AUTHORITARIAN LEADERSHIP STYLE: What an authoritarian leader would do in this situation: Authoritarian leadership style is characterised by high power distance, “top-down” management, with a focus of power in top managers and executives. Further traits include high control, prescription, and authority. What an authoritarian leader would do depends on the level of power perceived. On one extreme, the leader would make all decisions by himself or herself, and only assign the tasks to employees without allowing any questions or feedbacks. In this case, subordinates are merely onsidered as tools or pawns, without any real strategic functions. Another less extreme possibility is that the leader makes decision and try to convince his/her subordinates that it is in their best interest to accept them. In this case, the manager of the department would try to identify and analyze the problems by himself, then make decisions and try to enforce this on employees. This can be done by, for example, ordering that all employees sit in the same table during lunch, or cooperating more with each other. The merger also results in a considerable number of lay-offs, therefore some employees might still old bitter feelings about the change. However, the matters concerning employee morale is of less importance to the authoritarin leader, thus he or she would have low regard for it. Furthermore, the leader could even use lay-offs as a threat against any disloyalty in employees’ behaviors. 2. DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP STYLE What a democratic leader would do in this situation: Democratic leadership, on the other extreme of the continuum, is characterised by low power distance, “bottomup” management, with power centred in lower levels of execution. Other traits include low control, more autonomy, ith more consulting and facilitating involved. What a democratic leader would do depends on the level of freedom involved. On one extreme, the leader would only define the issue or problems as well as the possible framework and leave it up to the team for deciding and implementing solutions. This could be reached by either a consensus or a majority vote. Another less extreme option would be that the leader makes decision after consulting and discussing openly with the group. In this case, managerial judgment is still required in order to evaluate the suitability of the suggested solutions by subordinates.
Thus, if the manager of the department is democratic, he or she would set up a meeting in which all employees from both merged companies are gathered. The leader then asks them to identify possible causes of the problems, and give them an opportunity to suggest solutions. The final solution would be decided by the leader or the majority vote. During the process of implementing solutions, the leader could leave it entirely to the team, with only a minimal amount of consulting and facilitating, after defining the restrictive parameters. Thus, the level of control is minimum.
Furthermore, in this case employee morale actually plays an important role from the leader’s perspect. Thus, he or should would try to confront the possible negative effects caused by the lay-offs of some employees during the merger, in order to ensure that employees feel motivated, comfortable and united. 3. OTHER LEADERSHIP STYLE What would the third type of leader do? The third type of leader would be somewhere between the authoritarian and democratic continuum. His or her strategies and actions varies, depending on where he/she stands between these extremes. The advantage of this ombination is that the leader can maintain the balance between the involvement of employees and leaders – Sometimes reaching a democratic decision can be timeconsuming and not so effective, while a leader can make fast and efficient decisions without consulting the employees. On the other hand, involving employees in the decision- making process actually helps to gain more inputs and raise employee’s motivation. For example, the leader would try to make all decisions by himself or herself, but after defining the parameters, leave it to the team to define possible execution methods and ssigning tasks within them. In this case, the manager of the Customer Service Unit would set up a meeting and suggest a solution for the problems caused by low employee morale, then sit back and let the employees decide on how to implement the solution best. Or, at a higher authoritarian level, the manager would define the solutions and detailed exeucution, but after setting parameters (deadlines and performance standards), will maintain a low level of control or supervision, while letting the employees to have their own freedom to carry out the tasks.