Leadership style is the way a managerial leader applies his influence in getting work done through his subordinates in order to achieve the organizational objectives. The main attitude or belief that influences leadership style is the perceived role of the manager versus the role of the subordinates.

It depends upon the role of the leader whether he likes to work more of a colleague, facilitator and decision maker and on the other hand the response of the subordinates would determine the particular style to be in application.

The styles of leadership can be studied under the following heads:- A. Motivational Leadership Style B. Power Based Leadership Style C. Result Based Leadership Style.

Some of the leadership styles are:-


1. Positive Motivational Leadership Style 2. Negative Motivational Leadership Style 3. Autocratic Leadership 4. Democratic 5. Laissez Faire or Free-Rein Style 6. Employee Oriented Leadership Style 7. Production Oriented Leadership Style 8. Paternalistic Style 9. Transformational Style.

Additionally, learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different styles of leadership.

Leadership Styles: Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez Faire, Paternalistic, Transformational, Positive and Negative Style

Leadership Styles – 4 Types of Leadership Styles: Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez Faire and Paternalistic (With Merits and Demerits)

The behaviour adopted by a leader in the process of supervision of a subordinate is known as style.

There are four basic styles i.e.:


1. Autocratic,

2. Democratic,

3. Laissez Faire, and

4. Paternalistic.


1. Autocratic Style:

This style is known as authoritative or directive style of leadership. In this style, the entire authority is focused in the hands of the leader. He decides all policies. He gives direction to subordinates and demand complete obedience from them. He creates the work situation for the subordinates and the latter have to execute what they are told. Autocratic leader possess all the authority and assumes complete responsibility for the task entrusted.

There are three types of autocratic leaders:

i. Strict Autocrat:

He is one who influences the actions of the subordinates by frightening, criticizing and imposing penalties.

ii. Benevolent Autocrat:

Though he possesses, authority and power, he influences the actions of the subordinates by encouragement, inspiration and guidance.

iii. Incompetent Autocrat:

He is one who hides his incompetence, lack of skill and knowledge by being very harsh with the subordinates. In other words, he veils his deficiency by virtue of exercising the authority in an autocratic fashion.


Autocratic Style of Leadership:


i. Faster decision-making

ii. Strong motivation to the leader


iii. Suitability.


i. No role in decision-making

ii. Exploitation of employees


iii. No opportunity for creativity

iv. Frustration

v. No development of leadership skill

vi. Slavery attitude.

2. Participative or Democratic Style:

This style is anchored in Y-theory of motivation.


Democratic Style of Leadership Involves:

i. Consulting the subordinates.

ii. Decentralizing decision-making to subordinates.

iii. Allowing free flow of communication between the leader and Mie the follower.

iv. Inviting views, opinions, suggestions and ideas from subordinates for making quality decisions.



i. Favourable inclination towards job

ii. Creative urge

iii. Improved morale

iv. Nurturing leadership skill

v. Attrition checked

vi. Reduced resistance to change.



i. Delayed decision-making

ii. Secrecy maintenance difficult

iii. Indiscipline

iv. Exploitation of employees

v. No accountability possible.


3. Free-Rein Style or Laissez Faire Style:

‘Free rein’ means granting complete authority or devolution of entire authority to the subordinates. Manager determines the goals, policies and programmes and decentralizes everything to his subordinates. He/she concerns himself with the result. In other words, subordinates experience autonomy in the matter of accomplishing the objectives prescribed for them. The manager keeps himself posted with the progress of actions done in the goal accomplishment. This style is called permissive style of leadership.

This type of leadership is suited where the subordinates are highly qualified, more skilled, highly competent, knowledgeable, elite, mentally matured, highly educated, etc. This is practised in research and development organizations/departments where scientists and technocrats work.

4. Paternalistic Leadership Style:

Paternalistic leader functions as if he were a parent and his subordinates are his family members. He plays a fatherly role, providing good work environment to subordinates, guidance, motivation, benefits and welfare benefits. This style creates inseparable bond between members and subordinates. This breeds group cohesiveness. This type of leadership is practiced in Japan, thanks to its cultural background.

The advantages of paternalistic style of leadership are:

1. Nurturing love and affection – It nurtures love and affection and the consequent cooperation from the employees.

2. No misunderstanding – There is no room for misunderstanding, apathy, discrimination, enmity among the employees as all these negative things are nipped in the bud by the paternalistic leader.

The disadvantages of paternalistic style of leadership are:

1. No opportunity to grow – There is a little scope for employees to exercise his/her own initiative to grow and realize his/her full potential.

2. Limited applicability – Success of this leadership style is contingent on the culture prevailing in a given country. It has no universal applicability.

Leadership Styles in Management – 3 Types of Leadership Styles: Authoritarian, Participative and Delegative

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people.

There are normally three styles of leadership:

1. Authoritarian or autocratic.

2. Participative or democratic.

3. Delegative or Free Reign.

Although good leaders use all three styles, with one of them normally dominate, bad leaders tend to stick with one style.

1. Authoritarian (Autocratic):

This style is used when the leader tells her employees what she wants done and how she wants it done, without getting the advice of her followers. Some of the appropriate conditions to use it is when you have all the information to solve the problem, you are short on time, and your employees are well motivated.

Some people tend to think of this style as a vehicle for yelling, using demeaning language, and leading by threats and abusing their power. This is not the authoritarian style…rather it is an abusive, unprofessional style called bossing people around, it has no place in a leader’s repertoire. The authoritarian style should normally only be used on rare occasions. If you have the time and want to gain more commitment and motivation from your employees, then you should use the participative style.

