Business organizations and leaders adopt management styles based on their goals, type of organization, and the nature of the employees. A good leader should be able to discern the most effective leadership style to adopt in their organization to achieve the desired goals. Leadership styles have a significant impact on the overall performance of the employees and determine their engagement to an organization objective (Somech & Wenderow, 2006). A directive management style is one of the leadership approaches that a leader can choose to use to guide the employees towards achieving the organizational goals. In the directive management approach, the leader directs the subordinates to complete their tasks, and it is useful in an organization situation where functions are not specialized where employees need constant guidance (Anita, Jasmina, & Ljupco, 2017). The directive management style plays an essential role in eradicating uncertainty within an organization and ensuring that employees are engaged to tasks that contribute to the achievement of the set objectives. Directive leadership is commonly used today mainly because it is responsibility oriented and the leader can be in charge of the task deadlines and the quality of the outcomes (Buble, Juras, & Matic, 2014).
This paper aims at establishing the features of the directive leadership style, situations where it is applicable and how it compare to other leadership styles that are used by contemporary leaders. The paper will seek to elaborate further on why the directive management style requires unskilled employees and constant involvement of the leader in the employee activities using the path-goal theory. The paper will also establish the benefits and shortcomings of the directive leadership style and how managers can be able to exploit the style to achieve organization goals fully.
Features of Directive Management Style
Directive leadership style is a management behavior that is characterized by setting clear objectives for the employees. The leadership style is based on the premise that the conduct rules emanate from the manager and the expectations of the leader must be clearly understood by the subordinates. The model is applicable if applied in unskilled or semi-skilled subordinates towards completing complex tasks (Somech & Wenderow, 2006). In the highly skilled manager and subordinate relationship, the model is not applicable and could significantly hamper any progress due to the conflict between the experienced subordinate approach to tasks and the manager directives. The directive leadership style calls for high control of the employees, and it is motivated by the need to ensure high discipline towards meeting the set objectives. The model is highly applicable and efficient in the time of crisis and when deviations from the planned course to complete organization tasks is risky (Somech & Wenderow, 2006). The directive leadership model is difficult to implement today in organizations where learning and innovation is necessary because there is high micromanaging which limits learning or innovation.
The Applicability of Directive Leadership in Contemporary Organizations
Directive Management Helps Leaders to Meet Organization Objectives
Every leader operates using a plan to meet the organizational objectives which can be difficult to achieve in the cases where the manager has minimal influence in the learning and activities of the organization. Most contemporary organizations are driven by objectives such as to increase the wealth of the shareholders, to retain market leadership and even to gain a competitive advantage. Organizations that give the employees the freedom to manage how they want to work and also the activities that they want to accomplish within a particular given time find it challenging to meet the organization goals (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). Leadership and motivation coexist, and directive management style ensures that the employee's attention is only towards achieving the set organization objectives. As such, contemporary organizations use the directive management style to be able to align the organization activities to the established goals and objectives. Leaders who use directive management style have a high chance of success towards achieving the set organization goals compared to leadership methods that give the employees greater freedom to choose what to do, how to do it, and when to do the organization tasks (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). Directive leadership style has been associated with strategic and sustainable leadership which enable the managers to make decisions and pursue them by instructing the subordinates on what is needed to be done (Buble et al., 2014). Strategic businesses are objective oriented organizations where it is critical to ensure that there is no deviation from the set goals and direction to be followed. The control and a single source of decisions and instructions guarantee that a strategy can be implemented by an organization based on the preference of the manager.
