Why is Commanding Leadership Style Still Abundant?

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Leadership Styles > Best Practices > Why is Commanding Leadership Style Still Abundant?

Why is Commanding Leadership Style Still Abundant?
Chivandi, Lecturer, Zimbabwe, Member
The commanding leadership style demotivates workers. And even if it worsens the employer <> employee relationships, and even if workers will not produce the best results under this type of leadership style, unfortunately it seems this style is still dominating professional institutions. Makes me wonder, why is it still so omnipresent?

What's Behind Commanding Leadership Style
Jose Luis Roces, Professor, Argentina, Premium Member
Behind this leadership style is a mental model focus on control. When the level of consciousness of the manager has developed, a mental model appears focusing on learning, which is better in many situations.
It allows the workers to reach their full potential.

Commanding Leadership Style
Stuart Langridge, Manager, United Kingdom, Member
The commanding leadership style is about managers that are unable to encourage or motivate staff to fulfil their best potential because they have set their own designs on a career path and are reluctant to challenge the processes that are in place.
Empowerment is used as a buzz word, but actually means partial empowerment.
Commanding leaders do not want their staff thinking for themselves, they believe it undermines their position.
However, any forward thinking leader knows that you need to give people "room" to grow and develop. The key is to give staff a safe environment in which the needs of all can be met.

Leadership Style
George Yeh, Consultant, China, Member
It is all about self confidence.

Commanding Leadership and Underlying Fear
Tamara Moore, Management Consultant, United States, Member
Autocrats have underlying fear. By controlling everything in their world (and everyone elses) they falsely believe they are safe.
However real results consistently prove their vice grip on others fails to deliver what they want. This sets up a loop: more control, more hostility in reaction to perceived failure by others.
Control never succeeds. Hostility to improve others never succeeds.
This type of leader needs to work on their own subconscious beliefs and reactionary behaviors. When they resolve their own fears they no longer need to control or rage.
If the culture doesn't respect healthy leadership then their is no motivation for them to change. Period.

Why Commanding Leadership Style
John Spenceley
Controlling managers are not appointed by their subordinates, but by people who are looking for people who can promise delivery.
Those who have the stick their necks out will spend a lot of their time keeping people above them happy rather than helping those working for them motivated. Since they don't know how to motivate or can't be bothered to understand the issue their staff have find it easier to shout. Just like someone in a foreign country trying to communicate in their home language.

Ego, Fear and Keeping Knowledge to Themselves
Glen T. Mashburn, Consultant, United States, Member
There can be a complicated answer to this question. The persistence of "commanding leadership" often has to do with an individual "leader's" ego, the fear of letting go of absolute control or the fear of change.
It is said that knowledge is power. As a result, a great many people in positions of leadership (note that I did not call them leaders) attempt to keep information to themselves. What they fail to realize is that by empowering their employees and sharing information, they actually gain power and respect.
It has become far too costly for businesses to continue this practice. As societies change, so must leadership and management styles. People are often afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation and harassment. Eventually, the organization decays to a point of being out of business.
A real leader will share information and empower his or her employees.

When is a Commanding Leadership Style Required?
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, Premium Member
When would you expect to see a commanding leadership style used? Are leaders properly trained? Or do they just react to situations based on their experience and emotions?
If our leaders of today have learned from the leaders of yesterday, what do you expect of our leaders of tomorrow.
Leaders need to be developed and schooled in a variety of leadership methods and techniques? Is it about letting go, fear and control, or is it about a lack of life-long learning?

Command and Control a Necessary Evil!
Dr. Luis De La Cruz, Professor, United States, Member
Organizational radical changes similar to those in GE during Jack Welch's tenure justify a top down approach as an expression of command and control leadership. According to John Seddon, leaders using a C&C style resist changing their frame of reference when loss of control is at risk when trust to delegate is not yet cemented.
Times of uncertainty keep C&C alive and well! Authoritative leaders ensure reforms and ground recovery in times of upheaval in which there is no time for consensus building. In the absence of a social contract and ubiquitous change how far should the boundaries of delegation and authority be?

