Autocratic, Democratic and Laissez-Faire Leadership
A classic study that has generated much subsequent research on leadership style was conducted by Lippitt and White (1943).The researchers` trained confederates in three different leadership styles- autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire – before establishing them as the leader of after-school activity clubs for school boys. Unsurprisingly, Lippitt and White found that democratic leaders were the most popular with group members. Such leaders fostered a friendly, cooperative, task-oriented atmosphere that was associated with high group productivity, regardless of whether the group leader was present. Autocratic and Laissez-faire leaders were both less popular with group members, but for quite different reasons. Autocratic leaders created an aggressive atmosphere which was only productive when the leader was present to guide activities. Laissez-faire leaders, on the other hand, created a more pleasant and cooperative group atmosphere but had low leadership productivity, although productivity increased if the leader was absent.
Task versus Socio-Emotional Leadership
According to Bales (1950) that there were two types of leadership: task-focused and socio-emotional. Task focused leaders are primarily concerned with achieving the aims and goals of the group, and ensure this happens by focusing on the task needed to reach those goals. They are knowledgeable, directive, and efficient, but tend to distance themselves from other of the group. An example of an individual with this type of leadership style is entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar. Bales argued that people could be either a task-focused leader or a socio-emotional leader but could not be both simultaneously. Thus, a group would ideally need two leaders: one task-focused to ensure that the group has direction and is productive, and one socio-emotional to ensure that the group is friendly and cohesive. It is easy to see how these two leadership...
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