Difference Between Autocratic and Participative Leadership

This report aims to describe a leadership style that enables and helps contain employee work activity. Boundaries set by leaders help them provide guidance and direction, motivate action and creativity, stimulate individuality and ideas, and protect and nurture a space for employees to perform in. Leadership prescriptions have gone through many phases. While the consultative leadership was considerate, it was soft, and too idealistic. Authoritarian and directive leadership on the other hand were strict, and not very humanitarian, but got the work done.

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Though previous models have their value, a reality check is needed owe. Leaders need to be flexible and should demonstrate a balanced behavior to be practical. They should be able to understand when to get involved and when to let go. This can be done by setting a boundary, ensuring the leader is involved and allowing space for the employees. Leadership “More change always demands more leadership”(Insane 1990). The most important function of leadership is to produce adaptive or useful change which involves aspects like direction setting and alignment.

Direction setting is a process that produces vision and strategies and is completely different from planning which is a managerial function. On the other hand alignment is the process of getting people to understand, accept and line up in the chosen direction. In efforts to produce change in complex organizations, sizeable barriers of some sort are always encountered. Overcoming these barriers often takes a big effort, which only comes from energize people. This is why motivation and inspiration are central aspects of leadership. Cotter 1990) The basic difference between a successful and unsuccessful organization is its leadership. As cited by Insane “the successful organization consistently differs from ineffective organizations in one respect- the former are characterized y dynamic and effective 1990). The term leadership has no single and clearly agreed upon definition. In fact, it means different things to different people. As a result, different researchers have defined leadership differently depending on their individual perspective and research purposes. From Mahatma Gandhi to Jack Welch and Martin Luther King to Rudolf Giuliani there are as many leadership styles as there are leaders. ” (blurrier. Com) Leadership styles are differentiated based on the involvement of leaders with the employees’ related issues and organization related issues. Leadership styles They can be broadly classified into three categories: Democratic Leadership (Participative) Authoritarian Leadership (Directive/autocratic) Laissez-Fairer (Delegating) In this report discussion will be based only on Democratic and Authoritarian leadership styles.

Participative and autocratic leadership styles can be defined as employee centered leadership and production centered leadership respectively. “The employee centered leaders involves the subordinates in making workplace decisions including the setting of goals. On the other hand production centered as defined as those who focused on organizing tasks, specifying how the tasks would be accomplished and in setting precise work standards. (Luther 1 996) Democratic Leadership “Democratic/Participative leadership styles are widely accepted as the most relevant styles which can motivate workers and create organizational structures and cultures which are the closet embodiment of the Human Relations Movement’s ideas”(Western 2008). Based on the literature review we can say that participative leadership is the most effective style of leadership. In participative leadership, the leader basically acts as a facilitator. Everyone in the team is involved in the decision making process and setting up goals and formulating strategies to accomplish those goals collectively.

The advantage of democratic leadership is that, it helps in development of the skills of potential leaders, who can be the leaders in future, because this kind of leadership provides an opportunity to employees to actively participate and show their talent and abilities in the decision making process. Overall this process helps in exploring new talents in the organization which can be developed with time. With this kind of leadership style many different approaches to a particular issue could be obtained and all the possible angles will be covered related to the issue on hand.

This helps in understanding the issue from all the different perceptions and leads to better decision making process. The reason why participative leadership style is more effective as compared to any of the other styles is that because in today’s world there are many employees who are very skilled and intelligent and the leader who practice participative leadership makes use of the abilities of the employees by involving them in the decision making process and making them feel as a valuable asset to the company. This keeps the employees motivation levels high.

You can pat people on the back and recognize their efforts but this is not as effective in motivating people as involving them in important decisions. “(Shabbier 2008) Autocratic Leadership “Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where a leader exerts high levels of power over his or her employees or team members. People within the team are given few opportunities for making suggestions”(Insane 1990). An autocratic leader tries to dominate employees and relies hugely on the force of personality.

Authoritarian leadership style is most effective in the situation of crisis where immediate action is required and n situation where employees are not sure themselves what to do, but by and large directive leadership has more cons than pros, employees usually don’t like autocratic leadership all the time. “Purely autocratic leaders ultimately become bottlenecks because people learn that the best survival skills are to ask the boss first before making a decision”(Del N. D. ). Employees tend to wait for the directions and orders from the boss and they feel frightened about taking a wrong step.

