Leadership and Management Leadership Continuum

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Leadership Continuum Theory

Leadership is considered as an interpersonal process under which an executive seems to guide, direct as well as influence the workings and operations of his/her subordinates with the sole motive to accomplish certain objectives at a particular situation. Recently, in modern management leadership skills are very much required in a manager and is considered as an essential quality. A manager with good leadership quality can motivate his/her employees helping to boost up their efficiency and confidence. In order to get a more detailed understanding, let's discuss more leadership and leadership continuum.

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Leadership Continuum by Tannenbaum and Schmidt

Leadership continuum theory was initially proposed by Tannenbaum and Schmidt in 1958 but later got updated in the year 1973.

The Tannenbaum and Schmidt leadership model was introduced in order to highlight the diverse range of various leadership styles that exist in this world. The inspiration drawn by the action range directly is considered to be from the degree of authority that got exercised by the manager. Such leaders while taking any important decisions take into account the freedom level of workers who seem to be engaged in non-managerial levels.

There is an illustration of various leadership styles in the leadership continuum that are present amongst the two ends of free reign and autocratic. The right side of the leadership continuum is meant for hunting the release of control and power by the managers whereas the left side of the leadership continuum shows the stringent levy of control.

However, the two ends of the leadership continuum either it is the absolute freedom or the authority are not considered as helpful for the organisation. Thus, it is very essential to hit the right chord of harmony between the two extremes for benefits.

Six Forms of Leadership 

A manager seems to get characterized on the basis of control exercised by him/her on the subordinates. This can get classified into these six possibilities:

  • In an autocratic form of leadership, the manager seems to take all the decisions. Further, he/she communicates these decisions to his/her subordinates and orders them to implement it for achieving the objectives of the management.

  • After taking the decision, the manager explains it to the subordinates so as to make them understand the benefits of the particular decision for their acceptance.

  • The manager is also required to share his/her ideas with the subordinates and take their insights regarding those ideas. This will increase their involvement in the company. This practice encourages the employees to work more efficiently.

  • When the manager is taking insights from the subordinates then there might occur some changes in the original idea or decision that got generated by the manager.

  • A manager can ask his/her group to take a decision after giving them an idea about their limits.

  • The last style gives the subordinates full power. Here the manager allows the subordinates to take every decision without any limits

Factors a Manager Should Keep in Mind While Taking Decisions

A manager is responsible for making different decisions to manage various situations in the organization. The success of the organisation depends upon the decision taken by the manager. Thus, it shows how much Important is the power that got bestowed on the hands of the manager. Therefore before making any decision, the manager should consider some factors thus, ensuring that the decision is perfect and appropriate for the organisation. Some of these factors that are needed to be considered while taking decisions are:-

The Force of Subordinates

The main factor that the manager has to consider is the forces of subordinates because they are the person whom the manager is about to guide. A good leader always understands his/her subordinates. The things that are considered before taking any decision are tolerance level of the subordinates toward ambiguity, the need of independence by the subordinates, the problems of subordinates that they are facing continuously, their desire to take different decisions, organisational goals and their expectations from the manager.

The Forces in the Manager

Under this factor, the manager's value system gets included along with the confidence level of the subordinates, leadership inclinations and ambiguity tolerance.

The Forces in the Situation

Under this factor, general and environmental situations come into account. These situations include the nature of organizational problems, the pressure of time, various organizations, the effectiveness of the group, etc.


Tannenbaum and Schmidt concluded their leadership continuum theory by stating that leaders shift their behaviours according to the organisational metrics of a particular situation. They also need to change their behaviour according to their subordinates and different environmental factors.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. List out 6 leadership skills

  • Decisiveness- A leader in order to be effective and efficient need to take decisions quickly without any delays by using the limited information he/she had initially. Effective decision making is the result of time and years of experience.

  • Integrity- A person in order to become a good leader is required to be honest and truthful. He/she needs to stand for the things that he/she believes is right. Integrity helps a manager in making ethical decisions for maintaining a positive image of the company.

  • Relationship Building- A good leader is required to have the ability to maintain a strong group who cooperate with each other.

2. What are the functions of a leader?

The functions of leaders are:

  • They are responsible to formulate a plan which will drive the workforce towards achieving the organisational goals

  • He/she makes sure that the plan is getting executed properly without any deviations

  • A leader is responsible for managing unwanted situations by taking quick and rapid decisions

  • A leader should always encourage his/her subordinates to work in a group so that the objectives can be achieved faster.

  • A leader always tries to motivate his/her employees to become more efficient and better by involving them more in different decisions.

  • They work as intermediates between top management and subordinates.