number of complaints and grievances.

Disadvantage of democratic leadership

  • It accounts for slow decisions, diluted accountability for decisions.
  • There may be possible compromises that are designed to please everyone but does not give the best solution.

Free-Rein Leadership

Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Rein Leadership

The leadership style which allows maximum freedom to followers may be called free rein leadership. It gives employees a high degree of independence in their operations.

A free rein leader completely abdicates his leadership position, to give all responsibility of most of the work entrusted to him to the group which he is supposed to lead, limiting his authority to maintain the contact of the group with persons outside the group.

This is also known as permissive style of leadership. Diagrammatically it may be shown in the following way;

Advantages of free rein leadership

  • Opportunity for individual development is offered to group members.
  • All persons are given the chance to express themselves and to function relatively independently.

Disadvantages of free rein leadership

  • It may result in the lack of group cohesion and unity toward organization objectives.
  • Without a leader, the group may have little direction and a lack of control.
  • The result can be inefficiency or even worse, chaos.

Paternalistic Leadership

Under Paternalistic Leadership, the leader assumes that his function is paternal or fatherly. His attitude is that of treating the relationship between the leader and the group as that of family with the leader as the head of family.

He works to help, guide, protect, and keep his followers happily working together as members of a family.

He provides them with good working conditions and employee services. This style has been successful, particularly in Japan because of its cultural background. It is said that employees under such leadership will work harder out of gratitude.

This mode of leadership produces good and quick results if the followers are highly educated and brilliant, and have a sincere desire to go ahead and perform with responsibility.