Tannenbaum Schmidt's Styles of Leadership

Tannenbaum & Schmidt took Lewin's three styles one step further and developed a continuum of control and decision making, shared between leader and followers.

At all points on their continuum both the leader and the followers have some control. The amount of control each party has depends on the amount that the followers are able to take on. The leader begins with most of the control over decision making and gradually passes this over to the followers, as they develop their capability, commitment and maturity.

While the general trend is to pass control to followers, leaders can retrieve some if the changing situation demands it. For example, if an emergency occurs or if a situation arises in which the followers have no experience.


Tannenbaum, A.S. and Schmitt, W.H. (1958). "How to choose a leadership pattern". Harvard Business Review, 36, March-April, 95-101.

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