Formal versus Informal Leadership24th October 2022 0 By indiafreenotes
Formal leadership is a circumstance in which an individual is the officially recognized head of a group or organization. This type of leadership relates to a job title, so it’s the professional responsibility of formal leaders to motivate their juniors and take charge of the factors that may lead to the success of the organization, such as resource allocation and decision-making.
The CEO of a corporation is an example of a formal leader. They’re responsible for directing all resources and operations and making decisions that lead the company to profitability. Also, as the highest-ranking executive of the organization, they officially have more authority than others within the company.
Informal leadership is when an individual does not have official status as a group’s leader, but other group members see them as and consider them to be a leading force. Informal leaders tend to be experienced and knowledgeable, so they’re the ones people seek for answers and guidance. Often, they’ve earned the status of informal leader by developing strong relationships with the people around them and proving themselves, through actions, to be reliable and trustworthy.
An example of an informal leader is a colleague who’s well known for their intelligence, wisdom and interpersonal qualities. This person isn’t necessarily a high-ranking member of the organization, but others respect them and typically go to them for advice and knowledge about procedures. In meetings, they might frequently offer actionable insights that lead to the resolution of problems. If they provide instruction, others often heed it willingly.
Authority of Formal Leadership
When you assign a leadership role to an individual, that person has decision-making authority. You expect employees to respect the position as much as the person who holds it. Formal leaders have the ability to help or hinder their subordinates’ career progress through performance reviews, recommendations to management and disciplinary action. Overall, formal leadership has a top-down feel. That is, the leader is at the top of an implied or explicit hierarchy.
Authority of Informal Leadership
An informal leadership style relies on camaraderie and shared self-interest. The informal leader motivates employees by pointing out the fate all employees will share if they work to reach a goal. This type of leader has the types of leadership traits that allow them to listen to all points of view before making decisions and gains respect from followers through a demonstration of reasoning ability and positive results, according to Tough Nickel.
Communication from formal leaders tends to take the form of directives the leader expects employees to follow. Under this style of leadership, employees are seldom included in the process that leads up to the decision. After the decision is made and delivered, employees may have an opportunity to ask questions and offer opinions, but their input won’t change the decision. Informal leadership, however, involves employees in the decision-making process. Employees may offer ideas and suggestions for solving the problem, though the leader may make the ultimate decision. The sense under informal leadership is that employees can affect decision-making.
Formal leaders tend to have boss/employee relationships. The hierarchy that exists in formal settings implies that in any disagreement with the leader, the leader’s view will prevail. Employees operate under formal leadership with the assumption that the leader is concerned about the company and may view employee desires as counter to what would benefit the operation. Informal leaders welcome disagreement and though such a leader may have authority to ignore opposition, this seldom happens, according to Leadership Inspirations. Informal leaders usually persuade the opposition to see the bigger picture and at least understand the reason the leader sticks with a point of view.
Advice vs. Approval
Under formal leadership, employees tend to seek approval from the leader. With informal leaders, employees often seek advice. The formal leader tends to judge employees and this makes communication somewhat intimidating. The informal leader is more likely to mentor employees and therefore may give guidance instead of reprimands.