Leadership Styles & Conflict Management Styles of Executives

By Limbare, Sameer | Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, July 2012 | Go to article overview
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Leadership Styles & Conflict Management Styles of Executives

Limbare, Sameer, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations


Leadership has been defined as interpersonal influence exerted in a situation and directed using communication system towards the attainment of specific goals. It is basically the ability to form and mould attitudes and behavior of other individuals. It is the process of influencing others to mobilize and direct their efforts towards specific goals and attain these goals through them. It should be noted that a formal head of a department may not necessarily be an effective leader and that there would be an informal leader who may exert more influence on the workers than the formal leader. Despite the differences, the task of managerial leader is to get things done through people by motivating them. This can be achieved effectively by using human relations, techniques involving understanding of human factors, communication processes, interpersonal and intergroup behavior and organizational dynamics.

Leadership Styles

In the present study the leadership styles undertaken for the research are the ones proposed by Reddin (1970) who developed a manager behavior model consisting of eight styles, which are:

Deserter leadership style is uninvolved and passive.

Missionary style of leader is primarily interested in harmony.

Autocrat leadership style shows no confidence in others, feels unpleasant, and is interested only in the immediate job at hand. These leaders direct orders to their associates and usually keep decisions and controls to themselves because they have assumed full responsibility for decision making.

Compromiser style leader is a poor decision maker who is over influenced by the pressures of work, who minimizes immediate pressures and problems.

Bureaucrat is primarily interested in rules and procedures for their own sake. They want to maintain and control situations by their conscientious enforcements.

Developer leadership style trusts people, and is concerned with developing them as individuals. This style assumes that individual members of a group who take part personally in the decision-making process will have greater commitment to the objectives and goals of the organization.

Benevolent Autocrat knows what he wants from the people, situations and how to get things completed in his way without causing resentment.

Executive is a good motivator who sets high standards, treats everyone differently, and prefers team management.

Conflict Management Styles

Avoidance styles of conflict management aims at preventing or postponing conflicts in a variety of ways. There are four main avoidance styles studied here:

i) Resignation is an extreme avoidance style adopted in helpless situations.

ii) Wedrawal style is used to get away from the conflict situation.

iii) Defusion style buys time for dealing with the conflict.

iv) Appeasement style buys temporary peace and agrees some of the demands of the out-group, not because it is convinced about them but because it wants to postpone the conflict.

Approach Styles of Conflict Management

Approach modes or styles may take more aggressive or understanding forms by taking positive steps to confront conflict and find solution. There are four approach modes or styles:

i) Confrontation is applied to fight out an issue to get a solution in one's favor, and is often adopted by management or trade union. The confrontation may involve coercion and is likely to fail in reaching a solution.

ii) Compromise is the process of sharing the gain without resolving the conflict. This may be done by bargaining.

iii) In Arbitration a third party is sought to assess the situation and provide a solution acceptable to both the parties.

iv) Negotiation style is used for jointly confronting the problem and exploring its solutions.

Review of Leadership

McGregor (1957) gave two types of leadership styles, Theory X and Theory Y.

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