Leadership Style

January 8, 2014

Leadership style vary depending on the organization, the situation, and even the specific individuals and objective of the Scrum project. Some common leadership styles are as follows – Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-faire, Transactional, Task oriented, Assertive, servant leadership.

Autocratic: This kind of leaders maintain strict, close control on followers by keeping close regulation of policy’s. They believe in direct supervision is the key in maintaining a successful environment. This kind of leadership is used in rare occasions.

Democratic: Leaders falling under this category share the decision-making abilities with group members. This is done by promoting the interests of the group members and by practicing social equality. This leadership incorporates discussion, debate and sharing of ideas and reassurance of people to feel good about their involvement. As per many research this leadership style is one of the most effective and creates higher efficiency, better contributions from group members and increased group morale. This leadership style could lead to better ideas and more creative solutions to problems because the group members are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas. Though democratic leadership is considered as one of the most effective leadership styles, it does have some disadvantage. It is not suitable in situations where roles are unclear or time is of the essence, as this kind of leadership can lead to communication failures and uncompleted projects. Democratic leadership is most suited in situations where group members are skilled and eager to share their knowledge.

Laissez-faire: Under this leadership style all are provided with the rights and power to make decisions. i.e. the decision making power is fully given to the workers. The laissez-faire style is also called as a “hands off” leadership style because the leader delegates the tasks to their followers while providing little or no direction to the followers. These kinds of leaders let followers to have complete freedom to make decisions with regards to the completion of their work. It enables followers a high degree of autonomy and self-rule and also  offering guidance and support when requested. The laissez-faire leader using guided freedom provides the followers with all materials necessary to accomplish their goals, but does not directly participate in decision making unless the followers request their assistance.  This style is not advised to be used when

a)      the followers feel apprehensive at the inaccessibility of a leader

b)      when the leader  do not provide steady feedback to their followers


Ther four leadership styles are Transactional, Task oriented, Assertive, servant leadership.

Transactional: This leadership style was first described by Max Weber in 1947 and later in 1981 it was described by Bernard Bass. This is mainly used by the management.  This kind of leaders focuses their leadership on motivating their employees through rewards and punishments system. There are two factors in this system: 1) Contingent Reward and 2) management-by-exception.

Contingent Reward: This kind of rewards could be materialistic or psychological, to recognizes the good performance of the employee(s).

Management-by-Exception: allows the leader to maintain the status quo. The leader comes in action when the employee(s) do not meet the benchmark.

Task oriented:  Task-oriented leaders enforce task completion and adherence to deadlines.  These leaders are typically less concerned about the employees, but  more with finding the step-by-step solution to reach goals. The advantage for having this kind of leader is that it ensures that the jobs are completed on time.

Assertive: Assertive leaders confront issues and display confidence to establish authority with respect.

Servant leadership: Servant leaders use listening, empathy, and insight while sharing power and authority with team members.  Traditional leadership style is based of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” So whoever is on the top has the control or the decision making power.

The term servant leadership was actually created by Robert K. Greenleaf.  The Characteristics of being a servant leader are as follows:

Listening: A servant leader should show importance on listening to others.

Empathy: He should understand others’ feelings and point of view.

Healing: A servant leader encourages each person’s emotional and spiritual health and wholeness.

Awareness: A servant leader understands his or her own values, feelings, strengths and weaknesses.

Persuasion: A servant leader influences others through their expression.

Conceptualization: A servant leader should have the ability to integrate between the present realities and the future possibilities.

Foresight: A servant leader should have a great instinct about how the past, present, and future are connected.

Commitment to the growth of people: A servant leader should not think about his personal growth in the organization, he or she is equally responsible for serving the need of others too.

Building community: A servant leader is to help create a sense of community among people.


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