More international articles
☛ Want the latest procurement and supply chain news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the Supply Management Daily
December 2011 | Angeline Albert
Although many buyers think democracy is the best leadership
style, a significant number believe
applying different approaches – such as laissez-faire, bureaucratic or
autocratic – are appropriate on occasion.
That was the view of procurement professionals responding to
the latest SM100 poll, which asked them: “Which leadership style do you think works best in
When given the option of choosing between autocratic,
bureaucratic, democratic and laissez-faire, 60 per cent opted for democratic.
Some 35 per cent said a mixture of all four styles was required, depending on
the situation; 3 per cent said a mixture of bureaucratic and democratic; 1 per
cent said autocratic and democratic; and 1 per cent said bureaucratic.
Henfrey at supply chain consultancy Crimson
& Co, said: “I
think it is predominantly democratic. Seeking opinions is the best way to
engage stakeholders and create strong category teams.”
Chris Graves, head of procurement services at public sector purchasing
consortium YPO, said: “There are times when even a ‘democratic’ leader must be
autocratic to achieve results; a laissez-faire approach will give colleagues the room to develop by taking
their own risks; and on areas of compliance, bureaucracy must be employed to
ensure conformance to statutory regulations.
challenge is recognising the situation and applying the correct style at that
time. The most frustrating thing is, therefore, leaders who only have one style
or who employ an inappropriate style for that situation.”
purchaser from the defence industry, who did not wish to be named, said
democratic leadership needed to be balanced with good direction and called for a little
bit of the “autocratic to ensure that internal stakeholders comply with
buyers said leadership within procurement had moved from being autocratic to
more democratic, which reflected the strategic role that procurement now plays
in most organisations.