How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Likert's leadership styles
Rensis Likert identified four main styles of leadership, in particular around decision-making and the degree to which people are involved in the decision.
In this style, the leader has a low concern for people and uses such methods as threats and other fear-based methods to achieve conformance. Communication is almost entirely downwards and the psychologically distant concerns of people are ignored.
When the leader adds concern for people to an authoritative position, a 'benevolent dictatorship' is formed. The leader now uses rewards to encourage appropriate performance and listens more to concerns lower down the organization, although what they hear is often rose-tinted, being limited to what their subordinates think that the boss wants to hear. Although there may be some delegation of decisions, almost all major decisions are still made centrally.
The upward flow of information here is still cautious and rose-tinted to some degree, although the leader is making genuine efforts to listen carefully to ideas. Nevertheless, major decisions are still largely centrally made.
At this level, the leader makes maximum use of participative methods, engaging people lower down the organization in decision-making. People across the organization are psychologically closer together and work well together at all levels.
This is a classic 1960s view in that it is still very largely top-down in nature, with the cautious addition collaborative elements towards the Utopian final state.
Likert, R. (1967). The human organization: Its management and value, New York: McGraw-Hill