Styles of Leadership

Consider what your results of the Leadership Styles Questionnaire on pages 73–75 tell you about your leadership style. What is your main style? Are you most comfortable with authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire leadership? If you are the kind of leader who likes to structure work, likes to lay out the ground rules for others, likes to closely supervise your followers, thinks it is your responsibility to make sure followers do their work, wants to be “in charge” or to know what others are doing, and believes strongly that rewarding and punishing followers is necessary, then you are authoritarian. If you are the kind of leader who seldom gives orders or ultimatums to followers, instead trying to work with followers and help them figure out how they want to approach a task or complete their work, then you are primarily democratic. Helping each follower reach his or her own personal goals is important to a democratic leader.

In some rare circumstances, you may find you are showing laissez-faire leadership. Although not a preferred style, it is important to be aware when one is being laissez-faire. Laissez-faire leaders take a very low profile to leadership. What followers accomplish is up to them. If you believe that your followers will thrive on complete freedom, then the laissez-faire style may be the right style for you. However, in most situations, laissez-faire leadership hinders success and productivity.

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