When is a Commanding Leadership Style Required?
viv lopila, Canada, Member
When one is not asked to lead, but assumes leadership anywhere, one has many options of leadership style.
Usually the commanding one suites self-imposed leaders.
A chosen one should have passed the test of being able to utilize all the styles available, not be a single piston performer.
All leadership styles should be situationally applied to meet a certain conditions to yield needed or expected results. The situation in this case is more important because it generally invokes the style or approach to utilize the resources to achieve results.
Styles of leadership should be taken as tools. Each one is to be used for a specific intended outcome. Leadership is an independent discipline for independent minds keen to create environments of independent thought.

Reasons for Commanding Leadership Style
kamholtz, United States, Member
This style has its place in management. General para military and military organizations will utilize this method most often.
The problem arrives from the weak leader who relies on it to motivate and get 'positive' results from employees. The employees begin to produce but lose their sense of initiative, personal drives, desire to be involved in the improvement processes for the good of the company (ultimately their own), which becomes mired in fear, bureaucracy and this teds to perpetuate to new hires and to those moving through career ladder.
Power, ego, narcissistic, selfish and emotionally immature people who can only rely on buster and loudness and fear mongering for results. Results are not always negative. The effect of the style is self defeating and costly to the bottom line. It is harmful to employees, in a general way.

Commanding Leadership Style Suggests Certainty to Public
Besides analyzing personal characteristics such as a leader's mental model, I think it is important to have a look at investors' expectations.
Although people like us seem to appreciate more human-centric management styles, investors really don't like uncertainty.
In other words: the urge for control partly stems from the investor's public and not only from the managers themselves.
This paradox is still present in health care as well: we appreciate human friendly doctors, but when treated for a life-threatening disease we prefer a self-confident surgeon when compared to a doctor who is able to demonstrate his doubts.

Why the Commanding Leadership Still Exist..
JACK COOK, Consultant, United States, Member
Command leadership still exists for the same reason the ancients carved idols--fear of the future.
Also a critical mass of workers/people still want someone else to step up and take charge of chaos.
This critical mass is also afraid that if they initiated leadership, they might fail, and have to take the blame.
Until society and its organizations find a way to quash the organizational structure--deflate the pyramid and flatten the hierarchy--we will still create positions for command leaders and hire, vote, coerce, draft people with ego strength to fill those positions.
Meantime we can still teach aspiring leaders that the first step in real leadership is ego regression in the service of others.
Meantime we can proffer the concept of servant leadership to all who would cast their hats in the ring for the chance to lead.
We hope that sowing the seeds of servant leadership will find at least some fertile ground upon which to fall.
Finally, command leadership and servant leadership can coexist.

Command Leader Style is Male Dominated
Garth Nowland-Foreman
It's a male dominated model.
But I think its also a factor of paying leaders too much. If one person gets paid 10-100 times the salary of a front-line worker, then surely they have to contribute so much more than a front-line worker to an organisation's results - and making space for others to lead from below doesn't sound like its worth that kind of money - its the failure the see the value of process.

Commanding Leadership can be Necessary
Dilip Khanal, CEO, Nepal, Member
The commanding leadership might not be bad in many cases. A leader has to lead the team for achieving the goal. Some types of goals demand for commanding leadership.
An organization of rebellious people can not be led towards achieving its goal in a democratic way, at least for the time when they are fighting with a state run force.
Similarly, this type of leadership, despite being portrayed as bad, might be required if the team members expect a leader as a commander.
In my opinion, the mind set of the team members, the goal of the organization and obviously, the situation under which a team has to achieve results may push leaders to adopt commanding leadership.
Lee Quan of Singapore was considered a commanding leader, but praised for the result brought through his leadership. If the result is good, who cares about the style of leadership?

