Leadership and Decision Making

Here’s a question for managers and supervisors.

Does your leadership style contribute to or hinder decision making?  Does it contribute to the problem or the solution?

Research has found that the style of leadership used within a group will have a direct impact upon the workings of the members.    It involves the facilitation of the interactions of the individual members, monitoring and encouraging member participation and completing the assigned tasks.  Leadership within a group may either be earned or ascribed.  When a group first forms the leadership issue must be decided.  Until that happens the group cannot focus on the tasks.  The style of leadership may vary along a continuum of authoritarian to non-directive.

An authoritarian leader is in complete control of the group.  The leader will make the decisions and then announce them to the members.  Information may be solicited from the members but may not affect the final decision.  An authoritarian leader is concerned only with getting the job done and not with whether the members approve of the final decision.

An authoritarian-democratic leader will make a decision and then attempt to persuade the group members to support it.  Such a leader needs the cooperation of the group to insure the task is completed.  The leader will attempt to persuade the members to support any decisions which have been made, whether or not the group had any input into that decision.

A democratic leader will present ideas and ask for input.  Additional suggestions may be asked from the members during the course of the meeting.  Decisions from such a leadership style are usually the result of a majority vote.

When compared to one another, authoritarian leaders will produce faster decisions in part because they have encouraged centralized communication structures.  Nondirective leaders encourage the use of decentralized communication structures and while slower, they will produce higher quality decisions.

So which style of leadership do you have and how effective are you in resolving problems?  If problem solving remains an issue, consider looking at your leadership style and making changes in order to bring about the best solutions possible.


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