There are many ways to classify a leader. The most common classification is based on the approach that a leader takes to the use of authority and participation in decision making. The approach has been approved by almost all, since a leader influences his followers in either of two ways; He can tell his followers what to do and how to do it, or He can share his leadership responsibility with his followers, by involving them in the planning and execution of the task.
The Autocratic Leader
An autocratic leader delegates little authority to his subordinates. He expects them to follow his orders without question. He does not expect his follower’s participation in problem solving, he expects them to make him aware of the problem. Subordinates tend to depend too much on this type of leader, and performance goes down whenever he is absent. The subordinates have a lesser number of opportunities to develop initiative. They generally feel reluctant to take part in decision-making, because they are afraid of committing mistakes. There are many draw backs to this type of leadership.
The Participative Leader
Also known as the democratic type of leader. He invites his subordinates to participate in decision making. Together they discuss the problems and limitations and work reasonable answers. The subordinates will identify themselves with the solution quickly because they had a hand in its evolution. This type of leadership gives an opportunity to subordinates to take the initiative, make decision and the performance of a unit does not drop in the absence of the leader. This could also be called the Democratic Style of leadership.
The Persuasive Leader
This type of leader delegates some authority to his subordinates and retains the rest. The leader expects his subordinates to work out means and goals. Providing guidance when needed, this type of leader neither abdicates his responsibilities nor gives overly detailed instructions. He adopts a middle-ground approach of giving general instructions and counsel. The persuasive leader uses his power in a variety of ways without creating the resentment produced by the unbridled use of authority. When this type of leader permits the group to decide, he avoids using his power to coerce, but aids and persuades the group to reach the correct decision. The persuasive leader’s role is not that of either too strict or too liberal a person. He is capable of being both. He can be an autocratic, as well as a democratic leader. He will change his style and orientation depending upon the group he is leading and the situation in which he is placed.