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Effective Leadership Styles

            An important element of studying group behaviors is examining different leadership styles. Leadership styles refer to a leader's characteristic behaviors when directing, motivating, and managing groups of people. In order for leadership to be effective there must be communication and understanding between the leader and its followers (Forbes 2013). Although there may be many variations of leadership styles, sociologists have narrowed it down to three prominent leadership types (Maconinis, Gerber 2014 p159). Firstly, Authoritarian leadership focuses on instrumental concerns, takes personal charge of decision-making, and demands that group members obey orders (Maconinis, Gerber 2014 p159). The leader dictates policies and procedures, and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by members of said group. This leadership style involves absolute control over a group. A second identifiable leadership style is Democratic leadership. This leadership style is more expressive and makes a point of including everyone in the decision making process (Maconinis, Gerber 2014 p159). Democratic leadership involves the redistribution of power and authority. Researchers have found that this is the most effective leadership type as it encourages participants to make better contributions. Laissez-faire leadership, which is French for leave it alone, allows the group to function more or less on its own (Maconinis, Gerber 2014 p159). This leadership style is typically the least effective in promoting group goals. (Maconinis, Gerber 2014 p159). In 1939, a study was conducted in which school children were assigned to one of three groups. The children were led in an arts and crafts project where researchers observed the behaviors of children and their response to the three leadership styles. This experiment is known as Lewins experiment. In this essay we will examine these three leadership styles and prove which is more effective.

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