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How can you tell if a leader is using an authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire style?

How can you tell if a leader is using an authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire style?

How can you tell if a leader is using an authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire style?
Click here to ORDER NOW FOR AN ORIGINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT: Discussion: Follower-ship Communication Styles

Discussion: Follower-ship Communication Styles
Discussion: Follower-ship Communication Styles

Discussion: Follower-ship Communication Styles

Leadership and Followership Communication Styles 41

not directly participate in decision making unless requested to do so by follow- ers or if such intervention is deemed necessary to facilitate task completion.4 Examples of guided-freedom communicative behavior include a leader quietly observing group deliberations (providing information and ideas only when asked), a teacher allowing students to create their own assignments, and a research and development manager allowing his or her subordinates to work on product designs without intervention. Take a look at box 2.2 on the follow- ing page and see if you believe the behavior exhibited by Roland Ortmayer is an effective or ineffective use of the laissez-faire leadership communication style.

How can you tell if a leader is using an authoritarian, democratic, or lais- sez-faire style? Pay close attention to the leader’s communication. The com- munication patterns in table 2.1 will help you recognize the style of leadership.

Lewin and his colleagues taught these communication styles to adult lead- ers who supervised groups of 10-year-old children working on hobby projects at a YMCA. The authoritarian leader was instructed to establish and to main- tain policy and procedures unilaterally, to supervise the completion of task assignments directly, and to dictate follower behavior in all situations. The democratic leader was told to encourage the participation of followers in the determination of policy and procedures related to task completion and fol- lower behavior. The laissez-faire leader was instructed to avoid direct involve- ment in the establishment of policy and procedures by supplying ideas and information only when asked to do so by followers.5

Table 2.1 Styles of Leadership Communication


Involves followers in setting goals

Engages in two-way, open communication

Facilitates discussion with followers

Solicits input regarding determi- nation of policy and procedures

Focuses interaction

Provides suggestions and alter- natives for the completion of tasks

Provides frequent positive feedback

Rewards good work and uses punishment only as a last resort

Exhibits effective listening skills

Mediates conflict for group gain


Sets goals individually

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