Effective Leadership: Switching Between Dominance and Prestige

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Effective Leadership: Switching Between Dominance and Prestige
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
The leadership styles Dominance and Prestige are fundamental strategies used by (potential) leaders to find their ways through organizational hierarchies:
  • Leading through Dominance refers to the act of being assertive, leverage one’s power/authority as a means to influence others. This type of leadership gives little room for followers to have a choice between following or not following the leader.
  • Leading through Prestige refers to a style in which wisdom and expertise, through being a role model, stimulate followers to follow. Instead of leading mainly through showing power, prestige allows others to be influential but they pull the strings from behind. This in turn means that leadership through prestige represents a more negotiable leadership style compared to dominance.
When asking the question what leadership style is best, the answer is that neither style is necessarily better than the other. Rather, it depends on the situation. Although it is not possible to point to one of the two leadership styles as being the best one, there are several competences that effective leaders must master:
- As philosopher Machiavelli wrote: “People are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear”. The best leaders are able to understand both concepts. In other words, an understanding of BOTH leadership styles is essential.
- The ability to ANALYZE the situation, DETERMINE what leadership style is most effective and then DEPLOY the most effective leadership style.
- Effective leadership also requires the ability to SWITCH BACK AND FORTH between dominance and prestige, depending on the culture of an organization and the tasks that need to be done. Being able to utilize both styles helps leaders to quickly adjust to different situations and cultures.
⇒ To what extent do you agree that this mix of dominance and prestige is needed to be an effective leader?
Source: Maner, J. (2016) “Good Bosses Switch Between Two Leadership Styles” Harvard Business Review

Direct and Democratic Leadership
Lupton-Bowers Pamela, Premium Member
I still like the oldie but goody Tannebaum Schmidt model of leadership styles from Autocratic to Democratic (or rather Facilitative).
I work in the humanitarian and response sector and there are clearly times when direct leadership is required - in times of high risk, security issues and expedience in time and result.
There are many times in the routine work where a manager does well to consult with her team to get input, ideas and for them to question her decision; there are times when a leader needs to inspire and excite people around a strategic direction, and there are clearly times when people need to be consulted and engaged in processes that impact the long term sustainability of them individually, of the team or organisation.
The challenge is not only to RECOGNISE the appropriate style for the circumstance, but to be able to FLEX your skills to excercise that leadership. I find this continuum of styles creates the most 'Ah Ah' moments for participants in leadership workshops.



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