Leadership models are approaches structured to provide effective guidance and decision-making expertise within an organisation. Each person has a different style of leadership depending on the situation and task at hand, the nature of the team she is working with and her individual capabilities. An organisation's success depends largely on the style of leadership it adapts. Each model or style of leadership has its own advantages and disadvantages; therefore when choosing a style of leadership for your company you need to weigh the pros and cons of each model
Participative or democratic leadership allows room for employees to voice their views on certain company decisions. This type of leadership results in creative thinking when it comes to complex decision making, as various ideas are combined to come up with a more holistic idea. Consulting employees in decision-making exercises creates a constructive relationship between the leadership body of an organisation and its staff. The staff often feels more valuable to the organisation, which can result in increased potentiality.
A downside of participative leadership is that the decision making-process may at times be too long and expensive, at the expense of the organisation. Collection of responses from various departments in the organisation also serves as a disadvantage to the company when a quick and critical decision needs to be made.
When working with an unskilled labour force, autocratic leadership delivers the best results. Some situations demand quick thinking and decision making. When faced with such situations, autocratic or authoritative leadership offers room for effective results, as a leader does not need to consult with any other party.
A problem with autocratic leadership is that it may result in uncreative thinking if those in charge lack creativity and innovation as a quality. An "out-of-the-box" way of thinking is difficult to come by in this type of leadership. Leaders dictate what is done and when it is done, diminishing the employee's ability for creative thinking. Another downside of this type of leadership is that communication is one way: from the leader to his subordinates, which creates an "us versus them" mentality among employees.
Delegative leadership allows for more work to be done in a shorter period of time. As a leader, you need to carry out a number of tasks in a day. Using a "divide and conquer" approach when handling your tasks, through delegation of duties to qualified employees, makes things run a lot more smoothly.
Delegative leadership, however, is bound to incur several mistakes if the staff is underqualified or unmotivated. Unmotivated employees often lack commitment and interest to effectively carry out their tasks
Situational leadership allows the leader to change his style of leadership depending on the circumstances. It involves aspects of most, if not all, of the other models of leadership. When the situation or decision to be made calls for the leader to consult with his staff, he takes up participative and delegative leadership for effective decision making. In the event where he has to make a critical decision on a highly sensitive issue, he takes up autocratic leadership for effective decision making. This style may, however, lead to ineffective decisions when the leader's judgment on a set of factors surrounding a particular situation contains flaws. A leader may conclude that a certain scenario requires delegative or participative leadership while it may need authoritative leadership. In cases where a leader does not trust or believe in his employees, he may choose to use authoritative leadership where it is not necessary.