After reading this article you will learn about the meaning and styles of managerial leadership.

Meaning of Managerial Leadership:

Effective managing requires leadership. It is seldom possible to segregate the behavioural functions of managership and leadership. It is because every act of influence on a matter of organizational relevance is in some degree an act of leadership.

A manager organises, directs and controls various activities of the enterprise directed towards specific ends. A leader, on the other hand, inspires confidence and trust in his subordinates, gets maximum cooperation from them and guides their activities in organised effort.

Specifically, managerial leadership is behaviour that elicits voluntary follower behaviour beyond that associated with required performance on a job. Leadership is “… the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization”. A manager’s leadership behaviour is what makes the difference between effective and ineffective organizations.


Managerial leadership combines the skills of a manager and the qualities of a leader. The concept of managerial leadership is important because the term itself suggests the necessity of bringing together the managerial and leadership roles for the more effective task perfor­mance, organizational effectiveness and human satisfactions. The managerial leader, then, is generally evaluated on both formal task accomplishment and informal basis of personal and group goal accomplishment.

Style of Managerial Leadership:

While personally favoring the democratic style, some experts acknowledge that managers need to take certain practical consideration into account before deciding how to manage.

It is suggested that a manager should consider three sets of forces before choosing a leadership style:

1. Forces in the manager,


2. Forces in the subordinates, and

3. Forces in the situations.

This approach sees the most effective managers as flexible, able to select leadership behaviours as needed in a given time and place. How a manager will primarily be influenced by his background, knowledge, values and experi­ence (forces in the manager).

For example, a manager who believes that the needs of the individual must come second to the needs of the organization may take a very directive role in his subordinates’ activities. Characteristics (forces) of subordinates also must be considered before managers can choose an appropriate leadership style.


A manager can allow greater participation and freedom when subordinates:

1. Crave independence and freedom of action.

2. Want to have decision-making responsibility.

3. Identify with the organization’s goals.


4. Are knowledgeable and experienced enough to deal with the problem efficiently.

5. Have experience with previous managers that lead them to expect participative manage­ment.

Where these conditions are lacking, managers may have to lean toward the authoritarian style.

Finally, a manager’s choice of leadership style must reckon with such situational forces as:


1. The organization’s preferred style,

2. The specific work group,

3. The nature of the group’s work tasks,

4. The pressures of time, and 


5. Environmental factors which may affect organization members’ attitude toward authority.

Explaining the above:

1. Most managers, for example, will move toward the leadership style favoured by the organiza­tion’s hierarchy.

2. A group that works well may respond more to a free and open atmosphere than to close supervision.


3. If the task requires specialized skill and knowledge possessed only by manager, direct instruc­tions and close supervision may become necessary.

4. In situations where quick decisions are essential, even democratic managers may avert to an authoritative leadership style.

In brief, there may be two styles of Managerial leadership:

1. Boss-centered leadership:

Use of maximum authority by the manager. Too little freedom for subordinates.

2. Subordinate-centered leadership:


Minimum use of authority by the manager. Bigger area of freedom for subordinates to act take decisions and to function within limits defined by Manager.