Leadership Styles and Howell Raines’ Leadership


A leadership style of every organisation depends on the culture, goals, and external factors that surround the organisation. In essence, various companies have managed to meet their ultimate goals by adopting leadership styles that suit their operations. Markedly, some of the styles that are common in different organisations and institutions include laissez-faire, transactional, autocratic, participative, and transformational, among others. These leadership styles bring changes in the organisations’ departments in accordance with the mission and vision of every firm. For this reason, each organisation employs at least one of the leadership styles to enhance competition in the global and unpredictable economy. For example, in an organisation where employees require close supervision, autocratic leadership style would be appropriate to reduce laziness and carelessness among employees (Culpan 12). Equally, the autocratic leadership style ensures that an organisation strikes the target within the shortest period. On the other hand, a participative leadership style would be relevant where there is a need to improve the confidence of workers. This ensures that every employee takes part in any activity within the firm, like decision-making and other activities. This essay seeks to explore the different leadership styles, an observable leadership situation, and how the leadership style is displayed in the world.

Five leadership styles

Participative leadership style

This leadership style is also termed as a democratic leadership style. In this leadership style, every employee in the organisation contributes to the activities of the organisation. In addition, employees feel that their views are of great importance in the organisation because no progress can occur without their consent. An organisation that employs this leadership style is able to deal with the challenges accordingly because different employees provide their opinions on how to solve the problem (Johnson par. 4). This leadership style encourages the smooth running of the companies because of fewer objections in the industry. Some of the organisations that employ this leadership style include political parties and family-owned companies.

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Transactional leadership style

Organisations that use this leadership style give the managers the power of rewarding or punishing the team members depending on the output of each individual. The leaders, together with the team members, set the mission and vision of the organisation and every team member is expected to perform as per the goals of the organisation. According to Johnson (par. 6), employees agree to concur with the norms and rules of the company in the leadership of the top management in order to achieve the set strategic goals and objectives. Finally, the leaders are under the obligations to evaluate the performance of employees to determine their rewards. Notably, when employees fail to meet the target of the organisation, the leaders may decide to punish such personnel. The punishment may be in the form of deduction of the wages or suspension of employees. On the other hand, when an employee shows exemplary performance, the managers provide a reward to boost the morale of the employee. The reward may be in the form of bonuses or gifts that encourage the employee.

Autocratic leadership style

This style gives the administrators the power to arrive at resolutions solely without the contribution of other team members. The managers have the absolute power to exercise their will on employees. In this style, employees have no option but to abide by the existing rules. In this leadership style, employees may change their mode of operations according to the will of the manager. Most of the organisations employ this leadership style because it ensures that the lazy employees perform in accordance with the goals of the organisation. Moreover, the leadership style has been used in various countries (Pope and Blyth 72). However, the style compromises the creativity of employees because they do not contribute to the activities of the organisation. For this reason, it discourages the efforts of employees. The team members have no power to challenge the decision made by the leader

Laissez-Faire leadership style

In laissez-faire style, a leader lacks close supervision with the other team members. This leadership style is applicable to employees with good command of the required skills. Employees are assumed to perform well under less supervision. This leadership style may have limitations because not all employees are skilled enough to handle certain tasks in the organisation. Notably, deficiency in the control of employees may lower the level of production, hence lowering the profit margin of the organisation (Culpan 15). Contrarily, this leadership style gives employees time to perform the assigned duties without unnecessary influence from their leaders.

Transformational leadership style

For a company to meet its set objectives and goals under this style, the manager should possess the required skills for passing the right information to the team members. Adequate communication skills enhance the motivation of team members, thus increasing the productivity in the organisation. In essence, this leadership style is concerned with the achievement of the goals in the organisation. Most leaders exercise this style by allotting the duties of the team members.

Personally observed leadership situation

My personal observable leadership situation is the case of Howell Raines’ style of leadership at the New York Times. The New York Times is one of the companies that experienced and is still experiencing the autocratic leadership in its operations. This was during the reign of Howell Raines. In the early 1970s, A. M. Rosenthal was the famous autocratic leader that was at the helm of the company (Bowen par. 3). However much it is was difficult to work under this autocratic leadership; it was necessary to dictate the operations of the company to meet deadlines of newspaper productions (Sadler 54). The motive of the autocratic leadership was to reduce the level of laziness among the employees in order to deliver the newspapers on time. As a result, there was efficiency and growth in this industry. Similarly, Howell Raines came with a rule referred to as ‘flooding the zone,’ which meant to utilise the resources to achieve the important information in the newspapers. Notably, this leadership style in the company also resulted in charges of imperiousness and heartlessness. The surge of getting things done as required made Raines sardonic, flippant, and scornful to top journalists. In addition, autocratic leadership in the organisation led to the centralisation of the decision-making process. Before he took charge of the company, he refused all the efforts, inputs, and presumed that other employees were lethargic. In the end, he divided the employees into “stars” and “and-also” which led to the emergence of anguish and discord among the journalists (Bowen par. 7). Similarly, the situation led to the demoralisation of the staff. This caused low quality and quantity production of the information in the organisation. Raines was later sacked from the job.

Description and analysis of the observed leadership situation

Howell Raines and A. M. Rosenthal led the New York Times Company in a very ruthless way. The employees were never allowed to contribute to any activity of the company. For instance, decision-making was solely in the hands of the leaders. The leaders brought any change within the company without considering the affairs of the employees. This brought wrangles and misunderstanding among the employees. For instance, the decision made on the reduction of employees’ wages demoralised the entire workforce. From this analysis, it is evident that the leadership of the company led to the low performance of the corporation. The production of the newspapers reduced due to this type of leadership. In the analysis, every company should involve employees in any decision concerning the changes in the organisation (Pope and Blyth 108). This will encourage teamwork, hence motivating employees. For instance, a decision that may reduce the earnings of the employees should be made after considering the opinions of the workers. Other changes that require the inclusion of employees include delegation of duties and changes job designs. Clearly, the leadership of the New York Times Company did not consider the welfare of the employees.


Clearly, different organisations use different leadership styles. In some firms, it may be a combination of two styles. Ultimately, organisations have defined leadership style. Any organisation without a defined leadership style has limited chances of meeting the set goals. Defined leadership style controls and regulates all the resources of the organisation, and ensures that all the activities are geared towards the achievement of the ultimate goals. This paper has explored the autocratic leadership at the New York Times Company. As discussed, all the activities in this company were under the control of the leaders without the consent of the employees.

Works Cited

Bowen, Ronda. A Review of Companies with Autocratic Leadership. 2011. Web.

Culpan, Refik. “Leadership Styles and Human Resource Management.” Journal of European Industrial Training 11.8 (2007): 11-16. Print.

Johnson, Rose. 5 Different Types of Leadership Styles. 2010. Web.

Pope, Sara, and Eileen Blyth. Team Leader Workbook. Amherst, Mass.: HRD, 2008. Print.

Sadler, Philip. Leadership. London: Kogan Page, 2003. Print.

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