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Advantages and Disadvantages of the Leadership Styles

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You can adapt the six different leadership styles (coercer, authoritarian, affiliator, demo- cratic,   pacesetter,    and  coach)  to  meet  the requirements of different situations. COERCER.  —In this style of leadership, subordinates are expected to do the job the way the leader tells them to do it. Coercer leaders provide clear directions by telling subordinates what to do and how to do it. They don’t listen to the subordinates nor permit much subordinate input. They expect immediate compliance and obedience to orders, and they control the jobs very tightly. This style of leadership requires many detailed reports on the job, including progress and problems with the job. Coercer leaders give more negative and personalized feedback than positive feedback and frequently resort to name calling to accomplish the job. They motivate their subor- dinates by threats of discipline or punishment. AUTHORITARIAN. —Authoritarian leaders are firm but fair. They tactfully provide clear direction but leave no doubt about what is expected or who makes the final decisions. They solicit some input from subordinates on how to do the job and ways to make the job easier. Authoritarian leaders see their influence as a key part of their job. They persuade subordinates to do the job by explaining the “whys” behind decisions. They monitor all jobs closely and provide negative and positive feedback to their subordinates. AFFILIATOR. —In this leadership style the people are the leader’s first concern. Affiliator leaders consider concern for subordinates and personal popularity as the most important aspect of their job. They don’t provide clear direction, standards, or goals. They provide for job security and fringe benefits to keep their subordinates happy. Affiliators avoid conflicts that might cause hard feelings. They reward personal characteristics rather than job performance, and they rarely punish subordinates. DEMOCRATIC.  —This style of leadership relies on participation of the group. Democratic leaders believe subordinates should take part in the decision-making process. They base decisions on the consensus of opinion of the entire group. They consider specific direction and close super- vision unnecessary in completing the job when trust has been established. They frequently hold meetings  and  listen  to  their  subordinates. Democratic  leaders  usually  reward  average performance and rarely give negative feedback or punishment. PACESETTER. —Pacesetter leaders would rather  do  the  job  themselves.  They  set  high standards, and they lead by example. They are loners. They expect self-direction of themselves and others. Pacesetter leaders have trouble delegating because they believe they can do the job much better than their subordinates. They become coercive when their subordinates have difficulty or when things go wrong. Pacesetter leaders don’t develop subordinates because they are continually taking away the subordinates’ responsibility and exerting their own authority. COACH. —In the coach style of leadership, leaders are concerned with the development of their subordinates. They are concerned with high standards but have trouble communicating these high standards to subordinates. Coach leaders see their  job  as  developing  and  improving  the performance of their subordinates. They direct by having subordinates set their own goals. They get their workers to develop plans and identify solutions instead of giving them clear, concise instructions on what to do and how to do it. Advantages and Disadvantages of the Leadership Styles Each of the six leadership styles has advantages and disadvantages. Usually a good leader is a combination of several of these styles. You must tailor your personal leadership style to fit each situation. The coercer style is especially effective during a wartime situation when the command is in combat  or  under  fire.  However,  this  style  of leadership can have some negative effects if the command, work center, or individual is performing at a high rate of efficiency. Subordinates will not respond well to the repeated use of threats during normal situations. You might find the authoritarian leadership style useful when seeking information on a particular situation or before inspections. However, it is normally not a good style to use in personal counseling sessions. This leadership style doesn’t allow enough flexibility to provide alternative solutions  to  subordinates’  personal  problems. Using this style by jumping in and taking over in situations when you have technically competent workers is counterproductive. 3-16



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