Why should anyone be led by you ?

Today’s corporate world demands more leaders in an organisation than managers. The organisation and its people want to be lead by an able leader who has a clear vision and mission. A leader is always associated with encouraging and motivating its subordinates so they can do work more willingly. “It is a relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people” (Mullins, 2013:369). Leadership as describes by Kurt Lewin is basically of three types. He categorizes leadership into three different styles based on the way a leader handles his employees (Cherry, 2012).

On a personal level, I believe that no particular leadership style is completely correct or wrong. Each one has its own set of advantages and limitations. In fact leadership styles also depend upon the situation of the task and the types of employees and teams associated with it. Most people agree that participative or democratic leadership is the best one. In spite of many good elements attached to it, it still has some drawbacks such as indecisiveness and time consumption (Anderson, 2011). Likewise authoritative or autocratic leadership which is generally perceived as a negative one does has its own side of benefits. Authoritative leadership does help in making quick decisions and stays in total control of the leader.

My vision of leadership is a mixed blend of both the authoritative and democratic leadership. A good leader is one who can change his way of direction based upon the situation and the workforce. Democratic consensus can be beneficial for business ethics but at the same time staying firm and rigid as an authoritative leader is also necessary.

Chanda Kochhar who happens to be the CEO and managing director of ICICI bank, India is my role model in terms of effective leadership. Leading the largest private bank of India in a male dominant society and steering away the bank from financial crisis is her biggest achievement. “She is the bank’s first female CEO overseeing some $93 billion in assets and 3,100 branches in 19 countries.” (Forbes, 2013).

Chanda Kochhar exhibits both democratic and authoritative leadership. She pays regular visits to the bank’s different branches unannounced and talks to various employees, trying to understand the issues and how to resolve them. She believes in constant feedback and improvement. She also lays a great emphasis on developing leadership. She further insists that “Every leader has certain great qualities, and every leader has some things that need to be worked on.” (Chandler, 2012). Being appointed as the CEO in 2009 during the peak of financial crisis, she had to take some strategic authoritative decisions. As an authoritative leader, she boldly faced the criticism of “Transactional errors which was previously presumed to be money laundering. This helped in slowly regaining the customer trust which was relevant for the bank’s growth” (Forbes, 2013)

My colleagues consider me to have a democratic style of leadership. This happened on several occasions during the seminars held in my MBA program at the university. I believe in mutual consensus of the team as I value the team most. This practice helps to develop a bond between the team members which is the most valued asset of a team. The results achieved as a consequence tend to last long. I first learned about my leadership qualities during the preparation of a debate. Upon taking Belbin’s team role test, I further discovered that I was an implementer. This further goes in sync with the democratic style of leadership. This type of leadership is equally valued in the investment banking sector wherein there is a constant interaction with the client and the team mates.

I would like to develop some authoritative leadership skills as well as I progress through my MBA. This would counter the limitations that arise due to the democratic style of leadership. I observed during the preparation of my debate that my group was slow in getting straight to the decisions which was eventually consuming time as well. This can be sorted out by applying an authoritative style. However too much practicing of authoritative leadership could also hamper the progress of the team as the ideas of one individual could not be forcefully imposed on others.

As said, an effective leadership could be a mix blend of both the authoritative and a democratic style of leadership. This helps in cutting down the conflicts and boosting the productivity of an individual or an organisation. I particularly like the leadership style of Chanda Kochhar who is a best example of this scenario.


Mullins, L.J. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour, 10th edition, Harlow: Pearson Education.

Anderson, P. (2011) Advanatages and disadvantages of democratic leadership styles, 12 Feb, [Online], Available: http://www.insidebusiness360.com/index.php/advanatages-and-disadvantages-of-democratic-leadership-styles-6070/ [2014].

Chandler, C. (2012) Leading in the 21st century: An interview with Chanda Kochhar, Sept, [Online], Available: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/an_interview_with_chanda_kochhar [2014].

Cherry, K. (2012) Lewin’s Leadership Styles, [Online], Available: http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/a/leadstyles.htm [2014].

Forbes (2013) Power Women, [Online], Available: http://www.forbes.com/profile/chanda-kochhar/ [2014].




10 thoughts on “Why should anyone be led by you ?

  1. A really thought provoking article! Indeed, a mix blend of both the authoritative and democratic leadership needs to be exhibited by a good leader. I have experienced this, in my role as the President of an organization. I would say, a successful leader is one who carefully listens to what the team members have to say, and does what is ethically right.

  2. Thanks for your thought Moeed. I feel that a mix blend of both the authoritative and democratic leadership coupled with the ethical way of leading results in a good leader. Being the president of an organisation, can you throw some light on your experiences of being a leader ?

    • Being the President, I am the spokesperson for organization. I communicate with the executive board of the parent organization and relay the information to my officers. I oversee the budget and the expenses of the organization and my approval is required before the funds are utilized. I have to work with my officers as a team, paying careful attention to their point of view. I cannot boss over them as otherwise they would consider me to be a tyrant or a dictator. I value everyone’s opinion and weigh all the options. Based on all the factors, I make an informed choice.

      • Thank you for throwing some light on your duties as the President of the organisation. I can make out form your view that you value the democratic style more than the authoritative. In fact the reason furnished above is one of the major limitations of authoritative leadership styles.

        Don’t you feel the need of incorporating some authoritative leadership traits as well ? Has playing down the democratic leadership always helped you ?

  3. Thank you Fauzia. Self motivation and positivity is very essential as part of proper leadership. Self motivation gives the confidence to practice good business ethics as well.

  4. Hi Muneeb! you mentioned that “you observed during debate that your group was slow in decision making process, which you think can be improved by inducing authoritative style of leadership within your group”.
    As this style constitutes sensitivity, so would like to know the formulation of steps you will apply?

  5. Thank You!!! As said in the blog, leadership style according to me should be a balanced approach of both the democratic and authoritative styles. I would have used the authoritative style when the democratic style fails. This depends on the scenarios faced by us.

  6. Great read!
    The best part of this article which was appealing to me is the contrast between authoritative and democratic style of ownership, the writer penned the example really well and gave independent view on the subject matter. Having worked under a multicultural organization for more than 2 years, I can confess that different leadership styles has different result in different circumstances.

    I want to find out what the writer thinks about the gender behavior and how it affects leaders. Are female leaders better off applying authoritative or democratic style?

    Many thanks

  7. Thank you Khan. A leader who changes the leadership style as per the scenario contributes in better results. According to me, gender makes no difference in leadership whatsoever. One has to be a good leader and that is what matters the most. We do have few ladies at the helm of power in corporate and political dimensions and they are on par with their male counterparts in terms of strategic decisions.

    In my opinion, gender behavior does not play much in determining a good leader. Female leaders can be both authoritative and democratic as per the needs of the organisation. Chanda Kochhar, Indira Nooyi (CEO PEPSICO) are among the best examples to illustrate this.

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