Leadership Style


Approach taken by managers when exercising and delegating authority, encouraging participation in decisions, motivating staff, communicating information and maintaining control.

Three key leadership styles:

  1. Authoritarian Leadership (autocratic leadership)
    • This is where managers lead based on the view that they are responsible for telling their employees what they want done and how to accomplish the task, and employees have no input. This style can be used when:
      • Decisions must be made quickly.
      • Management have researched the issue and have the information to solve the problem.
      • With employees learning a new job and requiring supervision and instruction.
    • This style may lower employee morale and productivity.
  1. Participative Leadership (democratic leadership)
    • Involves the leader including one or more employees in the decision-making process. Employees are consulted about what to do and how to do it, however the final decision-making authority still rests with the leader. This can be used when:
      • Managers recognise that employees may have different yet effective ideas.
      • The knowledge and skill base of staff are valued as part of the culture within the organisation.
      • Managers are seeking to motivate staff and encourage a form of ownership over their work.
      • Empowers employees.
  1. Delegative Leadership (laissez-faire)
    • This allows the employees to make decisions, however not all are their responsibility. This process involves a clear understanding between leaders and employees over who can make what decisions. This can be used when:
      • Employees have the relevant knowledge and skills to make the decisions
      • Managers trust the ability of employees to make the right decisions
      • Managers are seeking to motivate staff and encourage a form of ownership over their work

Extract from Business Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2010 Board of Studies NSW.