Leadership Style | Meaning | Characteristics of Leadership style

What is Leadership Style?

The term leadership style refers to behavioral pattern employed by a leader to integrate organizational and personal interests in the pursuit of some goal or objective. The type of leadership style available in an organization has a great deal to do with the implementation of strategies.

In management literature, different researchers have identified different styles. For instance
there are three distinct types of leadership styles — authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire.

Consideration and initiating structure, accomplishment and personal relationship are important dimensions of leadership style which emphasis on employee-oriented supervision.  The essence of leadership style lies in task behavior, relationship behavior and effectiveness.

The extensive research in the relationship between management style, the nature of environment and effectiveness reveals that there are basically seven styles of leaderships whose characteristics can be explained in the following five dimensions.

Characteristics of Leadership Styles

1. Risk Taking: Willingness to make high — risk, high-return decisions.

2. Technology: Degree of commitment to planning, employment of technically qualified persons, and practice of management science techniques.

3. Organicity: Degree of loose and flexible organizational structuring; low organicity is mechanistic in tightly structured organizations.

4. Participation: High participation implies extensive participation of those other than the top management in key positions.

5. Coercion: High coercion means extensive use of fear and domination by top managers as a management technique.

The environment along the following dimensions shall be characterized as follows:

1. Degree of Turbulence of Volatility: Fast changeability and unpredictability.

2. Degree of Hostility: Hostile environments are highly risky and overwhelming.

3. Degree of Heterogeneity: This refers to diversity of markets and types of consumers.

4. Degree of Restrictiveness: Restrictiveness means many economic legal, social and political constraints.

5. Degree of Technological Sophistication: With complex technologies, R & D is necessary for survival.

When the management style matches the strategic choice (firm’s environment), firms tend to be more effective. However, the leadership style that an individual selects should depend on the situation in which he finds himself, the type of strategy to be managed, and the general environmental variables.