Business Studies Paper on Approaches to Supervisory Leadership

Approaches to Supervisory Leadership

Leadership is a vital element in the success of any organization. Over the past several decades, the need for leaders to have profound leadership skills has become a significant requirement (Northouse, 2010). One particularly essential form of leadership is supervisory leadership. There are different approaches to supervisory leadership as described below

  • Autocratic leadership: This approach entails the supervisor making all the decisions devoid of input from the other members. The authority and decisions of the supervisor are unchallenged (Edwin C. Leonard & Kelly A. Trusty, 2015). Autocratic leadership is mostly applied when employee require close supervision and are irresponsible. In essence, it is a vital approach when supervising employees that are unwilling to work or offer resistance.
  • Bureaucratic leadership: This approach emphasizes following procedures and protocols while also adhering to the traditional methods of doing things. This approach calls for control and solves everything through control (Martindale, 2011). Bureaucratic leadership is feasible when governing many people or employees at an extended area. It is significant when supervising a big area where you cannot access at the same time, employees know what to do and when to do it.
  • General leadership: This particular approach to supervisory leadership entails governing people utilizing any approach that fits a certain situation. It is usually diverse entailing the other styles (Edwin C. Leonard & Kelly A. Trusty, 2015). For instance, this can be used in a scenario where there are diverse employees with different backgrounds.
  • Participative leadership: A form of leadership that mirrors democracy in that calls for contribution of every member in any activity especially decisions making with the leader having the final say. Participative leadership values each member’s contribution. It is usually applicable in situations where employees have low morale to boost it and built confidence.
  • Directive leadership: Usually, this leadership approach entails the supervisor telling the workers what to do and how to go on about it. Somewhat similar to autocratic approach, it entails the supervisor creating tasks, assignments and procedures then assigning them. It usually applicable when one is dealing with workers who are not specialized and risk facing uncertainty(Martindale, 2011).

All these leadership approaches are beneficial in their own way and in different contexts. They all indicate the different approaches a supervisor can adopt to deal with different situations as they evolve. Nevertheless, one particular approach that I could use in a supervisory role is the participative approach to leadership. Although the other forms are important, participative leadership seems the most suitable.

As a supervisor, you are sometimes faced with difficult situations that require much pondering and will also affect the people you are supervising. In such instances, it is always vital to practice participative leadership and encourage the members to contribute on how to face this particular challenge. In such cases, the supervisor can always make the final decision from a pool of ideas that would not have been in existent or would have taken more time to create in the absence of the other members’ contribution. As mentioned above, it is also vital for morale boost, by allowing employees to contribute to the decisions that are being made, the employees feel their opinions matter thus boosting their morale and their productivity. Using the participative form of leadership in practical terms indicates how effective this role can be. For instance, I have used this approach to leadership as a supervisor or a leader of a study group in school. A study group comprising of 15 individuals; and by allowing all these members to contribute cohesion is created and it also allows the freedom for expression as long as it is for the benefit of the whole group. As such, as a supervisor I would embrace participative leadership style more than the others.




Edwin C. Leonard & Kelly A. Trusty. (2015). Supervision: Concepts and Practices of Management. New York: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Martindale, N. (2011). Leadership Styles: How to handle the different personas. Strategic Communication Management, 15(8) 32-35.

Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice. New York: Sage.