2. Participative (Democratic):

This type of style involves the leader including one or more employees in the decision making process (determining what to do and how to do it). However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority. Using this style is not a sign of weakness; rather it is a sign of strength that your employees will respect.

This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts. Note that a leader is not expected to know everything – this is why you employ knowledgeable and skillful employees. Using this style is of mutual benefit – it allows them to become part of the team and allows you to make better decisions.

3. Delegative (Free Reign):

In this style, the leader allows the employees to make the decision. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyze the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. You cannot do everything! You must set priorities and delegate certain tasks. This is not a style to use so that you can blame others when things go wrong, rather this is a style to be used when you have the full trust and confidence in the people below you.

Leadership Styles – 3 Basic Leadership Styles: Autocratic, Democratic and Laissez-Faire Free Rein Leadership

Leadership style is the way a managerial leader applies his influence in getting work done through his subordinates in order to achieve the organizational objectives. The main attitude or belief that influences leadership style is the perceived role of the manager versus the role of the subordinates.

It depends upon the role of the leader whether he likes to work more of a colleague, facilitator and decision maker and on the other hand the response of the subordinates would determine the particular style to be in application.

Broadly speaking, there are three basic leadership styles:

1. Autocratic or Dictatorial Leadership:

In this leadership style, the leader assumes full responsibility for all actions. Mainly he relies on implicit obedience from the group in following his orders. He determines plans and policies and makes the decision-making a one man show. He maintains very critical and negative relations with his subordinates. He freely uses threats of punishment and penalty for any lack of obedience. This kind of leadership has normally very short life.

2. Democratic Leadership:

In this case, the leader draws ideas and suggestions from his group by discussion, consultation and participation. He secures consensus or unanimity in decision-making. Subordinates are duly encouraged to make any suggestion as a matter of their contribution in decision-making and to enhance their creativity. This kind of leadership style is liked in most civilized organization and has very long life.

3. Laissez-Faire Free Rein Leadership:

Quite contrary to autocratic leadership style, in this leadership style the leader depends entirely on his subordinates to establish their own goals and to make their own decisions. He lets them plan, organize and proceed. He takes minimum initiative in administration or information. He is there to guide the subordinates if they are in a problem.

This kind of leadership is desirable in mainly professional organizations and where the employees are self-motivated. Leader works here just as a member of the team.

Leadership Styles – 3 Categories of Leadership Styles on Basis of the Sources of Power: Autocratic, Democratic and Free-Rein

Leadership style is the process or method in which the leader supervises and directs his follower to achieve the objectives of the organisations. It shows that how one behaves and influences the performance of the others. Power is the basic factor for determining the leadership style.

On the sources of power, leadership styles may be categorized in to three categories:

1. Autocratic,

2. Democratic, and

3. Free-Rein.

1. Autocratic Leadership:

Autocratic leader make decisions and issue orders over his subordinate for complete control. He centralizes all power in himself and does not delegate any authority to his subordinates. He loves power and dominates his group by coercion and command. The leader become all in all in this style of leadership style. Rewards and penalties are used in this leadership style. Therefore, this leadership is also called negative style and is also not recognized a rational style.


i. Decisions are taken quickly in autocratic leadership style.

ii. The leaders receive strong motivation and satisfaction by this Leadership style.

iii. Less competent and skilled employees can be selected by management as they have only carry out instructions of the leaders.

iv. This style may be successful when the more speed is required.


i. Subordinates do not get job satisfaction due to the negative leadership style and leads frustration, low morale, and conflict among them.

ii. It destroys the innovative power of the subordinates as they do not participate in the decision making process.

iii. Subordinate avoids handling the responsibility.

iv. In the absence of leader organisational continuity is threatened because the subordinates did not get the opportunity for development.

There are some instances in which autocratic leadership style may be appropriate. In the cases of urgent action the autocratic leadership may be the best. This leadership style may be also suitable when subordinate are uneducated, unskilled and submissive. Leader takes decisions him-self when the lack of knowledge and experience is found in subordinates. In the modern organisations the autocratic leadership style is becoming less desirable due to the highly qualified and well organized employees.

2. Democratic or Participative Leadership:

This style of Leadership involves subordinates in the process of decision making. The leader decentralizes his authority at few extents and allows the subordinates to share his power. The leader takes the decision with the consent of the group member and majority opinion. The freedom of thinking and expression is given to subordinates by leader. Although, the leader maintains the final decision making authority, he listens the suggestions, grievances and opinions of the subordinates.


i. It enhances the morale and job satisfaction of the employees.

ii. Democratic leadership develops positive attitude and reduces resistance to change.

iii. It enhances the decision making ability of the employees.

iv. Better decisions are ensured by autocratic leadership style.

v. The abilities of leader are multiplied through the contribution of the subordinates.

vi. Labour turnover and labour absenteeism are reduced in democratic style.


i. It is time consuming style and it is found delays in decision making.

ii. The expectation of consultation on every issues may develop a bad habit in the subordinates and in the adverse case they may feel frustration if they are not consulted.

iii. It may not provide positive result when subordinates prefer minimum interaction with the leader.

iv. It requires better communicating and persuasive skill on the part of the leader.

v. Consultation by leader during problem solving may suffer due to incompetency.

Although, there is no empirical proof but it is to be said that democratic leadership style is considered to be more effective than authoritative style. Democratic style of leadership is more compatible with the prevailing system of value in which freedom of expression and independent thinking are ingredient part.

