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Supervision Intervention Strategies

Supervision Styles [2.8.2]

What is your supervision style? Rarely does someone’s style reflect only one of the categories described below, but it is helpful to know what style you use frequently. By understanding these leadership styles and their impact, you can become a more flexible supervisor. According to the Web site, the primary leadership styles are:
  • Autocratic/authoritarian
  • Bureaucratic
  • Charismatic
  • Democratic/participative
  • Laissez-faire
  • People-/relationship-oriented
  • Task-oriented
  • Transactional
  • Transformational
  • Situational
The chart below provides a brief overview of the leadership style and impact it may have on staff. More detailed information is available on leadership styles and theories at
Leadership Styles
& Their Impact                                          Traits/beliefs
Autocratic/authoritarian May lead to high turnover and absenteeism
Staff need constant attention since they are undependable and immature; they can not be trusted and must be checked frequently; there are few opportunities for suggestions by staff to be integrated.
May lead to demoralized staff and inflexible organizations
(exception: safety and financial related issues)
Staff must follow strict procedures or exact compliance; high control is usually present and staff have little input to change procedures.
Success/failure is tied to the leader
Leader-driven with energy and enthusiasm but project success depends on leader; may fail if leader withdraws. Leader believes more in self then team.
Increases job satisfaction develops staff skills; motivation is usually high
Staff involved in decisions but leader usually makes the final determination; team feels in control; process may take longer but quality is usually more essential then speed.
Can lead to insufficient control
Staff is given high freedom but leader may need to monitor progress to be effective; best used with experienced and skilled staff.
If carried to extreme confronting staff is avoided
Leader uses a friendship-like relationship and tries to create harmony between staff; best when combined with participative style.
May have flaws of autocratic leadership, motivating and retaining staff is difficult
Leader focuses on getting the task done, flaws similar to autocratic style; roles, structure and plan is defined with little thought to impact of staff and staffs’ well-being may not be the priority.
Transactional Leadership
Job satisfaction is low; seriously limits creative or knowledge-based work
Staff must agree to obey leader; employment/pay means support of leader is a requirement; leader often punishes staff if not successful.
Transformational Leadership
Job satisfaction is high
Staff is inspired and has shared vision; leader is highly visible and uses effective communication and delegation; this leader sees the big picture but needs detailed staff for support.
Situational leadership
Usually effective; responds to the climate required
Manages according to the situation; switches between styles; takes into consideration the skill level and experience of the staff, the work involved and the environment; leader must know when to follow the rules and when to be flexible.
Dr. Hannah Knudsen and colleagues have found similar correlations among counselors at substance abuse treatment centers.[1] Counselors who have greater autonomy in performing their jobs are less likely to want to leave their current positions. For more on the advantages and disadvantages of different leadership styles, see:

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