Formal leadership: characteristics, advantages and disadvantages

Much of his or her success or failure in a business or team has to do with leadership. This element can cause a set of people who previously could not coordinate their work to achieve a goal, to come and function in almost total harmony.

In this article we will discuss the main characteristics of formal leadership, One of the most common types of leadership.

    What is formal leadership?

    Formal leadership is based on a leader who has been elected through a procedure where it is clear that he has the power to act as a leader over a group of people. There can be leaders in various contexts, such as politics, sports, academia, etc. …

    Formal leaders should have certain personality traits that make it easier for them to manage groups, but this is not always the case.

    So that someone can be considered a formal leader it is a condition that their leadership has not been obtained spontaneously; if this is the case, we would be in the presence of an informal leader, who is nothing more than this subject who plays the role of leader within a social group without any procedure granting him this position. .

      The benefits of this type of leadership

      This is a brief summary of the benefits formal leadership brings to businesses and teams.

      1. Power assigned from outside

      This allows the official leader to easily control his team members as the these must obey not because they necessarily like to do so, but because it is their duty do it. This benefit is especially useful when team members are unfamiliar with a topic that the natural leader is an expert on.

      2. It is based on a practical leader

      Since formal leaders in general have come to this position because of their knowledge and not their ability to please people, they find it easier to give orders and take whatever action they feel is necessary for the best performance of their teamDo not see your opinion greatly affected by emotions or personal relationships.

      3. Greater efficiency in achieving specific objectives

      Groups that have the figure of a formal leader in their ranks tend to achieve a fairly good level of efficiency, thanks to the very high degree of control that the formal leader exercises over his subordinates.

      its disadvantages

      All is not positive; formal leadership also has several drawbacks.

      1. Level of employee demotivation

      Usually, people are not overly motivated when they are forced to do something they don’t like. This usually happens in teams with the official leader.

      2. Communication problems

      Speaking the same language does not guarantee clear comprehension. The way things are communicated is also important. It is common for the official leader to communicate his wishes in a somewhat dry manner, which can lead to conflict in getting his message well received.

      3. Increased likelihood of hostile treatment

      Although it is not an exact science, there is a greater likelihood of tyranny in work teams based on formal leadership. Perhaps this is because one who acts as a formal leader focuses more on the power of the account and loses sight of the collective purpose, then waits for their team members to pay homage to them.

      Differences from natural leadership

      The antagonistic term for formal leadership is natural leadership. And this happens when a subject succeeds in exercising the functions of a leader within a certain group of people. without needing to have obtained a place by a prior procedure and without the need for an established chain of command.

      The natural leader uses his virtue for interpersonal relationships, it is only on the basis of his personality traits that he makes others follow him and see him as an authority.

      Natural leaders need to be more empathetic than their counterparts since the team follows him for his charisma and not necessarily for the place he occupies. While the role of natural leader may be more appreciated, it should not be as effective as that of official leader, given the significant differences in team performance. At best, it may happen that the one who exercises as a formal leader also does so as a natural leader; this scenario would be ideal for any member of a work team.

      Characteristics of a formal leader

      Below, we will look at the typical behaviors of leaders who adopt formal leadership.

      1. Recognition of their role

      The intrinsic characteristic that characterizes formal leaders is that their control over the group has been established externally. In this way, they are part of the explicit hierarchy of the environment in which they develop. It is common for formal leaders to come to this place based on their academic achievements and experience.

      2. Control over the group

      The role of formal leader involves ease of command, knowing that the person in that role of leader can give direct orders to his subordinates, ** without needing to gain his affection **.

      3. Chain of command

      This means that for the figure of the formal leader to exist, there must be a pecking order that is responsible for differentiating the different ranks within the environment.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Nye, JC (2011). The qualities of the leader. Barcelona: Paidós.
      • Schultz, DP Schultz, Sydney E. (2010). Psychology and Work Today: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. p. 171.

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