The leadership style also depends on the subordinate and immediate goals. If the subordinates have a little bit need of independence and the immediate goal is to increase the productivity, autocratic leadership may be preferred. The democratic style will be more effective when the goal is high need of the independence and job satisfaction.

The democratic style is also suitable where subordinates have accepted the goal of the organisation and leader is willing to share the decision making with subordinates.

3. Free Rein or Laissez Fair Style:

This is the leadership style in which subordinates receive complete freedom. In this style once the policies, programmes and limitations for action are determined by manager, the entire process is left to subordinates. Everything is performed by group members and the managers usually maintain contacts with outside persons to provide the information and material required for group.

This leadership style is suitable in those organisations where the manager can leave a choice to his group. This style promotes to develop independent personality. The role of leader in this style is almost neglected. Being the minimum role of manager or leader this style is not suitable for business organisations.

Leadership Styles – Positive, Negative, Autocratic, Democratic and Free-Rein Style

The success of a business unit depends upon the leadership styles followed by the leaders. Leadership style describes how a leader has relationship with his group.

Some of the leadership styles are discussed below:

1. Positive Style:

A leader motivates his followers to work hard by offering them rewards. A rule is framed in such a way that a reward will be ensured to those who show high efficiency. Positive leaders promote industrial peace. For example, higher bonus (bonus linked with wages) will certainly increase efficiency of the workers. Wages are payable under piece rate system.

2. Negative Style:

A leader forces his followers to work hard and penalises them if the work is not up to the organisation’s standard. The penalty is given according to the performance. The penalty will be a severe one if the performance has more short comings. For example, if the manager gives ousting order for continuous absence from duty for ten days even though the worker is absent due to unavoidable circumstances. It is a negative style.

Negative style has high human cost. But, it is necessary in some circumstances. Under negative style, everybody tries to shift his responsibility over to others. Negative style leaders act more as bosses than leaders.

3. Autocratic or Authoritarian Style:

Under this leadership style, the leaders have full power or authority to take a decision. The leaders create a work situation under which the subordinates are expected to work. They will work no more or less than the instruction of the leader. So, the leaders have full responsibility.

The followers are not aware of organisation goals. Besides, the followers feel insecure and are afraid of the authority of the leaders. The reason is that these leaders have the desire to wield loving more powers.

The leader uses his power for the interest of his group and motivates his followers. Then the productivity is increased and the followers get full satisfaction from their job.


i. This leadership style provides strong motivation to the followers.

ii. Quick decision is possible. The reason is that the leader himself takes decision for the whole group.

iii. Less talented followers can perform their job effectively.

iv. Followers need not take any decision.

v. Decision-making, planning or organising need no initiative.


The autocratic leadership style has some disadvantages.

They are given below:

i. Most of the people dislike this style. The reason is that this style has a negative motivation approach.

ii. Frustration, low morale and conflict develop easily under autocratic leadership.

iii. New ideas or creative ideas of the followers will not have a scope to be applied and benefits of these could not be obtained under autocratic style.

iv. The followers have no opportunity for development.


Autocratic style is not suitable to all business organisations. It is suitable to those organisations in which the followers are uneducated and unskilled. The reason is that they are unable to take decisions. If the organisation follows the punishment principle, this leadership style may be suitable.

4. Democratic Style:

It is otherwise called as participative style. It is just opposite to autocratic style. The authority is decentralised. So, the followers are permitted to take decisions under this style. The decisions are taken wholeheartedly. The reason is that the superior has consultation with his subordinates before taking a decision. The subordinates know the goals of the organisation, so, they offer fruitful ideas during discussion. If a leader follows this style, he can use the force to control his followers instead of using authority.

Generally, most of the leaders follow this style. At present, the worker’s participation in management is gaining popularity.


i. Consultation gives satisfaction to the followers. Followers are consulted before taking a decision.

ii. Due recognition is given to the followers. So, they show more interest in increasing the company’s productivity.

iii. Followers are aware of the activities in the organisation.

iv. A leader can improve his decision-making ability through consultation with his followers while taking a decision.

v. Followers get opportunity to show their ability or talent.


i. Decentralisation of power is used only when consultation is made for taking a decision. Nothing more than that is done.

ii. Taking a decision and the implementation of it require more time. The reason is that several members are involved in taking a decision.

iii. Followers can dominate the leader.

iv. A leader can easily shift the responsibility to his followers for failure in taking and implementing a decision.

v. It requires communicating skill on the part of the leader. If does not have it, unfavourable things may happen in an organisation and the organisation may be financially and status-wise ruined.

5. Free-Rein Style:

The leaders have no authority and responsibility under this style, so the followers themselves take decisions for which they get authority. This style is employee-centred. Employees (Followers) are free to establish their own goals and chart out the course of action. The employees train themselves and they are self-motivated.

The leader acts as a liaison officer between the employees and the outside world. He brings the information which is needed to the employees. The information is utilised by the employees to do their job. Here, the leader fails to motivate his followers (Employees).


i. Morale and job satisfaction of the followers are increased to some extent.

ii. The talent of the followers is properly utilised.

iii. The followers get full opportunity to develop their talents.


i. The leader does not care to motivate his followers.

ii. The contribution of a leader is nothing.

iii. The leader does not support the follower and no guidance is available to the former.

Leadership Styles in Management – 4 Important Leadership Styles (With Continuum of Leadership Styles and Choosing a Leadership Style)

All leaders are not alike. Situational theory reveals that they cannot stick on to one behavioural pattern to lead the organisation or his team. His behaviour should be versatile and be adaptable to any type of situation that occurs. Versatility here refers to changing behaviour according to the changing organisational scenario or changing attitude of his team members. Leader’s behaviour, thus, will change according to the circumstances that he confronts.

