According to "Training" magazine's 2012 training industry report, companies spent approximately $55.8 billion on training in 2012, a significant percentage of which was spent on leadership training. Such training ensures that managers and executives produce consistent and certain results. However, "Forbes" contributor Mike Myatt states that training is ineffective because leaders aren't trained, they are developed. If this is true, the question becomes about what leadership style should a company adopt, collaborative or autocratic.

Autocratic Leadership

The military and manufacturing and construction industries rely on autocratic leaders to both protect less-experienced personnel from the hazards in their physical environments and limit errors in production processes. Autocratic leaders are effective in accomplishing these objectives because they impose the management structure and discipline necessary for employees to complete their tasks successfully. Autocratic leaders make decisions independent of the input of others, which best ensures day-to-day decisions reflect the knowledge of seasoned leaders. These leaders also impose a strong task-orientation to control all aspects of work activities and operations, which allows employees to focus on their duties. Real-world examples of autocratic leaders include Martha Stewart and Gen. George S. Patton.

Disadvantages of Autocratic Style

The communication in groups led by autocratic leaders is top-down. As a result, employees may come to resent the inability to make suggestions regarding work processes and procedures. In addition, if the leader's style is extremely dictatorial in nature, employees may experience stress and complain about the restrictions of their work environment. This employee dissatisfaction may lead to high personnel turnover and absenteeism.

Collaborative Leadership

A collaborative approach works best to address complex problems that affect multiple groups and require the input of several individuals with diverse talents, such as a system implementation. David D. Chrislip, author of “The Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook,” says collaborative leaders support the belief that if the appropriate people are given the necessary knowledge, and encouraged to collaborate, they will develop suitable strategies to address an organization's issues. In this environment, decisions are a result of a group consideration combined with individual efforts. To support collaboration, leadership builds a direct relationship between decision rights, accountability and rewards. This linkage prevents teams from becoming bogged down in debate. Two well-known collaborative leaders are Steve Ells of Chipotle Mexican Grill and President Eisenhower.

Disadvantages of Collaborative Style

It can be difficult to find a truly collaborative leader, who optimizes group assets, seeks new solutions, sustains focus, sets appropriate goals, directly faces conflict and promotes trust. Some see collaboration as the goal, rather than a process that facilitates the achievement of a company goal. In addition, it might be difficult to get multiple people to assume joint responsibility for achieving a particular end result. Collaborative leadership is also time-consuming.