Employee Experience

Direct Leadership Style

4 Mins read


Nowadays, soft skills are just as essential as hard skills. The most essential of the several vital soft skills is leadership. It’s a crucial talent because a competent leader can bring out the finest qualities in his or her team members and encourage them to work together toward a common goal.

There are several types of leadership styles, but direct leadership is the most prevalent. The direct leadership style is one that we frequently see in workplaces and organizations. Further down in this post, you’ll discover a thorough description of the direct leadership style, as well as some advice on how to improve it in your personality along with when and where to apply it.

What is Direct Leadership Style?

direct leadership style

The path-goal hypothesis, established by Martin G. Evans in 1970, underpins the direct leadership style. It is among the four leadership characteristics that establishes clear goals and guidelines for members of the team.

The autocratic style of direct leadership focuses on the high task/low connection. The leader assigns duties to subordinates and instructs them on what, when, where, and how to do certain assignments. From the leader to the following, connection is one-way.

Leaders teach their followers precisely what they should do and how they should accomplish it. In this method, the leader needs to spend less time engaging participative management and more time focusing on goal attainment in employee to employer relationship. Work conduct indicates how committed a leader is with completing the task at hand and guaranteeing that others who follow him do so as well.

Directing as well as formalizing subordinates’ operations, prepping, work schedules, and setting priorities, categorizing positions and socialization processes for followers, encouraging and expressing competence, tracking and checking up on assigned tasks, clarifying expectations, objectives, as well as management styles are all activities associated with directive style of leadership. A leader uses this approach to offer subordinates directions on what and how they should attain their goals, and then oversees them closely.

In other words, the main ideology followed in the direct leadership style is that the job of the leader is directing, supporting, coaching and delegating its subordinates with little to no input from them.

The Importance of Direct Leadership Style

A directed leader establishes clear productivity expectations and communicates the guidelines and restrictions to employees. Being direct assures precision and cuts down on time-consuming errors. As required, benefits can be raised, and role conflict can be reduced.

When a leader’s expertise and skills can be leveraged to build particular frameworks for the others, directive leadership is most successful. Secondly, the directed leadership style places a strong focus on standards and procedures. Employees are required to complete jobs in a specific manner for a myriad of purposes. To guarantee that the work is completed properly, professionally, and on schedule, certain guidelines must be adhered to. Employees who work under a directive leader are also not kept in the dark about their responsibilities. Every project has a clear definition of what everyone’s job is. The commanding leader will lay out clear expectations for everyone to follow.

A directive leadership style is also very straightforward. You take the strategy of asking someone to do something or expecting something to happen as a result of their actions.

These were some of the basic yet most important factors that a direct leadership style can contribute to. When there is only one person dictating the orders, the workflow is easily managed and the results are a whole lot better and fast.

Downside of Direct Leadership Style

While it has many pros, direct leadership style also comes with its own set of drawbacks. Few of these have been discussed below.

The directive leadership style has a hard time dealing with creative tasks. These leaders require a single, well-defined path to completion. The leader then regularly checks the employee’s job to verify that it meets the required performance guidelines. The independence of individuals in creative professions is inevitably hampered by this level of supervision. When a creative project must be finished, this leadership approach is unsuccessful.

This type of leadership puts more pressure on the person in charge. Leaders that employ the directive approach must accept complete accountability for their team’s progress. The leader is liable for the actions, even if others take initiatives. Since no outsourcing is authorized, this leadership style takes more effort than most other leadership styles. This causes the manager to be more stressed, which might lead to various health concerns as well.

When It Is Best to Use Direct Leadership Style?

There are definitely a few circumstances where direct leadership style proves to be more successful in a corporate world. Events such as when a new member joins your team or when the existing ones are inexperienced enough to take up on the responsibilities, when the deadline is approaching and task is yet to completed, when there is less unity among the team members and there are no replacements available.

How to Develop Direct Leadership Style?

what is direct leadership

Supervisors must sometimes intervene to establish rigorous standards for their employees. Team members benefit from directive leadership since they know what is required of them. The stages to become a direction leader are outlined here for you to refer.

  • Jump in and manage when you see your team is discouraged and in demand of help. Leaders that are direct must have the courage to accept complete accountability for setting objectives and laying out a plan for their subordinates to execute. Employees will have a definite route to success if they understand what is required of them.
  • Deliver instructions, oversee your employees, and ensure that you monitor in on a regular basis to ensure general success is being made. Leaders who are directive recognize that their team members require realistic boundaries and appreciate their advice.
  • When utilized effectively, the directive leadership style is based on authority, which encourages growth. To guarantee that you are managing your team with dignity, lead them strongly and give heed to how they react to your instructions.


This article was written to give you an insight on direct leadership style and help you evaluate its pros and cons. While it is widely used in military and similar roles, it has quite a number of advantages in corporate sector as well. We hope this helped you get a clearer view on direct leadership style.

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Editor-in-Chief at Employee Experience Magazine.
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