The term “leadership style” refers to a leader’s behavior. Behavioral pattern, which the leader reflects in his role as a leader, is often described as the style of leadership. Leadership style is the result of a leader’s philosophy, personality, experience, and value system. It also depends upon the type of followers and the organizational atmosphere prevailing in the enterprise.
There are four types of leadership style. It includes autocratic leadership, participative leadership, free rein leadership and paternalistic leadership. The autocratic leader gives orders that 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. He gives personal praise or criticism to each member on his own initiative and remains aloof from the group for the major part of the time.
A participative leader is one who 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. Participative manager decentralizes managerial authority. His decisions are not unilateral like that of the autocrat. Unlike an autocratic leader who controls through the authority he possesses, a participative leader exercises control mostly by using forces within the group.
A free rein leader lets the group lead itself. The free rein leader avoids power. He depends largely upon the group to establish its own goals and work out its own problems. Group members work themselves and provide their own motivation. 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 his group as that of a 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.
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