McConnell describes leadership in terms of patterns that exist along a continuum from harsh and dominating to easy and highly supportive. Specifically, leadership patterns include exploitative autocracy, benevolent autocracy, bureaucracy, consultative leadership, and participative leadership. Exploitative autocracy is just as it sounds; this type of leader uses their followers for personal gain and does so through intimidation while making decisions without discussion. Benevolent autocracy exists when the leader possesses complete control but does so with a kind-hearted and gentle approach, believing that the leader knows what is best for the group. A bureaucratic leader leads through a total emphasis on policies and procedures. This type of leader will create new policies as issues arise to provide absolute routine and structure. Consultative leaders seek input from their followers but maintain the right to make all final decisions. Finally participative leadership exists when the leader shares decision-making authority with the group and serves only in an advisory type of capacity. Leadership Classifications Another way to understand leadership is through several classifications, like the patterns above. These classifications include autocratic, bureaucratic, and democratic classifications. Autocratic leaders are sometimes referred to as authoritarian leaders. Leaders that fall into this category make all decisions without seeking the input of the group they lead. Employees are managed through a system of incentives and penalties. Khan et al. indicate the positive attributes of the autocratic classification is that followers know exactly what is expected of them, and there is a high degree of discipline.
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