People Without Leadership Skills
Jesper Jensen, Student (MBA), United States, Member
With 14 years of experience as an officer in the air force I have seen my share of commanding leadership styles and have found the people utilizing this style in situations other than for operations are generally insecure and in over their heads.
It takes empathy and personal insight to be able to lead others by motivation and still provide results for the chain above you. If you can't accept that you are "just" managing resources and by maximizing your resources you can both motivate your subordinates and still provide the best result for management then you are unable to achieve both and managers will then tend to focus on what is best for themselves.
In my view there are too many chiefs without the necessary people skills out there, without the ability and knowledge to lead others. The military way of having you rise through the ranks has it drawbacks but one big advantage is that all leaders have been at the bottom of the food chain when they started and knows what it takes to motivate others.

Reasons for Commanding Leadership
Don Jayakody, Consultant, Sri Lanka, Member
Commanding leaders try to hold on to power rather than believing in connecting with and supporting others.

Special Circumstances such as a Crisis
GS RADJOU, CEO, France, Member
In time of crisis people need to have clear directions and leaders with a hand on the running of the organization.
Long-term vision is then not enough - the leader needs to carry these small steps day by day to get to the goal (long-term prospect of the organization). This requires that leaders to be tougher than just visionary.
For example sometimes painful decisions must be made, if they will bring more good than harm on the long run.

Leaders are Role Models
Deb Bynum, Manager, United States, Member
Effective leadership skills come from a combination of experience and education along with the ability to communicate with people. It may sound trite (Ed: ~ like a cliche), but an effective leader role models the behaviors they want to see and leads by example.
Unfortunately, in many organizations, this type of change style is difficult to implement unless the leadership team has a clear vision, direction, and the ability to speak to everyone.

Why Commanding Persona..
jim morse, Project Manager, United States, Member
The leader is accountable and visable..
2nd... Look and understand the nature of "power'... It is essential.. And dangerious...
I am glad we have so many 'good' leaders given stress, responsibilities and consequences of leadership.

Do Nice Guys - and Gals - Really Finish Last?
John Spenceley
Do nice guys finish last, and get paid less?
Some new research has tested this nice guy hypothesis, with somewhat surprising results. A recent study, "Do nice guys-and gals-really finish last," by Beth Livingston of Cornell University, Timothy Judge of the University of Notre Dame in Australia and Charlie Hurst of the University of Western Ontario, which will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, conclude that "Nice guys are getting the shaft" (Ed: ~are taken advantage of, are screwed) in the workplace.
GB Shaw also said that all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Commanding Style Organisation Head
P Bhaskaran, Manager, India, Member
This kind of commanding leadership style will not work for long and will not produce the best results. It deflates peoples motivation and fuels the commanding persons ego thereby makes the commanding leader get a temporary feeling of control. This kind of leadership will be out shortly and will soon fade off. No organization will suffer or endure this kind of autocratic leadership in which productivity of the employees are completely lost.
The commanding boss must have had an history of failure somewhere in his career and is now trying to compensate for it. His mind has an irrational thinking bias that only he is right...
This kind of personality will not even allow others to talk, let alone voice their opinion or ideas. The organisation works in fear and makes lot of errors and has demotivated employees.

Dealing with Commanding Leader Style. Solution
selven, Student (University), Mauritius, Member
I highly believe that commanding leadership styles is still present due to the use of traditional appraisal systems in which managers are typically reviewed by higher levels only.
When you introduce 360 degree feedback, the employees will have the chance to appraise their manager, and the latter will be less powerful and will surely consider his/her subordinates in a fair manner.
This can also build emotional intelligence within managers and create a unitarist atmosphere working as a single team towards a single objective...

Why do Commanding Styles Win Top Jobs
John Spenceley
Just as a stage is designed by sexual selection for battle with sexual rivals and a peacock is designed for seduction, so a manís psychology is designed to do things that put his survival at risk but increase his chances of acquiring or retaining one or more high quality mates. Testosterone itself, the very elixir of masculinity, increases susceptibility to infectious disease. Menís more competitive nature is a consequence of sexual selection. Men have evolved to live dangerously because success in competition or battle used to lead to more or better sexual conquests and more surviving children.
Read Matt Ridley's 'The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature'.
We are what women want us to be, by choosing the dominating and powerful (see the sexual attraction of unattractive powerful / rich men). We are by nature, driven to want to dominate! Those who would rather submerge themselves in technical matters, leave the field clear for those who wish to dominate.

