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Leadership Techniques

There are three types of leadership technique- authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire.Under the authoritarian technique the leader determines the policy procedures and activities in the group. Under the democratic technique the leader encourages participation by members in deciding group matters and behaves in a friendly helpful manner to the members giving technical assistance and suggesting alternative procedures. In the laissez-faire technique the leader allows complete freedom for decisions and activity keeping his own initiative and suggestions to a minimum.

Authoritarian leadership induced greater dependency on the leader, marked inter-member irritability and aggressiveness, low frequencies of suggestions for group action and group policy, dissatisfaction group activities and high quantity but low quality of productivity. Under laissez-faire leadership the group showed little dependency on the leader. Democratic leadership also produced low dependency on the leader. There is no denying the fact that the democratic technique is a human relation approach which is in keeping with democratic values. It increases independence for all group members and hence increases their morale. But it cannot be applied fully. The advantage of democratic leadership depends upon the demands of the situation, the distribution of skills within the group and the group's expectations as well as other factors. Gibb notes it is common in our culture at the present time to place negative values on authoritarian leadership. Much of this attitude seems to be due to a prolonged period of ideological opposition to cultures authoritarian organized.

The tendency is to think of authoritarianism in its most extreme form of headship and denounce all forms of individual authority over others. Studies of group action reveal that in certain circumstances authoritarian leadership is highly valued. Under certain situations an authoritarian form of leadership may be more effective. Such situations may of those where the group is faced with a need for emergency action. The leadership techniques have to be related to the attitudes of the membership to the particular form of relation among the members including the leader and functions as a part of the group structure. These are to be reality oriented. Gibb writes it is important that we recognize authoritarianism and democracy as poles of a continuum neither of which is wholly good or wholly bad, but which represent extremes of variable leadership techniques that should be adapted to all the elements of the situation, culture, personality, content, structural, inter-relations and task.


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