Organizational productivity is pivotal in a challenging business market. Businesses strive to be at the top and capture as much market share as possible in order to sustain in such a competitive environment. Hence, business leaders are pushed to the very edge of their strategic management to maintain the growth and move further. In light of this pressure, employees are expected to outperform to their best so as to contribute to business survival and growth.
With such expectations and pressure, appropriate leadership style is essential. There are 3 main types that govern the styles managers practice: Autocratic, Democratic and Transformational. Autocratic managers tend to use command approach and directives towards the task. Democratic managers use a participative and collective approach, and Transformational use a delegation approach which includes identifying, selecting and transforming future capable leaders. All these styles have their own strengths and drawbacks.
Stress is known to be negative. Stress leads to psychological, physical and behavioral threats for the individual, group as well as the organization. As much as we acknowledge stress in our lives, be it either in the family or in the workplace, it is unconditional and could happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, in any circumstances. The consequences of stress affect productivity and performance.
A new study shows that a manager can use the 3 types of leadership styles in different situations. Firstly, Autocratic leadership style can be applied to new employees (with no working/industrial experience). This is the most suitable style to direct employees to learn and apply themselves to the assigned task. Democratic leadership style can be applied to experienced employees (with a wealth of industrial experience). These employees could contribute creative ideas, collaborate and develop great teamwork. Finally, Transformational leadership can be applied with the mission of delegating tasks to qualified employees. This approach will assist the managers with lessening their job scope and start focusing on other crucial managerial duties. By delegating tasks, newly developed managers would take the lead creatively. Using different styles in different contexts may help managers overcome negative stress.
Negative stress of middle managers and frontline employees can be perceived as positive in the context of the three different leadership styles discussed above. When employees are faced with Autocratic leadership style managers, stress can be overcome by looking at it as an opportunity to learn and develop oneself. As for Democratic managers, employees need to intentionally push forward to volunteer and contribute ideas for growth. By doing so, the employees will have the opportunity to be inclusive and obtain recognition in the organization. Reporting to Transformational managers, employees can be given an extra advantage to climb the corporate ladder faster than usual. Taking on extra challenges will lead to a situation where employees are tested based on their capabilities and be in line to tackle higher roles. This is more suitable for employees who are ambitious and goal oriented.
In conclusion, linking these 3 types of leadership styles in managing stress will not only benefit subordinates but also managers at every level in the organization.
Author: Catherine Muthu, lecturer at LIGS University