Lack of Humility + Position of Power
Nicolas Stampf, Project Manager, France, Member
For me, it boils down to two things: a lack of humility making a manager believing his idea is right and a position of power that easily and quickly enables to put his idea to work.
And if the idea fails, there's always the option of saying people didn't understand (which is indeed true).

Command and Control is not Leadership
Sven T. Berg, CxO / Board, United States, Member
A 24+ year career in the military has taught me that the ability to command or control (C2) is not leadership. C2, at best, can garner compliance, but when the pressure is removed, so goes compliance. True leadership involves developing shared values that garner commitment to a "noble ideal" that motivates action on its own.
Having just finished the book 'Tribal Leadership' by Logan, King and Fischer-Wright, and I am convinced that reliance upon command is a symptom of a stage three culture.
Persons at stage three are connected to others in a series of dyadic (two-person) relationships characterized by language that expresses "I'm great," and in the background--unstated-- "and you're not." As a result, leaders at stage three resort to C2 because they don't trust. The authors contend that 50% of all organizations operate at state three.
Persons at stage four form structures called triads, in which they build values-based relationships. Their words center on "we're great." C2 doesn't work in this culture.

Commanding Style Leadership is Needed
Radha Raj, India, Member
Whether it is demoralising or not, the fact that this style of leadership is continuing shows that followers require clear guidelines and time frames from the top, so that they can deliver.
Depending on how effective the leader is in understanding the mental make-up of the followers.

Why is Commanding Leadership Style Still So Prevalent?
Kathleen A. Paris, Consultant, United States, Member
The commanding style is much easier, takes less skill than more collaborative, participative styles.
But it's a style most people have seen the most of, especially through schooling.

Commanding Leadership Source of Problems
John Spenceley
Great leaders achieve more than great managers I suspect.
Commanding managers often appoint people who aren't threats and whom they can blame when things go wrong.
Commanding managers are often on the defensive because they do not get the wholehearted collaborative effect of a workforce who buy into their objectives.
I always feel that they achieve less but because their performance is not measured by those above them can get away with it.
Not always true but abrogationist management is often the source of major company and project problems.

No Room for Commanding Leadership in Sweden
edward sevume, Sweden, Member
Very interesting topic and while reading the comments above I realize an ocean of cultural differences in management.
In Sweden, we believe in giving the worker educational tools concerning the task, giving the worker information on the targets to be reached, involving the trade union and other stakeholders to see to it that, while fulfilling the goals of the company, human beings are not maltreated in the stride to achieve goals. Stakeholder interest is disseminated. With this in mind, the workplace is a space where the employer and employee meet on equal grounds to discuss and even improve work safety, motivation, goals etc.
There is little room for commanding leadership as this could alienate the commander, reduce motivation and lead to the destruction of normal work ethics from the side of the employee!
Of course there are instances of commanding leadership where change is necessary but even in this case information is used as way of creating motivation and meaning so employees understand the gist!

Micro Management > Demotivation
Sally Rimmer, Project Manager, United Kingdom, Member
Having recently changed from a manager who knew the value of delegation and allowed the people they were managing to do their jobs, a change to a micro manager has totally demotivated the team. This person is managing to hold back progress, or more correctly, send the department back several years in time.
Managers need to be aware of the business needs and manage the situation and the teams accordingly. Yes there are times when a commanding style may be needed. And if the reasons behind this are explained to everyone, the results can still be positive.

