4 Leadership Styles Based on Authority

Four Leadership Styles Based on AuthorityLeadership styles refer to a leader’s behavior toward group members. The 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 4 types:

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

Let’s know how these leadership styles work and know about their’s advantages and disadvantages;

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic Leadership Style

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 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 out to be more autocratic than benevolent.

Advantages of autocratic leadership

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

Disadvantages of autocratic leadership

  • Autocratic leadership does hurt group morale.
  • Members may resent how decisions are made and thus support them in only a minimal fashion.

Related: Leadership: Definition, Nature, Styles of Leadership

Democratic Leadership

Democratic Leadership style

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

A democratic leader usually gives instructions only after consulting with 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 the morale of the employees.
  • It increases the acceptance of management’s ideas.
  • It increases cooperation between management and employees.
  • It leads to a reduction in the number of complaints and grievances.

Disadvantages 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

Free-Rein Leadership style

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 the 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 a chance to express themselves and to function relatively independently.

Disadvantages of free rein leadership

  • It may result in a lack of group cohesion and unity toward organizational 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 a family with the leader as the head of the 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.

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