Leadership and management training must be given both at the doctoral level and at the graduate level. The first step of any such program is a research project; this will yield both theoretical knowledge and real-life application. The research conducted by graduate students also informs the instructors in the graduate programs as well as the future graduate students who will be enrolling in online graduate programs. In fact, most instructors of graduate studies in Leadership Management encourage their graduate students to participate in this form of research.
The theoretical knowledge that is gained from the graduate program in Leadership and Management can then be applied in workshops, seminars, and masterclasses. Some areas that graduate students may touch upon include concepts such as leadership from a transactional management style. What transactional management style means is that the leader does not possess special qualities or skills that are not shared by other employees in the workplace. Rather, all employees in the business are equal, with similar skill sets and characteristics. This piecework pay model, which was popularized by the United States military during World War II and called Bandit or Bumps along, provides excellent opportunities for all employees to become competent leaders.
A similar theory underlying transactional and piecework pay models is the model called the "piecework matrix." This theory suggests that there is a hierarchy of management styles, where those managers who adopt more assertive leadership styles will be at the top, while those who use more conciliatory or compassionate leadership styles will be at the bottom. In this arrangement, those managers at the top are referred to as supervisory managers. Underneath them are a group of lower-level managers known as supervisory assistants. Those managers at the bottom of the piecework matrix, called the piecework managers, are thought of as the subordinates or underlings.
The emerging consensus among researchers on leadership and management style points to a third direction where the two theories meet: democratic socialism of mixed management functions. Democratic socialism in this theory assumes that the different management functions must be allowed to develop and gain experience through interaction with each other and form a feedback process based on this interaction. It also assumes that managers and their leadership counterparts have a positive role to play in fostering a democratic society where citizens are allowed to participate actively in creating policies and making decisions about how the country should be run. Such a system would provide a framework through which different groups of workers could function without conflict and come up with innovative new ideas for the development of the economy.
This type of leadership style is not very different from the transactional and piecework management styles. The only real difference between these two management styles is the emphasis on direct involvement by the leader rather than the use of power or the carrot-and-stick approach by top managers. In an authoritarian management style, top managers exert direct control over a group of employees by issuing directives and implementing strict rules. Under the direction of an authoritarian manager, employees may feel micromanaged, and micromanaging can backfire on a company since employees tend to look towards their leader for guidance and solutions. Employees may also come to rely on the leader's remarks and ideas since they feel that only they are knowledgeable about things going on within the organization.
Since a participative and democratic management style enables workers to make decisions and offer solutions to problems, managers need different management styles to ensure that this process is sustained over time. In addition, participative managers need different approaches to project management. For instance, in a participative manager, the planning process takes place at the beginning of a project instead of waiting for the completion date of the project. This means that a collaborative manager needs to consider aspects such as time management, scope management, and other factors that may affect the project's completion date, instead of concentrating on completing the task and finishing as fast as possible.