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Engineering Leadership Styles:
Tailoring to the Occasion

Essentials Leadership and Management for Engineers


There are a number of leadership styles which we will see in a moment. However, the reality is leaders will probably switch between styles depending on the situation, the nature of the team and the tasks that need to be undertaken. That said, leaders may have one natural preferred style they may revert to. The three commonest leadership styles (Source: Kurt Lewin) are as follows:


Engineering Leadership Styles: The Boss...

Autocratic Leadership

Decisive leadership is where decisions are taken quickly and centrally by one person. Decisions come across as instructions for others to complete in order to achieve an overall aim. Common in the military, autocratic leadership delivers results quickly but relies on the leaders having a clear idea of what they want to achieve at the outset, as well as the team trusting the leader without question. Little or no consultation takes place with the team with this style.


Engineering Leadership Styles: All-Inclusive...

Democratic Leadership

This style of leadership relies on the team been consulted and their opinions being valued. The leader may choose to request input from team members as he/she respects their technical expertise, and requires it to make the best possible decision. Democratic leadership can be a challenge when there are strong personalities in the group. Here the leader needs to make it clear they will take the ultimate decision. That said, this leadership style is inclusive in its nature and as such, most likely to carry the team through challenging times, as the majority will have agreed the course of action.


Engineering Leadership Styles: Chilled-out...

Laissez-faire Leadership

This leadership style is far more laid back, often applied when the team is very capable, well-motivated and organised. It is sometimes regarded as more covert, with the leader steering the group from within. Less interference and reduced direct instruction is typical with this leadership style. However this should not be mistaken for the leader demonstrating a lack of interest.

Engineering Leadership Styles

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Engineering and Safety Consultant 
A great engineering leader uses the autocratic and the democratic style depending on the situation. He always plan before acting. He has the emotional, …

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