The behavioural pattern which a leader adopts to direct the behaviour of members in an enterprise for achieving the organisation goals is known as the style of leadership. Different leadership styles may be adopted by the leaders at different times and in different circumstances.

Among the different leadership styles, the four important leadership styles are:

1. Autocratic or authoritarian,

2. Democratic,

3. Laissez-Faire, and

4. Transformational.

A brief explanation of these three styles is as follows:

1. Autocratic or Authoritarian Leader:

The autocratic leader is one who centralises the decision-making power in himself and gives orders to his employees and also insists also insists that they should be obeyed. He decides policies for the group without consulting the group and also asks the group to take steps as per policies determined by him. He does not delegate authority and runs the whole show by himself. He does not inform the employees the purpose of the orders given to them and does not inform them about the future plans.

He expects his employees to obey him blindly and without question and has no regard for them and does not like to seek their suggestions or advice. Such leadership is negative because the followers are uninformed, insecure and afraid of leader’s authority. Autocratic leadership can be of two types.

They are:

(i) Strict Autocrat:

A strict autocrat is one who relies on negative influences and gives order which must be obeyed by the subordinates without question. His method of influencing subordinate behaviour is through negative motivation, that is, by imposing penalty, criticising subordinates, etc.

(ii) Benevolent Autocrat:

A benevolent autocrat is one who uses a positive motivation style. He disperses rewards to his group. This type is effective in getting higher productivity and in developing good human relationships.

The main advantages of autocratic leadership style are:

(a) Some employees get satisfaction by working under centralised authority situation and strict discipline.

(b) As the decisions are taken by a single person, it permits quick decision-making.

The disadvantages of this style are:

(a) Because of the strictness and negative motivational style, the employees dislike it.

(b) Lack of motivation, low morale, frustration and insecurity affect organisational efficiency.

(c) There is no scope for individuality and initiative.

(d) Future leaders in the organisation do not develop.

This style of leadership is unpopular and it is resented and resisted by the employees.

2. Participative or Democratic Leader:

A democratic leader is one who takes decisions in consultation with his subordinates. He emphasises consultation with and participation of his subordinates and encourages initiative from them. He also seeks their advice and opinions on matters which affect them and their jobs.

He does not take a unilateral decision and decentralises his decision-making process and also authority. Participative leaders have a high concern for people and work.

The various advantages of participative leadership are:

(a) It increases the acceptance of management’s ideas and reduces resistance to change.

(b) As the ideas and suggestions of employees are considered for decision-making, they are highly motivated and their morale also is high.

(c) The decisions are implemented wholeheartedly and the employees productivity is increased.

(d) It reduces the number of grievances of employees.

(e) It seeks to evolve a self-regulating and self-disciplining mechanism.

(f) As the subordinates are involved in the decision-making process, there is a possibility of making better decisions.

(g) Good relationship between the leader and the followers can take place.

Some of the limitations of this style of leadership are:

(a) Lower level of employees may not understand the complex nature of organisation and hence their participation cannot be effective.

(b) This style of leadership can at times be dilatory and subject to pulls and pressures from different groups.

As the advantages are more than the disadvantages, most employees prefer this style of leadership.

3. Laissez-Faire or Free-Rein Style:

Under this style of leadership, the leader entrusts the decision-making authority to his subordinates. He does not direct and hardly makes any contribution to the overall effort. He avoids using power and leaves it to his subordinates to establish the goals and work out the plan to attain the goals. While the group members provide their own motivation, the manager usually contacts the outside sources and brings information and material which the members of the group require to perform their job.

This style of leadership can be adopted only if the subordinates have a sincere desire to discharge their responsibilities, and are highly competent and duty conscious and motivated to do the job even without any direction by the manager. Such instances, of course, either do not exist or are found to be rare. Hence, this style is used very rarely in business concerns.

4. Transformational Style:

Because of change in organisational structure, (i.e., organisations becoming flat or tall), the leaders should change theirs as well as their follower’s behaviour to “transform” the organisation as per the need. Converting the existing structure to the new desired structure to run the organisation successfully, is a challenging task for the leader.

Besides changing his behaviour to adopt to new environment, he should also transform the followers to work as per changed plan. Transforming the mindset of fellow workers and make them adopt to new work norms and work effectively and efficiently is the main theme of transformational leadership style.

In the process of conversion or transformation, the leader has to instill new organisational values and integrity in the minds of fellow workers and make them understanding their duties to be performed in new environment. This style, develops relationship have an open communication system and considers team building. The new vision of the changed organisation structure have to be understood by team members. They should work according to the priorities enshrined in the vision statement and they have to know as to what happens if they do not work as per the listed priorities.

The leader, after preparing the vision statement within the framework of new objectives set, he/she has to formulate the policies and work methods and procedures to be followed by the workers as per the vision statement on the whole, the leader has to transform the whole organisational activities as per new structure and objectives.

This is called “Transformational Leadership” style. Because of changes that are taking place in global business practices, “Transformational Leadership” style is being adopted in many organisations and has become an attractive style.

Continuum of Leadership Styles:

In actual practice, we hardly find leadership styles which can be classified under the categories and what we find is a blend of different leadership styles or overlapping of the various leadership styles. Way back in 1957, Harvard Business Review published an article on “How to choose a leadership pattern” authored by Tannenbaum and Schmidt who have depicted a broad range of styles on a continuum, moving from authoritarian leadership behaviour, at one end, to free-rein on the other.

