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Unit 3


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Leadership Styles

Key Terms:

Explain permissive leadership. Permissive Leadership Explain autocratic leadership. Autocratic Leadership Explain participative leadership. Participative Leadership Idenify the leadership styles of individuals in your group. Understand the effectiveness of different leadership styles.

Leadership Styles

Leaders of nations, states, organizations, local groups, and school clubs, tend to approach the job of getting things done in relatively predictable ways. Three primary leadership styles are recognized -- permissive, autocratic, and participative. The three styles are not hard and fast rules. Leadership styles vary the same way people do, no one is alike. Also, you're unlikely to find any one of the three in its pure form, because people in leadership positions tend to vary their behavior and use a combination of all three. Using a combination of leadership styles appears to be the most effective way to lead a group of people. However, most leaders will adopt a style of leadership that reflects each individual's style of working with people. A leader's style will be one that is suited to the local situation, although it is quite common for the style to be modified as conditions change. For instance, if the demographic makeup of the group changes (for any of a number of reasons) the leader's style will be modified to follow the population trend.


Permissive leadership can also be called "hands-off" leadership. A permissive leader does not attempt to influence the members of the group. They are allowed to work on projects using whatever methods appear O.K. at the time. The truly permissive leader uses very little leadership pressure. The group is allowed and even expected to solve its own problems and accomplish goals using methods developed by group members. Permissive leadership may swing too far away from any form of leadership -- resulting in a vacuum of leadership -- which can result in confusion, lack of productivity, and even chaos within an organization. In other words there is an absence of effective leadership; although a group of disciplined and wellmotivated inviduals may be able to get things done. 1

Autocratic (sometimes referred to as dictatorial)

Autocratic leadership is "power-centered." In its most extreme form, this is the Saddam Hussein type of leadership. Group members are allowed little or no voice in the decision-making process. An autocratic leader uses rewards and punishments to "persuade" people to function. When the ratio of punishments to rewards becomes too unequal, the autocratic leader may end up looking for another line of work. Such a person relies on the power of the position to get things done. The leader makes all of the decisions and retains the right to set goals. Group members are seen as workers whose primary responsibility is to carry out instructions from the leader. An autocratic leader zealously shields himself from criticism about personal abilities and has an ego-driven need to control other people. If the workers are willing -- that is to say, submissive -- work can get done, perhaps not too willingly. Fear is often used as a tactic by an autocratic leader. The power to confer privilege on some, or withdraw it from others, serves as a powerful tool in the hand of an unscrupulous leader.


Participative leadership involves sharing authority, responsibility and decision making. Individual opinions are welcomed as valuable inputs into the decision making process. A participative leader must be an excellent communicator, one who listens to the concerns and ideas of the group's members. Members of the group are allowed to evaluate their own abilities and develop their own potential. They are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own actions and to use their creativity in helping the group achieve objectives. Typically, a participative leader will make a decision that the team accepts, although that acceptance has to be "sold" to the group. Questions from the team are encouraged, and the process of taking action is a continuing, fluid process of input between the leader and the team. An atmosphere of enthusiasm is kindled and each team member is stimulated to perform well, find fulfillment and self-respect, and play an integral role in achieving group goals.


Review Questions Leadership Styles

1. Define permissive leadership.

Name: Date: Period:

2. Describe someone you would characterize as a permissive leader.

3. Define autocratic leadership.

4. Describe someone you would characterize as an autocratic leader.

5. Define participative leadership.

6. Describe someone you would characterize as a participative leader.


Leadership Styles Applied Activity

Name:____________________ Date:_____________________ Period:______

1. Think of five people you know who are leaders. This would include class or chapter officers, advisors, committee chairpersons, or people outside your group. List each person, by name, position, leadership style, and your rating of each person's effectiveness. Some leaders, as pointed out earlier, may use a combination of leadership styles.



Leadership Style


2. Is there one leader in your group who stands out as being effective in dealing with people and getting things done? Write that person's name below.

3. What type of leadership style or styles does this person use?


Classify your own leadership style.


Briefly state what you can do to improve your leadership style?


Leadership Styles Research Paper

Instructions: 1. Select one person who is a leader in our country. This person could be a politician, business person, teacher, etc. 2. Conduct research on the person you selected. Identify your subject's personality traits, interests, activities, and style of leadership. 3. Describe, in detail, the leadership style of the person you selected.




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