Which leadership style is the best?

Tough or soft as butter – Which leadership style is the best?

More freedom and autonomy in the job, the desire many workers and suffer under the tutelage and control of their superiors. “Govern” Many executives here namely after the principle of authority, to monitor and control every step of their employees. And then there’s the counterpart: Modern, innovative thinking executives with a democratic leadership concept. But can this work or it is not dangerous, let go of control again? We see the two extremes today even more closely.

On the theory of leadership styles

Between the two extremes there are of course numerous other leadership styles and mixed forms. Kurt Lewin , a pioneer of today’s social psychology, for example, talked of the three guiding concepts authoritarian, cooperative and laissez-faire leadership style.

The sociologist Max Weber added the autocratic, patriarchal, charismatic and bureaucratic management style. There are also theories of directional leadership style by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton or group-based management style by Horst-Joachim Rahn.

You see, leadership styles are a complex issue, with which you should work intensively as a leader. The basic question that should make every executive at the beginning of her career but is: Which leadership style is better? Tough and authoritarian or soft and democratic?

What ever means “leadership”?

By definition, “management style” a typical behavior of superiors towards their employees and an individual way of motivating groups or individual subordinates.

Even if you have therefore not deliberately chosen as an executive for one of the theoretical approaches, you have your own style of leadership. This will depend on your personality, your expectations, needs, skills, your dealing with emotions and even out your values and much more.

So you automatically play a role, to deal with the expectations and demands placed on you. But what role does that mean? Or better: What would that be in the best case?

What to expect employees of a “good” leader?

A study published in Statista survey deals with this very issue. Respondents of the so-called “Generation Y”, so the vintages from 1980 to 1999, thought therefore that a good leader should motivate and encourage employees. 41 percent said even that they want a management style in which the manager relies on the knowledge and skills of employees.


Full control? When Generation Y that is not desirable. But as always in life, there are also in the leadership styles always both advantages and disadvantages.

The authoritarian leadership style

Who leads his staff with authority and complete control, of course, retains always an optimum overview. In emergency situations you can react quickly and have to accept no authority struggles.

They give clear instructions, may delegate tasks specifically and check the results at any time. Opposition by the employees is rather rare in this style of leadership. This saves time and resources.

The motivation of “subordinates”then results but rather out of respect or even fear, than from true identification with the tasks or the company. Orders, fines or even the loss of jobs – such motivation of fear constitutes an employee under stress. This increases the short-term employee performance, which is why many executives initially set to the authoritarian style of leadership and look forward to the rapid success. However, this increase in output can never keep permanently.

On the contrary: With the increased stress levels among employees usually happen in the long term increases more mistakes and the disease rate. In addition, an increased staff turnover will soon be noted.Because once you are honest: The principle “command and obedience” is most enjoyable for only one side, namely those which are the commands.

Motivation is the alpha and omega

The biggest problem that comes with the authoritarian style of leadership, which is the lack of motivation. If the employee only execute commands, they become a kind of “machine” reduced.

And yet just your own thoughts, experiences, ideas and input of employees for the company are particularly valuable. People are finally always smarter than single individuals in the crowd – the so-called swarm intelligence. And this is to be used deliberately in the so-called democratic leadership style.

The democratic leadership style

When democratic, or cooperative, management style specifically great emphasis on the independence of the employees viz. As a manager, you rely on their skills, get their ideas into the everyday work with a lead and conscious discussions on an objective basis.

The aim is to encourage the employees and to train as independent workers. Errors are therefore not punished, but seen as an opportunity to improve. In a democratically run companies, employees identify more with their work, are characterized more motivated, happier and more willing to perform long-term healthier.

The guide results here not out of fear but out of work at eye level and a deeper sense struts. This benefits not only the working atmosphere in the company, but also the quality of work increases and a continuous improvement process is possible at all.

Warning: Democratically is not laissez-faire

But the democratic leadership style naturally brings not only advantages: the fact that all employees are involved in the decision-making processes, they are significantly slowed. Possibly loses the executives of assertiveness, is taken less seriously and discipline of the staff leaves much to be desired.

Furthermore, there is a danger that you will not find as executives the optimal balance of authority and democracy, but rather slide into the laissez-faire management style, in which the leader is no longer really present as such.Not every employee can deal with too many freedoms.

Who then are the “right leadership”?

A “True” or “False” does not exist in principle, the issue of leadership styles. However, experts believe that in the long term can not be an employee by pure facts and figures motivate.

You need a sense of meaning in their work, fun and a perspective. Positive emotions are what cause your employees to permanent peak performance. The more the employees identify with a company, the longer they will work there and the better their performance will be.

Therefore, the democratic approach is better suited for this purpose. He builds the motivation to psychological and emotional base on, not on rational motives.

In change and crisis situations, however, quick decisions and clear instructions are important. At this point, therefore you should turn to pick up the authoritarian style of leadership. Likewise, routine tasks or projects under time pressure.

In creative work processes or for very complex projects, however, where no complete monitoring longer possible, you have to resort to a more democratic style of leadership again. You see: What leadership over the final “best” is, depends on several factors: the type of activity, the levels of the hierarchy, the current business situation, your personality and more.

So how about making yourself for the for you most appropriate leadership style and stick to it, despite its disadvantages. Finally fact, is nothing worse than an unpredictable and fickle executives.

Which leadership style you have chosen? Or how you experience as an employee / in your / n supervisors / n? So What do you think is the “better” management style: democratic or authoritarian?