In this broad range they show the types of behaviour in which a leader can adopt any one behaviour that is suitable to a situation. This is considered to be highly recognised article on leadership behaviour. The degree if freedom enjoyed by a leader and his followers in decision-making is shown in continuum.

This continuum shows seven types of behaviours:

1. The leader takes the decision – He identifies and analyses the problem. Leader asks the workers to implement it. Workers do not have any opinion in the decision.

2. The manager “sells” the decisions – This means that after taking decision by himself, he/she persuades the workers to implement it.

3. Leader presents ideas and invites question – In this behaviour type, leader presents his decision to fellow workers and allows them to put questions on decision. However, he persuades to accept his decision. Some element of participation is provided to workers.

4. Presents tentative decision that is subject to change – Leader analyses the problem, takes a temporary decision and place it before workers for discussion and finalise the decision afterwards.

5. Presents the problem, gets suggestion and then makes the decision – In this style of leader behaviour, decision-making is participatory one in which workers also analyse the problem and offer solutions. Then the leader takes the final decision considering workers opinion.

6. The leader defines the limits and asks the group to make a decision – This style allows the leader to have group decision on the identified problem. The group decision should be within the limits set by the leader. Such decisions are accepted with or without modification.

7. The leader permits the group to make decision within prescribed limits – In this, the group completely, makes the decision. The leader will also be acting as group member.

General Behaviour:

General behaviour of leaders are found out by two empirical studies made by Ohio State University popularly known as OSU studies and another by Michigan University, known as Michigan Studies.

Structural aspects, besides formulating the relationship between the leader and fellow workers, state the well-defined work procedures that are to be strictly followed by workers in discharging their duties.

Consideration depicts that a leader should exhibit in his behaviour, respect for co­workers, friendship, mutual trust and healthy relationship.

These leadership behavioural patterns have been the base for recognising general behaviour of a leader in modern organisations.

Michigan Studies or Likert’s Four Systems:

Michigan University of USA, also conducted one study on general behaviour pattern of a leader under the leadership of Rennis Likert and the study is known as “Likert’s System”. The study team conducted interviews with leaders/managers and subordinates and arrived at behavioural patterns, viz., (i) job-centered behaviour, and (ii) employee-centred behaviour. Michigan study is similar to OSU study and this study, besides coming out with two patterns, also took structure and consideration as their premise for study.

Job-centred behaviour focuses primarily on the work of a subordinate. The attention of a leader will be on the efficiency of work of a worker.

Employee-centred behaviour considers the personal needs of the workers. In this leadership behaviour pattern, harmonious relations will have to be developed between workers and leader to achieve organisational objectives. For this, healthy and co-operative work teams have to be developed by the leaders. Considerations and structural aspects are revealed by OSU studies also play vital role in designing these patterns. Accordingly following four patterns prevail showing the effectiveness of each pattern.

Four Styles of Leadership:

(a) Low structure and high consideration.

(b) High structure and high consideration.

(c) High structure and low consideration.

(d) Low structure and low consideration.

Managerial Grid:

“Managerial Grid” is an Organisational Development” (OD) concept. However this has close relationship with leadership. A leader, in the process of developing the organisation considers managerial grid as one of the tools for development. In this grid, different managerial or leadership styles are described.

As in case of OSU and Likert’s Studies, grid is developed on the attitudes of a leader. Two attitudinal variables which act as premise for managerial grid are – (i) concern for people and (ii) concern for production. These two variables are projected on 1 to 9 point scale horizontally and vertically. Five leadership/managerial styles are identified in this grid, viz., 1-1, 1-9, 5-5, 9-1 and 9-9.

(i) 1-1 style (one point for concern for people and one point for production) states that minimum equal effort (for both concern for people and production) is put to achieve the organisation goal.

(ii) 1-9 style says that a leader should give maximum attention to people and less effort for production to have healthy and friendly organisation which can achieve its goals. This also means that production process is sound enough in that situation to have a sustainable growth. Leader focuses more on people.

(iii) 5-5 style depicts that both people and production are balanced. Morale of people will be at a satisfactory level and production process is normal. In this style, leader’s attention is equal to both variables.

(iv) 9-1 style, production process needs maximum attention. The leader has to organise the production process in such a manner that workers’ work efficiently and have minimum degree of interference in the work process. There is more reliability of workers.

(v) 9-9 style, people are fully committed to the assigned task and production is achieved without disturbance. This means that a leader/manager motivates people for full commitment, develops healthy interpersonal relationship through mutual trust and respect to attain maximum production.

Managerial Grid is a People-Production Combination to be followed by a leader. Different situations prevail in different organisations. Hence, the grid shows different combinations of people and production, of which any suitable combinations can be adopted by a leader according to the situation he/she faces at a given point of time. As per the grid, 9-9 style can be the best style that a leader can follow. Because, maximum effort is put by him/her to manage people and production to achieve the organisational goal. But in situations where variables are varying, he has to choose a suitable style which falls within the grid.

Managerial Grid firmly focuses on people development, particularly the development on teamwork in the organisation. The leaders are trained in different phases to achieve 9-9 style. In the initial phases (normally 2), they are made to acquaint with managerial grid concept and in the later phases (usually four phases), they are trained to achieve 9-9 pattern of leader behaviour.

