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In most workplace situations no single style of leadership should be used in isolation

In most workplace situations no single style of leadership should be used in isolation. A good leader will need to adapt and change their style as the situation changes. The three most recognisable leadership styles under Lewin’s leadership styles are autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire.
The factors that influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations are the situation or the task, the team and their maturity as well as the leaders own abilities.
The situation will have great influence over the style of leadership. If the task is working to produce a part on a production line in a factory were set processes need to be followed within a tight timescale an autocratic style would be beneficial whereas a team that are designing the product where a more flexible approach is required would better suit either the participative or laissez-faire style of leadership.
The maturity of a team will also be an important factor in choosing the most suitable leadership style. The Hersey and Blanchard theory on situational leadership identified four levels of maturity M1 through M4. M1 is where an individual or team are lacking the specific skills or willingness needed to complete the task. M2 lacks the skills but has the willingness to complete the task. M3 have the skills needed to complete the task but either don’t think they can or are unwilling to. Finally M4 have the skills, confidence in their abilities and the willingness to complete the task.
Each type of task may involve a different maturity level. An individual with an overall maturity level of M4 might be only an M1 if they are lacking the skills to complete or willingness to complete a specific task.
Autocratic leaders are strict authoritarian leaders independently makes decisions based on the needs task not the team members and make a clear distinction between leader and followers. This style is beneficial where the team are lacking the skills or the willingness to complete the task and need to be micromanaged to achieve the best results.
Participative leaders are more democratic and offer guidance, encouragement and consults on decisions but retain the final say. This style is used when team members have some or most of the skills required but may lack the experience to complete the tasks without the oversight of the leader.
Laissez-faire leaders offer little or no guidance to their team and leave decision making up to team members. This is used when the team is made up of very experienced and highly skilled individuals that have the ability to complete the tasks to their own deadlines. In this style the leader will only be monitoring progress and providing the resources their team requires.