Assigned Leadership VS Emergent Leadership: What Sets Them Apart?

Assigned VS Emergent Leadership What Sets Them Apart & Which Is Right For You banner image

What is the difference between assigned leadership and emergent leadership? What are the pros and cons of each type of leadership? This article will explore these questions and provide answers based on research and expert opinions. Founders and leaders can benefit from understanding the differences between these two types of leadership in order to make the most effective decisions for their organizations.

What is assigned leadership and what is emergent leadership?

Leadership can be defined as a process of social influence in which one person (or group) is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. There are two primary types of leadership: assigned leadership and emergent leadership. Assigned leadership is where an individual is given the title of leader, such as a manager or supervisor, and it is their job to lead others. Emergent leadership, on the other hand, is not about having a title or position; it is about individuals taking on a leadership role when the situation calls for it. In other words, emergent leaders are those who emerge as leaders during times of change or crisis.

Key differences between assigned leadership and emergent leadership

So, what are the key differences between these two types of leadership? Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Assigned leaders are given their position of authority, whereas emergent leaders are not.
  2. Assigned leaders typically have more formal power than emergent leaders.
  3. Assigned leaders often have a pre-planned vision or strategy that they implement, whereas emergent leaders develop their vision or strategy as they go along.
  4. Assigned leaders tend to focus on the task at hand, while emergent leaders also focus on the people involved.
  5. Assigned leaders typically operate within established rules and procedures, while emergent leaders are more likely to challenge the status quo.

As you can see, there are some key differences between assigned leadership and emergent leadership. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and which one is best depends on the situation. In general, assigned leaders are better suited for more stable environments, while emergent leaders are better suited for times of change or crisis.

Glowing team leader
Glowing team leader

Pros of assigned leadership over emergent leadership

There are several advantages that assigned leadership has over emergent leadership:

  1. Assigned leaders have more experience leading a team than emergent leaders.
  2. Assigned leaders also have a better understanding of the team’s goals and objectives, as well as the tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve those goals.
  3. Assigned leaders typically have more formal authority than emergent leaders, which can make it easier for them to get buy-in from team members and make decisions that are in the best interest of the team.
  4. Assigned leaders usually have more time to dedicate to their role than emergent leaders, which means they can provide more support and guidance to their team.

Cons of assigned leadership compared to emergent leadership

There are several disadvantages of assigned leadership compared to emergent leadership:

  1. One disadvantage is that assigned leaders may not have the necessary skills or experience to effectively lead their team.
  2. Assigned leaders may be more likely to micromanage their team and may not be as open to new ideas or suggestions from team members.
  3. Assigned leadership can often create a hierarchical environment where team members feel like they are not equal partners in the decision-making process.
  4. Assigned leadership can often stifle creativity and innovation within a team as team members may feel like they need to conform to the leader’s vision instead of pursuing their own creative ideas.

Pros of emergent leadership over assigned leadership

Assigned leadership is when someone is given the title of leader, while emergent leadership is when someone takes on a leadership role without being given the title. So, what are the pros of emergent leadership over assigned leadership?

1. Emergent leaders are often more effective than assigned leaders

This is because they have not been appointed to their position by someone else, so they have had to prove themselves worthy of the role. This means that they are usually more competent and capable than those who have been assigned to their positions.

2. Emergent leaders are more likely to be respected by their followers

This is because they have not been given their position of power, but have instead earned it through their own actions. This makes them more likely to be respected by those who follow them.

3. Emergent leaders are more likely to be motivated

This is because they have not been given their position of power, but have instead earned it through their own actions. This makes them more likely to be motivated to do their best and lead their group to success.

Group Of People Having A Meeting
Group Of People Having A Meeting

4. Emergent leaders are more likely to be innovative

This is because they are not bound by the traditional rules and expectations that come with being a leader. This allows them to be more creative and come up with new and innovative ideas that can help their group succeed.

5. Emergent leaders are more likely to be effective in a crisis

This allows them to be more flexible and adaptable in a crisis, which can help their group succeed.

Cons of emergent leadership compared to assigned leadership

There are a few potential drawbacks to emergent leadership compared to assigned leadership:

  1. Emergent leadership can lead to conflict and competition among team members as they jockey for position.
  2. In an emergency situation, an appointed leader may be better equipped to handle the situation than someone who has simply stepped up in the moment.
  3. People who naturally emerge as leaders may not have the training or experience necessary to effectively lead a team or organization.

Situations when assigned leadership is better than emergent leadership

There are many reasons why assigned leadership is better than emergent leadership:

  1. In some cases, it may be more effective to have someone who is specifically tasked with leading the team or project, rather than relying on whoever happens to be in charge at the moment.
  2. Assigned leaders are usually more experienced and better equipped to handle difficult situations, whereas emergent leaders may not have the same level of expertise.
  3. Assigned leaders typically have more authority and responsibility, which can help to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.

Situations when emergent leadership is better than assigned leadership

There are situations where emergent leadership may be more beneficial:

  1. If a team is faced with a new and challenging task, an emergent leader may be better suited to handle it since they will be more flexible and adaptable.
  2. Emergent leaders may be more effective in motivating and inspiring others, which can be helpful in getting the team to buy-in to the new task at hand.

Ultimately, it depends on the situation and what is needed for the team to be successful.

Assigned VS Emergent Leadership What Sets Them Apart & Which Is Right For You pin

Assigned VS Emergent Leadership Summary

In conclusion, emergent leadership is a process where the group or organization comes up with the leader, instead of someone being assigned to the position. This type of leadership has several pros such as bringing new perspectives and creativity to the table, developing better relationships with followers, and empowering employees. However, it also has some cons such as lack of clarity during difficult times and decision-making paralysis.

Assigned leadership is when someone is given the title of leader and they are in charge of making all decisions for the group or organization. This type of leadership has several pros such as having a clear chain of command, quicker decision-making, and more stability during difficult times. However, it also has some cons such as less innovation and creativity, inflexibility among followers, and potential for abuse if power is not used correctly. Both types of leadership have their own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation so it is important to know when each would be most beneficial.

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of emergent leadership and assigned leadership, and that you are now able to make an informed decision about which type of leadership is right for you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below – we would be happy to help!

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