Choosing a Leadership Style:

We have observed various styles of leadership. Different management experts have suggested different styles and there is no unanimity among them as to which are the most suitable for an enterprise. For example, while Chester Bernard favoured a leadership style having concern for people (participative) and production (authoritarian) Mr. Rensis Likert suggested democratic leadership for industry. As different leadership styles have their merits and demerits, it is difficult to prefer one leadership style to another. The selection of a particular leadership style depends on the consideration of a number of factors.

According to Tannenbaum and Schmidt, the more important factors that affect the choice of a suitable style of leadership are:

1. Forces in the Manager – These include manager’s confidence in his subordinates, own leadership inclination, feeling of security in an uncertain situation, etc.

2. Forces in the Subordinates – These include readiness of subordinates to assume responsibility for making decisions, need of subordinates for independence, interest in the problem at hand, knowledge to deal with the problem, etc.

3. Forces in the Situation – These include group objectiveness, complexities of the problem itself, type of organisation, etc.

Today, many managers believe that adopting a particular leadership style is difficult because of their complexity and are represented by unique traits or behaviours. Now they feel that effective leadership behaviour depends on the situation.

Here also some feel that the managers (leaders) should change themselves to the situation and some others feel that it is difficult to alter the leaders and hence situation itself must adjust to the leader. This situational theory makes one point very clear, that effective leadership cannot be defined by one factor. Leader’s personal traits are not undermined. But this theory states that every factor must be considered in the context of situation.

Leadership Styles in Management – On Basis of Motivation, Power and Result

Leadership is the art of influencing behaviour of employees and direct it towards the achieve­ment of organisational goals. The leaders use some methods to influence behaviour; these methods are called leadership styles. Different leaders can have different leadership styles.

These styles may depend on love or force or can be a mixture of both. A leader uses different leadership styles depending upon the follower and situation, but the method he uses in most cases is called his leadership style.

Leadership style may be based on motivation, power or result.

1. Motivational Leadership Style:

The methods of influencing behaviour which include motivational style are motivational leadership styles. Under these styles, employees are motivated to utilise their maximum capacity.

Motivational leadership styles may be positive or negative:

(i) Positive Motivational Leadership Style:

When a leader gives incentive to his employees for attainment of objectives, then it is known as positive leadership styles. These incentives given to employees may be financial or non-financial.

Financial incentives include increased pay, bonus, share in profits, shares of company, gifts, etc. Non-financial incentives include job enrichment, recognition, respect of feelings, participation in decision making, etc.

Generally the employees, who are honest, have will to work, are satisfied with this style and they work with enthusiasm, devotion and dedication. It sweetens the organisational relations.

(ii) Negative Motivational Leadership Style:

This leadership style is based on negative motivators. In this case, employees work with the fear of punishment. This style is exactly reverse of the positive style. The methods used in this style include coercion, fear, fear of losing of job, deduction from salary and getting overwork etc.

In this case, employees are treated harshly. This style is adopted for uninterested and faulty workers.

Any of two styles may be adopted depending on followers. Both have merits and demerits. Generally, a mix of styles is used by leaders, depending on situation.

2. Power Based Leadership Style:

These styles are based on power. Power here means authority. All styles in this category depend on authority of leader. He may use authority completely, less or not at all.

Based on power, leadership styles are categorised into three parts:

(i) Autocratic,

(ii) Democratic,

(iii) Free-Rein.

(i) Autocratic Leadership Style:

This is also known as authoritarian leadership style or leader centred style. In this style, leader keeps all the authority with himself, he alone takes all decisions, exercises complete control and employees have to perform the work without changing any of the orders. The employees are not heard, no importance is given to them. He dominates the group and loves power. He uses reward and punishment system to direct his subordinates. He does not delegate authority.

Features of Autocratic Leadership Style:

1. Formal relations between leader and followers.

2. Centralised authority.

3. Negative motivation.

4. Based on theory X assumptions.

5. Downward communication only.

6. Close supervision and control.


1. Quick decision making.

2. Speedy performance of tasks.

3. Suitable for illiterate/less educated people.

4. Leader is fully motivated.


1. Lack of motivation in subordinates.

2. Decrease in morale.

3. Trade unions may gather up against organisation.

4. Less productivity.

5. Partiality.

This style of leadership is appropriate for uneducated employees. This style is very less used in these days.

(ii) Democratic Leadership Style:

This is also known as participative leadership style or group centred leadership style. This is exactly opposite to autocratic leadership style. The decisions are taken not only by the leader alone but in consultation with the employees also. This style is based on decentralisation of authority or sharing of authority/power. A democratic leader listens to the suggestions, ideas, and problems of employees.

Features of Democratic Leadership Style:

1) Positive motivation.

2) Feeling of belongingness among employees.

3) Upward and downward communication.

4) Group decision making.

5) No tight control.


1) Increased morale.

2) More efficiency and productivity.

3) Industrial peace.

4) Less labour turnover.

5) Less rate of absenteeism.


1) Time consuming decision making process.

2) Lack of responsibility in manager.

3) Educated subordinates required.

In today’s era, democratic style of leadership is better than autocratic style.

(iii) Free-Rein/Laissez- Fair Leadership Style:

It is also known as individual centred style. In it, authority is completely delegated and subordinates are left on their personal willpower. The idea is, if responsibility is given, the person will work harder and use his full capacity. The manager only brings the sources and information for subordinates, they themselves take the decisions.

Features of Free-Rein Style:

1) Full faith in subordinates.

2) Independent decision making.

3) Motivates the subordinates.

4) Two way communication.

5) Self-control.

6) Sense of responsibility in employees.


1) Morale of employees is increased.

2) Employee development.

3) Full capacity of subordinates utilised.


1) No support from leader.

2) Difficult to establish coordination.