Autocratic leadership style discourages the originality/creativity of the talented employees, who ultimately leaves the company, in this way the organization losses their talented employees to competitors which is not a good thing to happen. “The autocratic style does not provide ethical inspection, review or input by subordinates and ultimately provokes negative subordinate reaction” monsoons & Thomas 2007) Effect of culture on leadership Culture plays an important role in the employees’ reaction towards a particular leadership style.

In today’s global world because of the growth of international business and the increasing diversity of work force it is really important to understand employees attitudes and linkages between various leadership styles ND performance measures. “Certain cultural values may augment or weaken the receptivity employees have towards transformational and transactional leadership styles”(Yuan 2007). The people, who are more group oriented and believe in collective values, will always favor democratic leadership styles and will have a positive relationship with participative leader or transformational leadership.

In contrast with that, employees who have an individualistic approach and concentrate more on their own goals and accomplishments will have the liking for transactional leadership. Wallaby and his colleagues have even terms ‘electronic’ to employees favoring transformational leadership and ‘doctrine’ to those who favor transactional leadership. (Wallaby, Lawyer & J. 2007) Significance of age on leadership style Based on the literature review, the age and the level of education plays an important role in behavior pattern and attitudes of the employees.

Mitchell suggested that “the level of education influences people’s values, wants and needs and makes them think and behave differently’. (Shabbier 2008) According to Shabbier(2008) older managers are more likely to engage in participative, consultative and delegating processes of decision making, s compared to their younger Young leaders are comfortable in fast paced environment and are willing to change and also not afraid to take risks in order to attain their goals. They have a greater capacity to push others to attain results.

Whereas the more experienced and older leaders tend to analyze the problems in depth and use their knowledge and experience to minimize the risk. They delegate the work and promote others by showing more empathy towards co-workers while working to attain goals and desired results. “Organizational demographic factors such as organizational tenure and the age of individuals re considerably influential in shaping the philosophy, attitudes and behavior of leaders organization”. (Shabbier 2008) Gender difference There is a negative evaluation against female managers when their leadership style is not congruent with their gender.

Based on the research conducted by Haycock(1978), it was analyzed that when directive style of leadership is displayed by a female manager, it is least favorable. (Haycock, Haycock & Sally 1978) Employees usually don’t like a female manager directing them and being autocratic in making decisions. In 21st century the gender difference has educed in most of the fields and woman now a day’s play an important role in the functioning of the organization, but despite of this fact, they are still under rated in top management and leadership positions.

According to my experience feel till now male employees have that orthodox thinking that male leaders are better than female leaders. “Identical leadership style may be seen differently depending on the gender of the manager exhibiting that leadership 1996) Female leaders have an advantage over male leaders in participative leadership style. As discussed by Roman(2009) “female leaders seem to possess ore attributes that evoke among their followers feelings of respect and pride in working with them than do their male counterparts”(Roman & Roll 2009).

Also, female leaders are more considerate towards their co-workers goals and are more enthusiastic towards the goals of the organization. In a study conducted by Bass & Viola(1996) it showed that “women were judged as more effective and satisfactory to work for, as well as more likely to generate extra effort from their subordinates”. (Bass, Viola & Atwater 1996) Importance of ethics “Ethical behavior on the part of the leaders would appeared be a necessary indention for the establishment of an ethical organization, but this alone not sufficient.

Ethical leadership is required”(Aaron’s 2001). Leaders should and must try and lead by example and should set the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Only competence is not the key for good leadership, it is competence along with ethics which makes a good leader. This can be linked with either the democratic or directive style of leadership, which ever style is followed by a leader he/she should be ethical in their approach.

It is not necessary that leaders should have a high level of moral standards than the rest of the employees, but he thing which is absolutely important is that they should have a compliance rate which is higher than others, because their behavior and moral ethics will have repercussion on many other people. Conclusion The literature and research tries to find out the characteristics and qualities a leader should possess and the kind of leadership style he/should follow, but a successful leader is one who can change his/her approach according to the situation.

Leadership styles and how the employees react to that depends on certain factors which includes culture, age and gender, but the participative Tyler of leadership is the most preferred by the employees and is effective in the overall growth of the organization. “People live in a democratic society and are embedded in democratic institutions, it seems reasonable to expect that they would have a desire to work in an environment where participation is encouraged and would show preference for managers who lead in a democratic style. (Someone 2002) Additionally, work today needs people to think and solve problems due to the high knowledge component involved. There is an increase in the amount of mental work undertaken. Management gets the work done wrought others. Earlier, most of the work involved physical tasks rather than the mental nature of work as today. This made it easy to delegate work, because no major skills are required. Now, however, teams are required to think creatively in order to solve complex problems, improve productivity, or for new product development.