Directive Leadership Increases Manager Control
Modern business organizations operate in a very competitive environment which requires an organization to be able to perform well to remain competitive continuously. Retaining control in an organization especially in a competitive environment ensures sustainability and the ability of an organization to consistently maintain good results (Belas, 2013). This is one of the reasons why many leaders opt to use directive management style to be in control of every aspect of the organization and to prevent anything from going wrong. Leaders are at ease when they are in control of every aspect of the organization and can prevent the misuse of resources as well as promote proper use of resources through directed performance. When leaders retain control, they are sure to meet the organization set objectives by directing and aligning the activities of an organization to the set goals (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). The ability of the directive managers to retain control of the overall decision making and direction to be followed by subordinates eliminates objective based conflicts between the leaders and the subordinates who are key in ensuring that the overall results desired by the leader are achieved. Retaining control plays a significant role in disciplining the employees which have been noted to be a source of high productivity (Belas, 2013). High disciplined employees are easier to control and increases their engagement to the organization core objectives which increases the overall outcomes. Besides, the directive leadership helps organizations to sustain certain standards and qualities of their products and processes due to the ability of the leadership to retain control of the subordinates.
Directive Management Style Reduces Overall Risk
The directive leadership style is effective where organizations seek to reduce risk and promote uniformity in the outcomes. In most technical projects and activities that require a detailed plan and adherence to instructions the directive leadership model is applicable and reduces the risk of deviating from the plan (Radomska, 2015). The directive management style requires a strong leadership where the leader can be able to articulate the expectations and specific guidance which reduces the risks of human error. Work plans and the regulations around work are all provided by the leader which ensure a tight control to prevent the possibility of faulty products and inconsistent outcomes. Technical work environments such as industries are mostly suited to implement the directive leadership style because it ensures high accuracy in completion of tasks and the quality of the outcomes (Radomska, 2015). In organization situations where there is high unpredictability, the directive management style is not applicable because it is inflexible and cannot allow the subordinates to make changes or decisions to suit the prevailing conditions.
Directive Leadership Style Increases Constructive Flexibility
Flexibility within an organization is significant for the overall success of the organization especially in a highly dynamic business environment and consumer market. Businesses that use the directive management style have greater flexibility because the management retains control of the organization activities and processes to complete tasks (Somech & Wenderow, 2006). High flexibility of an organization being directed by the management increases the ability to change and adapt to the prevailing organization and market environment compared to the inflexible organizations which use horizontally based organization decision making which require long consultation before the final decision can be agreed upon (Anita et al., 2017). In the directive management style, decisions can quickly be made and implemented within an organization because instructions are top down without the necessity to consult the subordinates pertaining to the decision.
Path-Goal Theory and Directive Management Style
The path-goal theory can be used to understand the directive management style. The theory holds that a leader in an organization has the responsibility of setting the work goals for the subordinates and creating a path through which the goals will be achieved (Polston-Murdoch, 2013). The path-goal basic concepts such as understanding the tasks of the manager within an organization can help understand the directive leadership style. The path-goal theory holds that the manager is responsible for the clarification of the employee's roles and responsibilities within the organization activity chain (Polston-Murdoch, 2013). The leader within an organization has the responsibility of clarifying the criteria for success and also coaching and guiding employees to achieve the set organizational goals. The theory supposes that leaders should be able to change their styles in accordance to the prevailing circumstances and the directive leadership is one of the tools that a manager can use based on the path-goal theory (Polston-Murdoch, 2013). The path-goal theory can help understand the directive management style because it is based on the theory primary concept of a goal based direction and decision of the manager on how the goal is to be achieved. If the goal is to increase production, the manager has a responsibility in the directive leadership style to instruct the employees to work overtime to increase capacity (Somech & Wenderow, 2006). The details of how to improve the production are all in the hands of the leader, and the responsibility of the subordinates are the implementation of the decisions that the leader makes without questioning.
Benefits of Directive Management Style
Directive Management Style Promotes Consistency and Adaptability
Consistency is vital in creating an organizational culture and reputation for service organizations by ensuring that the employees consistently carry themselves in a manner that meets the organization goals in the process of producing goods or interacting with the consumers. In this case, a directive management style is an excellent approach to ensuring employee consistency to develop a unique culture or product quality (Somech & Wenderow, 2006). This is possible because the style emphasizes the adherence of the goals set by the leader as well as the direction that the manager deems more appropriate to accomplish the business objectives. Regarding adaptability, the contemporary business environment is not static but keeps on changing from time to time, and the ability of the leader to direct the direction where the organization should go based on the prevailing market environment makes the leadership style very useful in i...
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