3) Supervisors become lethargic.

4) Suitable only for highly educated employees.

This method is appropriate for educated, well trained, self-motivated and self-controlled employees who are ready to take responsibility and accomplish it with pride.

3. Result Based Leadership Style:

In this style, two results are being studied, first is the upliftment of followers and second is the increase in production.

According to first, the upliftment of followers will help in achieving organisational goals. According to second, new techniques of production rather than upliftment of followers will help in attaining organisational goals.

i. Employee Oriented Leadership Style:

In this, the leader gives value to his followers. This idea is based on human approach to management. According to this style if employees are treated in a human way, they are heard, their problems are solved and work conditions are improved then desired results will be automatically achieved.

For this style to be successful, the leader should be able to understand psychology of the followers so that he may know about their wishes and concerns. This style is beneficial for emotional employees, not for careless and irresponsible employees. This style of leadership satisfies the employees and long term commitment of the employees is ensured.

ii. Production Oriented Leadership Style:

In this style, the increase in production is given more attention rather than upliftment of employees. This style is based on the approach that by adopting new techniques of production, production can be increased and organisational objectives can be achieved. Employees are treated as a factor of production and no special attention is paid towards them.

Under this method, production increases and cost decreases. Human relations don’t improve.

If this style of leadership is adopted, the feeling of insecurity, instability takes birth in employees. This method can be useful but for short time period only.

Leadership Styles – 3 Leadership Styles Based on the Degree of Use of Power

Power Orientation:

Power orientation approach of leadership styles is based on the degree of authority which a leader uses in influencing the behaviour of his/her subordinates.

Based on the degree of use of power, there are three leadership styles:

1. Autocratic leadership.

2. Participative leadership.

3. Free Rein leadership.

Type # 1. Autocratic Leadership:

Autocratic leadership is also known as authoritarian or directive style. In autocratic leadership style, a manager centralises decision-making power in oneself. The person structures the complete situation for the employees and they do what they are told. Here, the leadership may be negative because followers are uninformed, insecure and afraid of the leader’s authority.

There are three categories of autocratic leaders:

i. Strict Autocrat:

A strict autocrat follows autocratic styles in a very strict sense. The method of influencing subordinates’ behaviour is through negative motivation, that is, by criticising subordinates, imposing penalty etc.

ii. Benevolent Autocrat:

A benevolent autocrat also centralises decision-making power with oneself, but his/her motivation style is positive. The person can be effective in getting efficiency in many situations. Some people like to work under strong authority structure and they derive satisfaction through such a leadership style.

iii. Incompetent Autocrat:

Sometimes superiors adopt autocratic leadership style just to hide their incompetence. This is because in other styles they may be exposed before their subordinates. Such a technique cannot be used for a long time.

The main advantages of autocratic technique are as follows:

a. There are many subordinates in the organisation who prefer to work under centralised authority structure and strict discipline. They get satisfaction from this style.

b. It provides strong motivation and reward to a manager exercising this style.

c. It permits very quick decisions as a single person takes most of the decisions.

d. Less competent subordinates also have scope to work in the organisation under this leadership style as they do negligible planning, organising and decision-making.

There are many disadvantages of autocratic leadership.

They are as follows:

a. People in the organisation dislike it specially when it is strict and the motivational style is negative.

b. Employees lack motivation. Frustration, low morale and conflict develop in the organisation jeopardising the organisational efficiency.

c. There is more dependence and less individuality in the organisation. As such, future leaders in the organisation do not develop.

Considering the organisational efficiency and employee’s satisfaction, autocratic style generally is not suitable.

Type # 2. Participative Leadership:

This style is also called democratic, consultative or ideographic style. Participation is defined as mental and emotional involvement of a person in a group situation. This involvement encourages the person to contribute to group goals and share responsibility in them. A participative manager decentralises the decision-making process. Instead of taking unilateral decision, the person emphasizes on consultation and participation of the subordinates.

Subordinates are broadly informed about the conditions affecting them and their jobs. This process emerges from the suggestions and ideas on which decisions are based. The participation may be either real or pseudo in nature. In case it is real, a superior gives credit to subordinate’s suggestions and ideas in taking the decisions. In case it is pseudo, the superior preaches participation in theory, but the person will not prefer it in practice. There are various benefits of real participative management.

These are as follows:

i. It is a highly motivating technique for employees. They feel elevated when their ideas and suggestions are given weight in decision-making.

ii. The employees’ productivity is high because they are party to the decision. Thus, they implement the decisions whole-heartedly.

iii. They share the responsibility with the superior and try to safeguard the combined decisions. As the saying goes, a person who is sitting in a boat will never make a hole in it. The saying is applicable in this case.

iv. It provides organisational stability by raising morale and attitudes of employees high and making them favourable. Further, leaders are also prepared to take organisational positions.

Keeping in view these advantages, management makes attempts to achieve effective participation. The common methods adopted are democratic supervision, committees, suggestion programmes and multiple- management. However, this style is not free from certain limitations.

The limitations are as follows:

i. The complex nature of organisation requires a thorough understanding of its problems which lower level employees may not be able to do. In this case, participation does not remain meaningful.

ii. Some people in the organisation want minimum interaction with their superiors or associates. For them, participation technique is discouraging instead of encouraging.

iii. Participation can be used covertly to manipulate employees. Thus, some employees may prefer the open tyranny of an autocrat as compared to covert tyranny of a group.