Contingent Micromanagement
Dr. Luis De La Cruz, Professor, United States, Member
Fred Fiedler (1967) argued there is no one best way to lead. A leader is more effective if his or her style matches power position, situation, and context. Fiedler (1967) advanced the Contingency Model to distinguish leaders with either task or relational motivation; under the Least Preferred Co-worker scale (LPC) detailed work tasks require micromanagement (control style), and creative (unstructured) tasks benefit from participative interpersonal management styles.
Under such framework, tense environments associated with micromanagement may imply that members perceived a situation of intermediate favorability as opposed to high or low favorability thus rejecting control. When there is a good leader-member relation, a highly structured task, and high leader position power, the situation is considered a highly favorable situation and low if any component is missing. People's leaders are more effective in situations of intermediate favorability which are distant from micromanagement.

Commanding Leadership and Discipline
Sylvia Grant, Consultant, Australia, Member
Commanding leadership is superfluous in an environment where people practice:
1) Personal discipline,
2) Thought discipline, and
3) Action discipline.
In other words, everyone takes responsibility for what he/she does. It also makes micro-management a thing of the past.
The effort required to achieve this is definitely worthwhile!

The Near Extinct Commanding Leadership Style
Francina Namgongo, Manager, Member
@Sally Rimmer: I have recently observed that the older generation born in the 60s, 50s and 40s are more in favour of the commanding leadership style.
Therefore with the passage of time, I believe that this style will become extinct like the dinosaurs. It is an unnecessary style and brings negativity, demotivating, ill-discipline and resistance among employees, negative work culture, etc.
No offence to the mature managers---this is just my observation and I do not think one will necessarily find it written in text books, but it surely deserves some research to prove my hypothesis wrong or right.
Worse yet, such micro and autocratic managers do not know that they are such and more often because of fear of retribution, employees don't (dare to) tell them.

It Won't Be Extinct
Dilip Khanal, CEO, Nepal, Member
@Francina Namgongo: I was born in 1956, yet I am considered as a very liberal leader among my colleagues.
Your hypothesis needs correction as commanding leadership will be decreasing in situations where subordinates are highly empowered.

Commanding Leadership Style and Birth Dates
edward sevume, Sweden, Member
@francina namgongo: I too was born in the 60ies and I do not believe in a commanding leadership style. The notion that commanding leadership might be due to a certain generation is at best a wide generalization. In my mind, commanding leadership style has to do with the environment, situation and the personal characteristics of the so-called leader. Age or generation could be a contributing factor but that is to generalize a bit. In Sweden where pyramidal structures in administration were broken down long ago, empowerment is the way to go. With education, learning and setting goals plus information to each and everyone, the stakeholders - in this case the workers to to heart the objectives of the enterprise and combine them with their personal objectives et voila, there is a win win situation and positive motivational tendencies.

Leadership Qualities
Sylvia Grant, Consultant, Australia, Member
In my experience the best leaders are those who:
1. Have the confidence to be humble and admit they are only human like everyone else.
2. Have the confidence to delegate in the true sense of the word.
3. Energize rather than enervate.
4. Inspire and motivate rather than suppress and bully.
5. Create an organizational culture based on mutual respect, mutual trust, 360 degrees open & honest communication, and absolutely zero blame culture.
6. Encourage innovation, agile & adaptive work methods.
7. Treat mistakes as an opportunity to solve the problem and learn what not to do.
Those are just the basic essentials.
The fact is that such leaders with those qualities are few and far between. Question: how to turn a manager into such a leader?

Turning Managers Into Leaders
Dilip Khanal, CEO, Nepal, Member
@Sylvia Grant: I fully agree with you on these preferable leadership qualities. In my opinion, we may not be able to cultivate all these qualities in managers at once. However, we can start with cultivating articulating things first. I think this is the basic footstep in leadership. It helps the managers to start thinking from others' perspective and gradually move toward other attributes you spelled out.

Micro Managers Becoming Extinct
Sally Rimmer, Project Manager, United Kingdom, Member
@Francina Namgongo: But I am one of those 'older' managers born in the 60s! Some of us are not such dinosaurs and are receptive to change and happy to move with the times.

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