Although paternalistic leadership is essentially as much of a dictatorial leadership as the autocratic form, in as much as that decisions are made at the top and communication is mostly downward, paternalistic leadership advantages consist of:
- Feedback being invited, thus improving morale;
- Overall staff turnover and absenteeism rates should decrease
- Decisions taking employees' best interests into account and
- The employee is rewarded with candy and toys when well behaved
- Employee loyalty, lower turnover due to emphasis placed on social needs.
Paternalistic style of leadership has the disadvantages of:
- Low staff motivation if loyal connection to management is not established;
- Increasing dependency of employees on the leader leading to more supervision required
- Dissatisfaction in employees if bad decisions are made.
- Like a parent would have to, sometimes the employer must spank the employee
- The above disadvantage could further be made a problem through employee rights and legislation
The paternalistic leadership style, at first glance, gives an impression of almost being democratic. Workers are invited to comment and questions are answered. In addition, their social needs are being considered.
Ultimately, however, the decisions stay with those at the top. While the ability to comment and the apparent care for their needs does aid in improving morale, and to a certain point engender loyalty within the workers, sometimes the loyalty does not go deep enough to be positively motivated.
Workers are likely to stay put, because their basic needs are met, so the turnover of labor is lowered. They are not, however, motivated into giving their best at all times, resulting in increased supervision becoming necessary.
They become dependent on the leaders by simply following the instructions and decisions made without really caring much about what has to be done. This is particularly the case if decisions against the better judgment of skilled workers are being made by the leaders.
If, for instance, leaders are advised through feedback that a particular approach to a problem will not give the best result, but insist on this approach anyway, workers will lose motivation. They will do the job, but will be dissatisfied with their leaders.