Leadership styles fall within three general categories. Autocratic leaders make all the decisions on behalf of their teams. Democratic leaders follow the collective will of their team members. The team adopts ideas that have the support of most of its members. Laissez-faire leaders on the other hand do not exert control over their teams. They allow all the team members to make their own decisions. The goal of this paper is to compare and contrast these leadership approaches.
The main similarities between the three leadership styles are as follows. First, all three styles are valid approaches to leadership when viewed from a situational leadership perspective (Hansen, 2010). There are situations where only one style can work effectively. For instance, autocratic leadership cannot work in an environment that requires high levels of creativity. For instance, a software development company must allow its engineers to play around with various ideas without undue control to maximize the chances of solving unique problems.
The second similarity between the three styles is that they are all capable of producing results. Depending on the context, each of the styles has unique elements that can enhance or inhibit the achievement of the objectives of a team (Bell & Smith, 2010). A surgeon must have complete control over the operating team in a theatre. However, during the review phase, the surgeon can seek and follow the opinions of other surgeons.
The third similarity between the three styles is that they all affect organizational culture. The members of a team adopt work habits that correspond to the leadership style of their leader. Each leadership style has a direct effect on the culture of the organization.
Some of the differences between the three leadership styles are as follows. First, the application of each of the three leadership styles depends on the desire for accuracy (Bell & Smith, 2010). Teams that work on projects where accuracy is vital to tend to have leaders with an autocratic style. In the example of the surgeon in the theatre, it is clear that operations are very delicate and have a very small margin for error. Such a situation calls for an autocratic leadership style. On the other hand, a software development company needs to develop multiple problem-solving options. In this case, the best leadership style in product development is a laissez-faire approach.
Secondly, the leadership style used in a specific situation produces different results. It is interesting to note that the leadership style adopted by a team leader is dependent on both the nature of the task and the personality of the leader (Hansen, 2010). This is why presidents across the world exert varying degrees of control over state officials, based on leadership styles that range from autocracy to laissez-faire. Even among democratic countries, the degree of freedom that state officials have in their work depends on the president’s leadership style.
Our director is my favorite leader currently. His role is to direct the work of all departments towards the attainment of the goals of the organization. He is a remarkable leader because he has a keen sense of fairness. He always tries to match the rewards that accrue from the efforts of each employee. He is also a good listener and he takes time to understand the issues raised by employees. His third strength is that he does not deal with unsubstantiated assumptions about any of the employees. Based on the above discussion, my director is a democratic leader.
Bell, A. H., & Smith, D. M. (2010). Developing Leadership Abilities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hansen, E. G. (2010). Responsible Leadership Systems: An Empirical Analysis of Integrating Corporate Responsibility into Leadership Systems. Berlin: Springer.