Leadership style denotes the actions and behaviors exhibited by leaders in order to attain desired outcomes. In some instances, the leadership style adopted by a company's executive is influenced by the organization, its philosophy and history. Leadership style can also be influenced by the previous experiences and personal characteristics, which are likely to make the leader inclined towards a particular style of leadership (Bonnici, 2011). There is an agreement that no leadership style is superior. Effective leaders must be able to adjust their leadership style in accordance with the particular situation.
Autocratic style of leadership is characterized by the individual in charge exercising total control and authority with respect to decision-making (Jenkins, 2012). Autocratic leadership emphasizes discipline, organization and control. This leadership style is suitable for the organizations, whereby control and precision are critical success factors. In such organizations, rigid rules and heavy oversight are required to get things done, and this task can only be achieved by using autocratic leadership. In other words, autocratic leadership is suitable for the organizations characterized by tight and rigid constraints, policies and procedures. Such organizations make use of stringent controls and are often reluctant to change. In such firms, autocratic leadership is most suitable, because the nature of work demands extremely centralized control with the leader having responsibility of providing detailed instructions. Autocratic leadership is best suited for manufacturing, military and construction organizations (Jenkins, 2012).
The free-rein leadership style is characterized by the employees having the liberty to make decisions on their own with respect to the accomplishment of particular tasks. The leader can develop a few goals, but employees have the liberty to decide the methods of achieving these aims. In such arrangement, the leader is minimally involved in the activities of his/her followers, but can offer help when needed (Jenkins, 2012). Google uses the free-rein leadership style, because the management system in the company is based on the principle of communicating the organization's vision to employees and then giving them the freedom to implement the vision. As a result, Google does not get in the way of its employees. Another reason why Google uses the free-rein leadership style is the company's belief in empowering its employees and inspiring them to develop and implement innovative ideas. In this regard, Google focuses on recruiting top talent who can demonstrate their creativity. In addition, the free-rein leadership style is used at Google, because the company espouses the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest, whereby the ideas of the employees are evaluated based on merits. In such work environment, only a free-rein leadership style can yield positive results (Vecchio, 2007).
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Regardless of the different leadership styles, successful leaders have a number of similarities. The first similarity among efficacious leaders is the fact that they are visionaries. Successful leaders usually have a vision for the future, which is explained to others with clarity and in an understandable and motivating manner (Jenkins, 2012). Secondly, successful leaders are confident when making decisions and communicating. Successful leaders are also decisive. In this respect, leaders in any position have the basic duty of making decisions. Therefore, successful leaders exhibit decisiveness in difficult circumstances. Successful leaders also inspire action by explaining the vision in order to motivate people to do what is required to achieve the vision. Other similarities among successful leaders include integrity, optimism, creativity, intuition and commitment (Bonnici, 2011).
In conclusion, autocratic leadership style is suitable for the organizations that have rigid structures and require oversight and control to get tasks completed, such as in manufacturing, military and construction organizations. Google makes use of the free-rein leadership, because the company believes in communicating the organization's vision to employees and then giving them the freedom to implement the vision. Google empowers its employees and inspires them to develop and implement innovative ideas. Lastly, the similarities exhibited by successful leaders regardless of their leadership style include vision, confidence, inspiration, integrity, commitment, intuition, creativity and optimism.