Difference Between Autocratic and Participative Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Ethics Pages: 8 (2561 words) Published: October 21, 2010
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. Though previous models have their value, a reality check is needed now. 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”(Ansari 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 energized people. This is why motivation and inspiration are central aspects of leadership.(Kotter 1990) The basic difference between a successful and unsuccessful organization is its leadership. As cited by Ansari “the successful organization consistently differs from ineffective organizations in one respect- the former are characterized by dynamic and effective leadership”(Ansari 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 Giullani there are as many leadership styles as there are leaders.” (blurrit.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-Faire (Delegative)
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 was defined as those who focused on organizing tasks, specifying how the tasks would be accomplished and in setting precise work standards.”(Luthar 1996)

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...
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