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In this installment of our guide to organizational management we look at leadership in organizations…

There are three generally-accepted leadership styles that organizational leaders will use to carry out their duties and responsibilities; autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire, or a combination of any of these styles.

While an autocratic leadership style can be beneficial in instances where there are advantages of such control, such as when workers are performing routine or unskilled tasks, overall, this style of leadership can result in high turnover and employee absenteeism. This is because the autocratic leader will exert his or her power over employees, giving staff little opportunity to provide input, even input that would ultimately benefit the organization. This can lead to resentment on behalf of the workers.

Employees who are kept abreast of whats going on in an organization, and who are invited to participate in the decision making process, are more likely to have a higher level of job satisfaction. A democratic leader will seek input and recommendations from his or her team before making a final decision. Thus, democratic leadership has a tendency to slow down the process somewhat, but on the whole results in more satisfied staff with better skill sets and less turn-over.

Laissez-faire (a French phrase meaning leave it be) leadership is used to describe a leader who leaves his or her team to get on with their work. It can be effective if the leader monitors what is being achieved and communicates this back to his or her team regularly. Most often, laissez-faire leadership works for teams in which the individuals are very experienced and skilled self-starters. Unfortunately, it can also refer to situations where managers are not exerting sufficient control.

There is no one leadership style that fits all situations. A good leader will take into account factors that play into productivity things like the organizations structure and culture (does the company effect radical change frequently, or is it stable and conservative?), the type of work being performed, and the general skill-level and experience of its staff.

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