Leadership styles and how to employ them:
The leadership style used by managers can be broadly classified into three main categories which are
· Autocratic Style
· Participative Style
· Free Rein Style
A successful manger employs all the three styles depending on the situation (Tanenbaum, Schmidt 1973). Each of the leadership style is a management tool which a manager can employ to handle a variety of situation.
The Autocratic Style:
In an authoritative style leadership the leader is the sole decision maker. The employees are expected to approach the manager even for the most basic decision. Authoritative leadership is best employed for managing an assembly line or it can be used while training a new employee.
Managers who adopt a participative style leadership work with their employees in the process of decision making. This style is ideally employed when the leader has one part of information and the employees have the other part of the information. The Leader asks for suggestions but the final verdict remains with the leader. Such a leadership style is best employed by middle level management. Since middle level managers form a link with the top management and the operational management, they have a broader idea of the companies goals and they can use this knowledge and the inputs from the operational managers to make the optimal decision.
This style of leadership is employed when the manager has full confidence on his subordinates. In free rein style the manager allows the subordinates to make decision for the task which has been delegated to them. Free rein leadership style is best used by top management who allow their subordinate middle managers to have full control and authority over their departments.
Micromanagement is an extreme form of autocratic leadership style. Micromanagers tend to dictate every minute details of their subordinates job to the point of making them non- thinking androids (Dr Adams.2002). Micromanagement results in subordinates loss of motivation and confidence.
Ideal Leadership style for the CEO’s
CEO’s form the very apex of the managerial pyramid and so are responsible for all aspects of the business. The CEO’s are directly accountable to the board of directors so they have to ensure continuous growth in the overall performance of the company in order to keep the board of directors happy.
Most CEO’s ideally employ a free rein leadership style because it is not possible for them to personally analyze each of the many business functions. However at times they have to make some very important decision, in such situations participative leadership style can be used to arrive at the best course of action. CEO’s may also switch to an authoritarian leadership style in order to train a newly appointed departmental head however this style is best used only for a short span of time.
An Overview of the Case
Retronics is a reputed silicon valley software firm which has suffered a major set back owing to a macro economic factor which effected the entire software industry. Retronics however was able to maintain its lead but is gradually loosing out to competition. The Board of Directors are known to have taken drastic actions in order to get past the tough times, sacking the founder was one such drastic action. George Latour the present CEO was hired after the sacking of the former CEO and founder, George has been hired on a condition that he produce immediate results and prepare the company for an IPO. Thus George Latour is working under tremendous pressure since his job security is at stake.
Retronics needs to win back its market share and this can be done only with a very strong marketing strategy. The Chairman of the Retronics board of directors has hired a marketing manager Shelly Stern who has a proven track record as a veteran marketing person. As the CEO it is George Latour’s responsibility to educate and train Shelly on all aspects of the software business.
It turns out that George is using an extremely autocratic leadership style on Shelly to the point of micro managing her. Owing to George’s micromanagement Shelly has lost her motivation and self confidence and because of the overwhelming emotional pressure she has made some very serious errors in her line of duty.
Evaluation of George Latour’s leadership style:
One should appreciate George for being a perfectionist because he is training Shelly in all aspects of the business without omitting any detail. It is apparent that he wants Shelly to learn all ins and outs of the trade for he sends her on sales calls along with the sales team. George has the foresight to realize that knowledge of the core operational work helps a great deal in formulating strategies.
On the down side however It is apparent that George like most micromanagers is an untrusting person and is incapable of realizing his faults. Additionally George is incapable of empathizing with his subordinates and he has no respect for others judgment, experience and instincts.
It is apparent that George Latour is not effectively managing Shelly Stern. It is clear that he is venting a certain portion of his frustration on her. George Latour should have realized that it takes time for a new recruit to get accustomed to new conditions. Furthermore he should have understood the fact that he is dealing with a veteran manager and by treating Shelly like a toddler he would do permanent damage to their interpersonal relationship.
In order to train Shelly George was right in adopting an autocratic style but he should have exercised self restraint to check his tendency to micromanage. Instead of asking Shelly to make edits on her original ideas George should have asked her to justify her actions and should have explained to her why he thought changes were necessary. He should have allowed her to exercise her authority over her department. George was rather blunt in his style of offering feedback to Shelly, he should have used a more refined and soothing style.
Evaluation of Shelly as a professional and how she must survive with George: Shelly is a kind of person who wants to have her cake and eat it too. Obviously she had a very good track record for being a successful marketing strategist. She was also very happy with her previous job and she had joined Retronics to boost her career. Shelly should have
realized she had to get accustomed to her new job and not expect the work place to adjust to her needs. Although she tried her best to apply all her skill and innovation she seemed to dislike the idea of justifying her actions. Additionally Shelly allowed her attitude to interfere with her job.
In order to better perform at her new work place Shelly must have checked her attitude and should have made a conscious effort to adjust to her boss’s leadership style. She should not have meek and naïve with George but should have actively justified her actions which in turn would help her win George’s confidence. The only way to survive micromanagers is to adopt to their behavioral pattern and to gradually win their confidence (Chambers H E).
Chambers Harry E
Tannenbaum, Schmidt U.S Army Handbook 1973 from
Dr Adams Paul E from