The autocratic leader dominates team-members, using unilateralism to achieve a singular objective. This approach to leadership generally results in passive resistance from team-members and requires continual pressure and direction from the leader in order to get things done. Generally, an authoritarian approach is not a good way to get the best performance from a team.
There are, however, some instances where an autocratic style of leadership may not be inappropriate. Some situations may call for urgent action, and in these cases an autocratic style of leadership may be best. In addition, most people are familiar with autocratic leadership and therefore have less trouble adopting that style. Furthermore, in some situations, sub-ordinates may actually prefer an autocratic style
The Laissez-Faire Manager
The Laissez-Faire manager exercises little control over his group, leaving them to sort out their roles and tackle their work, without participating in this process himself. In general, this approach leaves the team floundering with little direction or motivation.
Again, there are situations where the Laissez-Faire approach can be effective. The Laissez-Faire technique is usually only appropriate when leading a team of highly motivated and skilled people, who have produced excellent work in the past. Once a leader has established that his team is confident, capable and motivated, it is often best to step back and let them get on with the task, since interfering can generate resentment and detract from their effectiveness. By handing over ownership, a leader can empower his group to achieve their goals.
The democratic leader makes decisions by consulting his team, whilst still maintaining control of the group. The democratic leader allows his team to decide how the task will be tackled and who will perform which task.
The democratic leader can be seen in two lights:
A good democratic leader encourages participation and delegates wisely, but never loses sight of the fact that he bears the crucial responsibility of leadership.
He values group discussion and input from his team and can be seen as drawing from a pool of his team members’ strong points in order to obtain the best performance from his team.
He motivates his team by empowering them to direct themselves, and guides them with a loose reign.
However, the democrat can also be seen as being so unsure of himself and his relationship with his sub-ordinates that everything is a matter for group discussion and decision. Clearly, this type of “leader” is not really leading at all.