In today’s post, our leadership and management specialist assessor shares their thoughts on the command and control style of leadership. Is this leadership method outdated? Let’s find out!

Management Theories of the Early 20th Century 

If asked if the command and control style of leadership is outdated, many experts would say yes. In order to run a successful team and organisation, you need to have a style of leadership that can change. Command and control styles of leadership often refer to those of the early 20th century. At this time Henri Fayol defined management as:

“To manage is to forecast and plan, to organise, to command, to coordinate and control”

Henri Fayol sets out 14 Management Principles which are useful to know. But in today’s ever-changing environment perhaps some of these principles are not relevant to all management decisions.

We can also look at Frederick William Taylors Theory, another theorist that was around the time of Fayol. He introduced his key management principles, his key focus was performance. He believed in job matching to create efficiency. This would ensure employees worked their hardest to earn the best wages. He even went as far as simplifying job roles to aid productivity.

If asked if the command and control style of leadership is outdated, many experts would say yes. But in order to run a successful team and organisation, you need to have a style of leadership that can change.

Alongside this, he also believed that managers should be supervising their employees by providing instructions and guidance in regards to the best working methods. In other words, control and command was also the centre of this theory around management. But what we are forgetting is that these theories were established in industries such as engineering and steel works. How can this have an impact or influence over other industries especially in today’s society and environment?

Command and Control Leadership in Today’s Society

It could be argued that they do have some relevance and we can take into account the principles surrounding these theories.  But a manager also needs to be able to use different leadership styles to accommodate the situation around them. In today’s environment managers need to be agile. As we know the environment is ever-changing and sometimes we cannot predict what is around us.

It is also interesting to note that we have gone from management theories to leadership theories interchangeably. Is there a difference between both? Are we either a Manager or a leader? Or can we be both? There is a difference. Management is the focus on this control and command style of management and being an autocratic manager. A leader looks upon their team and gives them the freedom to make decisions with the guidance of the manager. It is advisable to adopt both leadership and management traits in order to be successful.

If asked if the command and control style of leadership is outdated, many experts would say yes. But in order to run a successful team and organisation, you need to have a style of leadership that can change.

In times of quick decision making, we need to have our manager thinking cap on. If a scenario allows, we can involve our teams more, making us a leader. For example, if you are a manager on a Monday morning this might involve making business decisions in regards to budgets, purchasing decisions and management of staff. During a shift on a business Saturday night, you might be more of a leader, helping out and being part of the team.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these command and control leadership styles are outdated in today’s society. But we can take the basic principles and still use them when we need to. As managers, we need to be flexible to ensure that we can sustain the organisations that we work in. Customer behaviours are changing rapidly, and we need to adapt to that quickly.

 If you found this post useful why not check out our previous post to find out your leadership style!

An Introduction to Leadership and Management Part 2: What’s your Leadership Style?