A manager’s leadership style may seem to be set in concrete, hard and unchanging. Or it may be fluid, changing to adapt to the given situation. No matter what a manager’s individual leadership style, it is important to remember that not every style is suited to every occasion. Managers who are able to adapt their personal style to obtain desired results are generally more successful leaders than those who try to impose the same style of management on every employee.
A democratic leader welcomes and encourages input from employees throughout the decision making process. A directive leader micromanages workers, telling them exactly how to complete their day-to-day work processes. When combined, these two styles create a directive democratic style of leadership in which the leader obtains input from workers when making decisions but then closely oversees the work to ensure it is completed appropriately.
An autocratic leader is one who makes all important decisions within the organization with little or no input from employees. This is often combined with the directive style to create a manager who accepts no input from employees in the decision making process and also micromanages every aspect of work. This is perhaps one of the least effective management leadership styles, especially if it is the only style a manager knows how to utilize. However, it is essential in a working environment where workers are either unable or unwilling to do the work without absolute supervision.
A permissive leader is one who gives workers a great deal of flexibility in the workplace, allowing them the opportunity to determine how best to approach their day-to-day work processes. Combined with the democratic style, this is perhaps best suited when managing highly motivated employees who are capable of monitoring their own work processes. The permissive democrat elicits input from highly skilled workers, usually obtaining the most innovative ideas and solutions. This type of manager is often able to confidently delegate many high level duties to capable employees.
A permissive autocrat is a manager who makes all important decisions within the organization but then allows workers flexibility in determining how to complete their day-to-day work processes. This is a useful leadership style for a highly motivated yet unskilled workforce who are willing to do the work but do not have the training or education to make important decisions for the organization.