Type # 3. Free Rein:

Free rein or laisses-faire technique means giving complete freedom to subordinates. In this style, a manager determines the policy, programs and limitations for action. The entire process is left to the subordinates. Group members perform everything and the manager usually maintains contacts with outside persons to bring the information and materials which the group needs.

This type of style is suitable to certain situations where the manager can leave a choice to his/her group. This helps subordinates to develop independent personality. However, the contribution of manager is almost nothing. It tends to permit different units of an organisation to proceed at cross-purposes and can degenerate into chaos. Hence, this style is used very rarely in business organisations.

There are, in fact, a variety of styles of leadership behaviour between two extremes of autocratic and free rein. A broad range of styles on a continuum moving from authoritarian leadership behaviour at one end to free-rein behaviour at the other end.

In later years, a new pattern was developed for choosing the leadership behaviour. Because of changes in social system and organisational environment, the old continuum pattern is no longer valid. Organisations do not exist in vacuum, but are affected by changes that occur in the society.

Thus, there would be more factors in situational variables affecting the leadership pattern. These forces lie outside the organisation interacting continuously with the organisational environment. Thus, new continuum of leadership pattern is more complex as compared to the previous one. In this pattern, the total area of freedom shared by manager and non-manager is constantly redefined by interaction between them and the forces in the environment.

There is continual flow of interdependent influence among systems and people. The points on the continuum designate the types of manager and manager’s behaviour that become possible with any given amount of freedom available to each. This continuum is more complex and dynamic reflecting the organisational and social realities.

A successful leader is one who is keenly aware of the forces that are more relevant to his/her behaviour at any given time. Such a leader accurately understands oneself, the individuals and the group one is dealing with. There is also an understanding of the organisation and the broader social environment in which the leader is operating.

However, merely understanding these factors correctly is not enough. A leader can be successful only when one is able to behave appropriately in the light of these perceptions and understanding. It is believed that a successful manager can be primarily characterised neither as a strong leader nor as a permissive one.

The manager maintains a high batting average and accurately assesses the forces that determine the appropriate behaviour. This helps them to determine the behaviour pattern accordingly. Being both insightful and flexible, the manager is less likely to see the problem of leadership as a dilemma.

Employee-Production Orientation:

The employee-orientation stresses the relationship aspects of employee’s jobs. It emphasizes that every individual is important and takes interest in everyone. It accepts their individuality and personal needs. This is parallel to the democratic concept of leadership behaviour. Production- orientation emphasizes production and technical aspects of jobs. Employees are taken as tools for accomplishing the jobs. This is parallel to the authoritarian concept of leadership behaviour.

Almost at the same time, the leadership studies initiated by some university research scholars. They attempted to identify various dimensions of leader behaviour. Such studies identified two dimensions.

These are as follows:

i. Initiating structure.

ii. Consideration.

Initiating structure refers to the leader’s behaviour in delineating the relationship between oneself and members of the work group. It endeavors to establish well-defined patterns of organisation, channels of communications, methods and procedures. Consideration refers to behaviour indicative of friendship, mutual trust, respect and warmth in the relationship between the leader and the members of the staff.

The research studies also show that initiating structure and consideration are two distinct dimensions and not mutually exclusive. A low score on one does not necessitate high score on the other. Thus, leadership behaviour can be plotted on two separate axes rather than on a single continuum.

Managerial Grid:

One of the most widely known approaches of leadership styles is the managerial grid. It emphasize that leadership style consists of factors of both task-oriented and relation- oriented behaviour in varying degrees. Their “concern for” phrase has been used to convey how managers are concerned about people or production, rather than “how much” production that goes out of the group. Thus, it does not represent real production or the extent to which human relationship needs are being satisfied.

Concern for production means the attitudes of superiors towards a variety of things, such as, quality of decisions, procedures and processes, creativeness of research, quality of staff services, work efficiency and volume of output.

Concern for people includes degree of personal commitment toward goal achievement, maintaining the self-esteem of workers, responsibility based on trust and satisfying inter­personal relations. The managerial grid identifies five leadership styles based upon these two factors found in organisations.

The five styles of managerial grid are as follows:

i. Exertion of minimum effort is required to get work done and sustain organisational morale.

ii. Thoughtful attention to needs of people leads to a friendly and comfortable organisational atmosphere and work tempo.

iii. Efficiency results from arranging work in such a way that human elements have little effect.

iv. Adequate performance through balance of work requirements and maintaining satisfactory morale.

v. Work accomplished is from committed people with interdependence through a common stake in organisational purpose and with trust and respect.

Each style points out the relative contents of concern for production or people. It implies that the most desirable leader’s behaviour is 9, 9. It represents maximum concern for production and people. Managerial grid is much similar to production-people orientation style as given by Ohio State University. However, there is one basic difference between the two.

In managerial grid “concern for” is a predisposition about something or an attitudinal model that measures the predisposition of a manager. The Ohio State framework tends to be a behavioural model that examines how others perceive leader’s actions.

Managerial grid is a useful device for a manager. It helps in identifying and classifying managerial styles. It helps a manager in understanding why he/she gets the reaction that one does from the subordinates. It can also suggest some alternative styles that may be available to the manager. However, it does not tell why a manager falls in one part or the other of the grid. A manager’s style is influenced by many factors.

This includes the kind of superiors, the subordinates and the business situation one is in. In managerial grid, the four comers and the mid­point of the grid are emphasized. These extreme positions are rarely found in their pure form in working conditions.

In other words, a manager would more likely have a style of 8, 2 or 4, 6 or something similar. Nevertheless, managerial grid is widely used throughout the world as a means of managerial training and for identifying various combinations of leadership styles.