There are three main types of leadership; Authoritarian, Democratic and Laissez-Faire leadership. Authoritarian Leadership This style is leader centred. The leader does all of the planning and thinking. The job of the team is just to follow the leaders example, and do whatever they are told to. The team follows and is motivated by the leader either because he has status, charisma expertise, or the power to punish or reward. The team strive to please and satisfy the leader. The main sanction is the approval or disapproval of the leader.
This kind of leadership is best when situations are life or death, and quick decisions need to be made, and are carried out without question and with discipline by the team. The main negative point is though, that there is very little individuality for the team members. If the leader makes a mistake, then everybody suffers because only he can make decisions and choices fro the team. No one other than the leader is allowed to have a say in affairs. In this style of leadership, himself holds the leader accountable for his own actions.
Democratic Leadership This style of leadership is team centred. The leader is a facilitator and an organiser. It is up to the team to come up with ideas. All the team then discusses these and an agreement is then reached by a consensus or by voting. You should always go with the majority. They are motivated because it is their own collective wishes, and they have all been consulted and listened to. Sanctions come from the group rather than the leader. The reward is the acceptance of their ideas by the group; the punishment is the rejection of their ideas.
This leadership works best when decisions do not need to be made quickly or with urgency. This gives time for the ideas to be discussed and altered. The main drawback to this leadership is that it takes a long time to make any decisions and meetings can get very boring. Also people that disagree with the majority can feel rejected or outcast. This can be de-motivating. The whole group can be held to account if things go wrong, because they all agreed on the plan in the first place. All followers are expected to so-operate with the will of the majority.
Laissez-faire Leadership This style has no particular centre. There can be a leader, and he can come up with plans and ideas but he will not enforce his to be followed. No one has to follow the leaders example. Motivation comes from the fact that the individual is free to do whatever they want; they do not have to explain their actions to anyone. There are no sanctions at all in this type of leadership.
This leadership works well with individuals, people that need to be free to work ion their won way, for example artists. The main drawback to this system is that there is no support for team members. It only motivates people that are self-motivated, and can appear as a huge shambles. It is hard to hold anyone to account, they are all in charge of themselves. Group decisions are impossible. The leaders never wear anything that suggests rank or authority. They are all about informality. Followers are expected to do what they want, and not ask for guidance or permission.
Authoritarian leadership in the Army When quick decisions need to be made on matters of life and death, authoritarian leadership is still the normal way. Leaders are expected to motivate and take care of their soldiers. In today’s army, authoritarian leadership is not used as often. During WW1 bad orders where followed unquestioningly, and hundreds of lives where lost due to incompetent leaders. That is why today planning has become much more democratic. Tough entry procedures and training means that leaders are quickly identified and trained for their job and in leadership skills.
However, soldiers are all trained to obey and to understand. For example; when a unit is on active service, orders are given and obeyed immediately and without question or thought. This makes the army efficient and swift in its responses Authoritarian leadership in the Police Authoritarian leadership is occasionally used in the Police. Usually for emergencies. In operations such as a Drugs raid, the raid is planned democratically but then carried out under authoritarian leadership. Authoritarian leadership is also employed by the use of rank, and uniforms, and also in formal modes of address such as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’.
Democratic Leadership in the Army This is used in small non-combatant groups, i.e. Army youth teams. The atmosphere is more informal and there is a lot of discussion before the leader comes to a decision. Democratic leadership is valuable in meetings, and for finding out everyone’s views on a particular issue. These meeting are much better for generating ideas. Democratic leadership in the Police The police are an information-gathering organisation, and this style of leadership makes this easier, and more effective.
Democracy is about listening, and this is essential for ideas to be passed up and down the chain of command. All meeting are recorded and minutes are taken, so good ideas are not forgotten. Democratic leadership spreads responsibility for both good and bad decisions. It can sometimes lead to no one talking the blame and being held to account. Mainly though it works well and helps the Police to provide a more professional service.