Scholars and practitioners have described several leadership styles and approaches to effective leadership. It is noteworthy that autocratic leadership is often viewed negatively due to its rather strict control over each team members’ activities, which may negatively affect people’s morale, motivation, and performance (Moss, Sharpley, & Wilson, 2014). Rast, Hogg, and Giessner (2013) argue that autocratic leaders are mainly preferred by unconfident employees who fear to make decisions. My democratic team leader’s inability to manage a project with tight deadlines made me understand the value of the autocratic leadership style.
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The use of the democratic leadership style was the only effective way to lead people as I saw it. However, one event changed my mind on the matter. At the beginning of my career, I dreamt of working with a democratic leader who would appreciate my creativity and hard work. I was happy to work with such a leader on several projects, and our team was really doing great. However, we once received a project with a really tight deadline, which we completely failed due to the abundance of ideas and the lack of authority. Our team leader did not want to or could not make the final decision and choose the direction to move, which led to our team’s failure and low morale for weeks to follow.
It is noteworthy that I was really glad to work in the friendly environment where I could express my views and bring my ideas to life. This initial stage lasted for several months. However, the doubts stage started when I felt that we often discussed too many ideas and approaches. We barely met deadlines, but all our projects were successfully completed. The crisis came when we receive a project with really tight deadlines, and it turned out that we spent too much time discussing and persuading each other. The revelation stage started when the team leader did not use his authority to choose one of the approaches, which resulted in a complete failure of the project.
One of the major reasons for changing my viewpoint on the matter was my exposure to new conditions. I was accustomed to working on long-lasting projects. It has been acknowledged that long-lasting projects’ successful completion is often associated with the use of the democratic leadership style that boosts employees’ creativity and performance (Mohiuddin, 2017; Iqbal, Anwar, & Haider, 2015). I also focused on the process rather than terms, deadlines, and decision-making. The primary effect of the change is associated with my own use of different leadership styles. I take into account peculiarities of the project, as well as each team member, to choose the most appropriate leadership style.
On balance, it is possible to note that one failed project made me change my views concerning leadership. I used to be fixed on the democratic leadership style and never though other approaches (especially autocratic) can be used. However, the event mentioned above made me understand my mistake, as well as reasons behind my being focused on one style. Overall, this experience had a significant impact on me as it made me be more attentive to details as well as take into account all possible aspects of an issue. At present, I try to use different approaches and methods to solve issues and complete projects, which is beneficial for my career as I have become an effective team member and team leader.
Iqbal, N., Anwar, S., & Haider, N. (2015). Effect of leadership style on employee performance. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 5(5), 146-152.
Mohiuddin, Z. A. (2017). Influence of leadership style on employees performance: Evidence from Literatures. Journal of Marketing and Management, 8(1), 18-30.
Moss, S. A., Sharpley, E., & Wilson, S. G. (2014). Authoritarian leaders. Cultivate the followers they deserve: The effect of leadership style on decision making. Journal of Leadership and Management,1(1), 119-125.
Rast, D., Hogg, M., & Giessner, S. (2013). Self-uncertainty and support for autocratic leadership. Self and Identity, 12(6), 635-649.