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Throughout history, many have attempted to gain and hold onto power through various means. At one point in time, it was quite common to claim divine lineage and establish a monarchy in which others were expected to serve you and your descendants until the end of time. Others have acquired power through glory on the battlefield. In modern times, it is rare that such methods are used. Instead the majority of leaders subscribe to a combination of autocratic, laissez-faire and democratic styles.
Autocratic leaders make all of the decisions. They will not ask for the opinions of their subordinates and they are unlikely to be very receptive to excuses. This method of leadership may seem harsh but it can still work in a modern context. On the battlefield, the highest ranking officer is not likely to stop and ask for the opinions of the entire platoon before deciding if they should retreat or charge full force. Similarly, in a disaster, even the most democratic leader may have to make hard choices before a consensus can be reached.
Laissez-faire leaders are on the far end of the spectrum. They let their subordinates do what they want whenever they want to. This also has its place. If the leader is in charge of an artist’s colony or a coding camp, micromanagement may lead to the least favorable result. This may not be the wisest way to lead a nation as anarchy is a very likely result. Still, when the people being considered are skilled in their fields or very creative, it is often better to step back and let them do it without interruption.
The democratic style is most often thought of as best. Often times it is. In this case the leader accepts suggestions and may even seek them out from subordinates although the final power of veto remains with him or her. Subordinates tend to prefer this style of leadership because they get to be heard but the person in charge still needs to know how to lead. Most countries are run under the semblance of democracy but very often the only time when wider society gets a chance to voice their opinions is during elections which are several years apart.
No matter what style of leadership is adopted or the type of organization being considered, there will always be other factors that help determine success. Motivation, for instance, is often crucial.