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Corporate Culture Programme by Change Consultancy


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Title: Corporate Culture Programme by Change Consultancy

Dictators and Democrats Leadership Styles in Work
For as long as humans have organized themselves
into groups and hierarchies, leadership has been
an important skill to develop. Without some kind
of leadership, groups tend to disintegrate into
anarchy, with the main concern being taking what
you can before the system collapses. This aspect
of human nature is almost a given in a failing
Therefore, some guiding hand is needed, both in
politics and the workplace. However, some
leadership styles are dead ends in a rapidly
changing workplace, while other can change and
adapt to new circumstances, reshaping itself to
ensure its survival.
The Autocrat The first system is dictatorship,
or autocracy if you want to be less negative
about it. All decisions come from the leader of
the group, and other members are rarely allowed
to comment or critique these decisions. What
makes autocratic leadership desirable for some is
that its fast and efficient Since theres no
consultation with other members of the group, an
autocrat can roll out decisions
quickly. However, autocratic leadership doesnt
work as well as many think it does, as history
shows us. Most true autocracies collapse under
their own weight whenever the leader dies and the
successor cant fill their predecessors shoes,
such as most of the Eastern Bloc as the USSR
imploded. Autocracies themselves are almost
impossible to maintain over time, as its a
top-heavy system thats destined to fall. Over
time, absolute power concentrated in one
individual is replaced with a slightly fairer
system bureaucracy.
The Bureaucrat Bureaucracies tend to form in
organizations with a large scope and high
accountability, but it can happen in any
workplace. Bureaucratic organizations follow
rules to the letter, rarely make accommodations
for exceptional circumstances and the hierarchy
is strict, if not completely stratified.
Decision making is decidedly utilitarian.
Whatever benefits the organization is the main
focus, which can mean making difficult choices
relating to employees. However, it also means
that these decisions arent as stupid or reckless
as an autocrats decision can be, as consultation
with the affected parties can happen. Where
bureaucracies stumble is that they lack
flexibility they struggle to adapt to changing
times, such as the retirement of senior employees
or technological innovation. Inefficiency is
almost built-in in a bureaucracy, as
decision-making is a slow and lengthy process,
and by the time the decision is settled, the
scenario it was created for has past. Theres
also an abundance of Yes-Men in bureaucracies, as
the opportunity for advancement can be decided
more by loyalty than talent.
The Democrat Democratic organizations have been
around since the ancient Athenian democracy,
perhaps much earlier, but democracy in the
workplace is a rather recent invention. A
democracy puts group consensus as the priority in
any decision, which means compromises should be
common. Most democratic systems still have a
leader, but some work on a non-hierarchical
system, such as co-operatives or communes.
Nevertheless, the main idea is that democracies
place the individuals rights front and center,
so the utilitarianism of a bureaucracy is less
prevalent and everybody gets a say. While this
may seem like a win-win, the consultation
process, by its very nature, takes time. This
means that decisions can be delayed for a
protracted length of time, or just never agreed
upon at all. Cliques can form, where common-sense
decisions can be obstructed out of sheer
spite. In the end, while these three systems of
leadership have their respective flaws, there are
places for all of them. Autocracy works best in
very small groups, or large ones during a crisis,
while bureaucracy and democracy work best in
medium-to-large groups. The key is having an eye
for when each approach works in your
At the Change Consultancy, were excited about
taking new technology, methods and workplace
philosophy to reinvigorate companies and get them
running at maximum efficiency in an age where
company change is fast and confusing.
Contact us The Change Consultancy Ltd., Business
Central Darlington, 2 Union Square, Central
Park, Darlington, DL1 1GL, UK Tel44 (0) 1325
734 846 Email
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