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Industrial & Organisational : Introduction : Personnel : Organizational psychology : Occupations: Work environment: Index : Outline


Various types of leadership styles have been proposed

The bureaucratic leader (Weber, 1905)[1] is very structured and follows the procedures as they have been established. This type of leadership has no space to explore new ways to solve problems and is usually slow paced to ensure adherence to the ladders stated by the company. Leaders ensure that all the steps have been followed prior to sending it to the next level of authority. Universities, hospitals, banks and government usually require this type of leader in their organizations to ensure quality, increase security and decrease corruption. Leaders that try to speed up the process will experience frustration and anxiety.

The charismatic leader (Weber, 1905)[1] leads by infusing energy and eagerness into their team members. This type of leader has to be committed to the organization for the long run. If the success of the division or project is attributed to the leader and not the team, charismatic leaders may become a risk for the company by deciding to resign for advanced opportunities. It takes the company time and hard work to gain the employees' confidence back with other type of leadership after they have committed themselves to the magnetism of a charismatic leader.

The autocratic leader (Lewin, Lippitt, & White, 1939)[2] is given the power to make decisions alone, having total authority. This leadership style is good for employees that need close supervision to perform certain tasks.

The democratic leader (Lewin, Lippitt, & White, 1939)[2] This style involves the leader including one or more employees in the decision making process (determining what to do and how to do it). However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority. Using this style is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength that your employees will respect.

This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts. Note that a leader is not expected to know everything -- this is why you employ knowledgeable and skillful employees. Using this style is of mutual benefit -- it allows them to become part of the team and allows you to make better decisions.

The laissez-faire ("let do") leader (Lewin, Lippitt, & White, 1939)[2] In this style, the leader allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyze the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. You cannot do everything! You must set priorities and delegate certain tasks. This is not a style to use so that you can blame others when things go wrong, rather this is a style to be used when you fully trust and confidence in the people below you. Do not be afraid to use it, however, use it wisely!


The people-oriented leader (Fiedler, 1967)[3] is the one who, in order to comply with effectiveness and efficiency, supports, trains and develops his personnel, increasing job satisfaction and genuine interest to do a good job.

The task-oriented leader (Fiedler, 1967)[3] focuses on the job, and concentrates on the specific tasks assigned to each employee to reach goal accomplishment. This leadership style suffers the same motivation issues as autocratic leadership, showing no involvement in the teams needs. It requires close supervision and control to achieve expected results. Another name for this is deal maker (Rowley & Roevens, 1999)[4] and is linked to a first phase in managing Change, enhance, according to the Organize with Chaos approach.

The servant leader (Greenleaf, 1977)[5] facilitates goal accomplishment by giving its team members what they need in order to be productive. This leader is an instrument employees use to reach the goal rather than a commanding voice that moves to change. This leadership style, in a manner similar to democratic leadership, tends to achieve the results in a slower time frame than other styles, although employee engagement is higher.

The transaction leader (Burns, 1978)[6] is given power to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team’s performance. It gives the opportunity to the manager to lead the group and the group agrees to follow his lead to accomplish a predetermined goal in exchange for something else. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct and train subordinates when productivity is not up to the desired level and reward effectiveness when expected outcome is reached.

The transformation leader (Burns, 1978)[6] motivates its team to be effective and efficient. Communication is the base for goal achievement focusing the group on the final desired outcome or goal attainment. This leader is highly visible and uses chain of command to get the job done. Transformational leaders focus on the big picture, needing to be surrounded by people who take care of the details. The leader is always looking for ideas that move the organization to reach the company’s vision.

The environment leader ( Carmazzi, 2005)[7] is the one who nurtures group or organizational environment to affect the emotional and psychological perception of an individual’s place in that group or organization. An understanding and application of group psychology and dynamics is essential for this style to be effective. The leader uses organizational culture to inspire individuals and develop leaders at all levels. This leadership style relies on creating an education matrix where groups interactively learn the fundamental psychology of group dynamics and culture from each other. The leader uses this psychology, and complementary language, to influence direction through the members of the inspired group to do what is required for the benefit of all.


See also

References & Bibliography

  1. 1.0 1.1 Weber, Max (1905). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings, New York: Penguin Group.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lewin, K.; Lippitt, R.; White, R., "Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates", Journal of Social Psychology: 271-301 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fiedler, F. E. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness, McGraw-Hill: Harper and Row Publishers Inc..
  4. Rowley, Robin; Joseph Roevens (1999). Organize with Chaos, Management Books 2000 Ltd. ISBN 9781852525613.
  5. Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, New Jersey: Paulist Press.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership, New York: Harper and Row Publishers Inc..
  7. Carmazzi, Arthur (2005). The Directive Communication Leadership Field Manual, Singapore: Veritas Publishing.

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