Challenges of Command and Control Leadership Research Paper

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Leadership and Change

Leadership is defined as the ability of an individual to influence and guide his or her followers. Therefore, the leader is required to make sound decisions, create and articulate a clear vision, establish goals that are achievable, and provide the followers with the necessary knowledge and tools for them to achieve goals. There are different leadership styles that leaders follow or adhere to. The most common of them being the command and control leadership style. While it might be the most common leadership style in use today, that does not mean that it is the most effective style of leadership. This kind of leadership style has its roots in the military. In the command and control leadership style, the leader is always in command and they are also in control of the employees. According to Smith et al. (2016) the command and control leadership style is authoritative and makes use of standards, procedures, and output statistics in order to regulate the organization. The leader is authoritative in nature and this fits well in bureaucratic organizations where privilege and power are vested with the senior management (Woods, 2016). With this leadership style, there is a clear distinction between the employees and the management.

Problems of Command and Control Leadership

While there are many books and articles that have been written criticizing the effectiveness of the command and control leadership style it is surprising that there are still numerous organizations that have maintained this type of leadership. The major reason for this is that leaders are not aware of other better ways for leading the employees. This leadership style stifles creativity and limits the flexibility of the employees, which means the employees operate like robots and they only follow the commands of their leaders. Employees are rarely treated with respect and dignity and this is a demotivator (Black and La Venture, 2018). When employees are not respected, they tend to leave the organization for an organization where they will be respected. Therefore, the organization will keep losing employees and the costs of hiring and training new employees become exorbitant. Results are the main goals for this leadership style. The managers are mainly interested in the results and they do not care so much about the people and the vision of the organization. While it is effective in delivering results, employees are not considered and there is no emotional connection between the management and the employee (Smith et al., 2016). This makes it hard for employees to offer ideas to the management, even if the ideas lead to increased productivity for the organization. Command and control established power and control over people. While this sounds like a good idea because one does not want people’s behavior to go out of control. However, this is not the best way to lead employees. The idea that leaders know what is best is outdated and the best leaders are now the ones who admit to not knowing everything. Therefore, there should always be room for change if a leader is to be effective in his or her work.

Employees are constrained and they are limited in terms of engagement and commitment. Employees are not able to fully engage with their work with the command and control leadership style. This is because the leader has already set out the employee’s responsibilities and roles and the employee follow the leader (Black and La Venture, 2018). Communication is inhibited since the leader is not willing to listen to suggestions from the employees. This makes the communication to be one way and it is hard for employees to communicate with the leader. Hierarchy and authority take precedence and the leader controls all the employee does without care of the impact it has on the employees. In case of an issue during the performance of work, employees are not allowed to steer away from the course, they should maintain it until the leader suggests changes. This can be counterproductive in the manufacturing sector, where a problem can result in huge problems down the line.

There are different organizations and each organization has its own challenges. The command and control leadership style is irrelevant in situations where the organization is dealing with complex conditions. This is because there is no simple solution to the problem and there is a need for interaction between the management and the employees. Complex challenges require collaboration and without this collaboration, the organization will not be able to find solutions to the problems. Therefore, the command and control leadership style will be ineffective in delivering the required outcomes for the organization.

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This kind of leadership might have worked in the industrial revolution, but it cannot work in the current knowledge economy. There is a need for ideas in order for companies to outshine and outsmart their rivals. Any leadership style that limits and prevents employee ideas will not lead to optimal results for Organizations have to be innovative for them to stay in business and this is only possible by giving employees the opportunity to share their ideas. It has been posited that it is not that managers are not aware of the other leadership styles that might be helpful for the organization, it is only that they are afraid of losing control. Today, business leaders are exposed to numerous management theories and best practices. Therefore, any organization that still holds on to this leadership style is doing that for the managers own best interests. Embracing the contemporary leadership styles like the people-centered approach will allow a manager to relinquish control to the employees.

People-Centered Leadership Approach

Leadership is a chance to direct human behavior in creativity and productivity areas. There are only two ways for a leader to influence human behavior, one can either inspire it or manipulate it. It is for this reason that the best leaders have been established to be the ones who inspire their followers. The people-centered leadership approach views…

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…is pushing for change, instead of involving the employees, they will mostly prefer to bark orders and commands, which will lead to employees fighting the change. Change is always towards the desired outcome (Avolio et al., 2016), therefore, for change to be effective, both leader and follower must have a shared purpose that motivates them both to achieve the desired outcome. A leader who is not able to influence his or her employees to come together around a common vision will not be able to achieve the desired change.

In the current business environment, open communication is vital for any organization. Leaders who are strong communicators have the ability to express to the employees the change process and clear up any questions that employees might have. Change brings about a lot of uncertainty and it is vital that a leader is able to communicate the change process and expected outcomes as clearly as possible to the employees. Keeping the employees informed will allow them to express their concerns and ask questions for clarity. Change is an undesired thing in most instances, however, with proper communication employees will embrace change and the organization will succeed in implementing the proposed changes. A strong leader will see employees as strategic partners in the change process and not as employees only. This way the leader can provide the employees with the information they need regarding the change and the change process. Involving the employees ensures that they are aware of what is happening and they can also voice their concern openly. A leader should not try to stamp out the problems they had perceived with the change process (Woods, 2016). Instead, they should see the problems as gifts that should be embraced and course correction should be undertaken. Attempting to eradicate the problems would be what a command and control leader would attempt to do so that their rigid plan can continue unhindered.


Leadership is not about leading and commanding followers. Leadership is about influencing and guiding followers. A leader who is able to guide their followers will not only achieve their desired objective but will also have motivated the followers to follow in his or her footsteps. In the dynamic business world of today, it is vital that a leader is able to embrace change and communicate the change process articulately to his/her followers. This way the organization will manage change and have a successful change process. The popularity of the command and control leadership approach does not mean that it is an effective leadership style. Its popularity could be due to managers who are unwilling to relinquish control to their followers. A manager who feels they will lose their autonomy when they allow their followers to share ideas and lead will certainly lose the followers to a better more accommodative leader. In order for change to become effective, a leader should be willing to maintain open communication and seek solutions for any challenges that they might face along the….....

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AVOLIO, B. J., KENG-HIGHBERGER, F. T., SCHAUBROECK, J., TREVINO, L. K. & KOZLOWSKI, S. W. How Follower Attributes Affect Ratings of Ethical and Transformational Leadership. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2016. Academy of Management Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510, 16854.

BLACK, J. & LA VENTURE, K. 2018. The Human Factor to Profitability: Leveraging People-Centered Cultures as Meaningful Organizations. Public Integrity, 20, 444-458.

MAIER, T., TAVANTI, M., BOMBARD, P., GENTILE, M. & BRADFORD, B. 2015. Millennial generation perceptions of value-centered leadership principles. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 14, 382-397.

SMITH, T. D., ELDRIDGE, F. & DEJOY, D. M. 2016. Safety-specific transformational and passive leadership influences on firefighter safety climate perceptions and safety behavior outcomes. Safety science, 86, 92-97.

WOODS, P. A. 2016. Authority, power and distributed leadership. Management in Education, 30, 155-160.

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