Leadership styles

A discription of the different leasership styles used by managers on employees and what motivational theories they are based on as well as the different pay methods they use to link to this.

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Leadership styles

The way in which a manager deals with their employees is known as the leadership style. Foe example: Some may be quite strict with their workers while others may be more relaxed and understanding. Although the way in which everyone manages will vary slightly from individual from individual, their styles can be catagorised under three headings: Autocratic, demoncratic and paternalistic


Autocratic managers are authoritarian: they tell employess what to do and do not listen much to what workers themselves have to say. Autocratic managers know what they want doing and how they want it done. They tend to use one way, top down communication. They give orders to workers and do not want much feedback.

Autocratic leaders tend to take a Taylorite view of staff. This means that they base their work methods on F.W Taylor's theories (i.e. jobs may be repetitve and restrictive). Such methods can be found in mass production factories.

Autocratic leaders will also recruit employees based on their skills (high skill=high

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production). Linked to this, payment methods normally revolve around results produced. This means the more produced the more paid (' a good days work means, a good days pay)


Democratic leaders by comparison, like to involve their workers in decisions. They tend to listen to employees' ideas and ensure that people contribute to discussion. Communication by a democratic leader tends to be two way. The manager puts forward an idea and employees give their opinions. A democratic manager would regulary delegate decision making power to junior staff

The deligation of authority which is at the heart of the democratic leadership can be approached in one of two main ways:

  • Management by objectives, in which the leader agrees clear goals with staff, provides the necessary resources, and allows day-to-day decisions to be made by the staff in question
  • Laissez faire ('let it be') management; this occurs when managers are so busy or so lazy that they do not take time to ensure that staff know what to do or how to do it.
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Some people respond very well to the freedom to decide how to work; others may become frustrated

Remember: there is a thin line between these two styles so be careful (i.e. if a manager told his employees nothing more than to produce good quaility products then it could be considered one of the two)

Democratic leaders tend use Maslow's hierarchy of needs or Herzberg's motivators to base their style of leadership on. This means that they try to find different ways to motivate workers in order to increase the production of work. The delegation of authority is an example of this motivation theory.

Payment is simply normal saleries with a possibility of employee shareholdings. This means that employees can hold shares to invest in the company. Possibly giving them a feeling of authority as they may own some shares in the company.

Recruitment and training is based on attitudes and teamwork. This is further evidence leaning towards Maslow's hierarchy.

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A paternalistic manager thinks and acts like a father. He or she tries to do what is best for the staff/children. There may be consultation to find out the views of the employees, but decisions are made by the head of the 'family'. This type of manager believes employees need direction, but thinks it is important that they are supported and cared for properly. paternalistic managers are interested in the sercurity and social needs of the staff. They are interested in the sercurity and social needs of the staff. They are interested in how workers feel and whether rhey are happy in their work. Nevertheless it is still quite an autocratic approach

Paternalistic leaders base their style on Mayo's work on human relation and maslows hierarchy of needs. They believe that social interaction as well as fulfilling the needs of the workers is the most important factor of motivation. Hence why constant consultion of staff is encouraged.

Basic salary is used for this leadership style as well as extra fringe benifits. This is used to encourage loyalty towards the company as well as improvements in human resources.

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Training and appraisal for personal development is the main factor that most paternalistic managers go by.

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