Commanding leaders demand immediate compliance with orders, but may not always explain the reasons behind them. Rather than delegate authority, they seek tight control of any situation and monitor it studiously. Performance feedback is mostly focused on what needs to improve rather than what people did well.
Perhaps most important in the skillful execution of this style is emotional self-control. This allows the leader to keep his/her anger in check. Empathy also softens this approach, particularly when combined with other leadership styles such as the visionary or affiliative.
When to use the Commanding Style
This approach is the least effective in most situations – although it is better accepted in some cultures. It can work when the leader is managing a business in crisis such as an urgent turnaround. In such cases the commanding style can be particularly effective – especially at first – to unfreeze useless business habits and shock people into new ways of doing things.
Similarly, during a genuine emergency, or when facing a hostile takeover, leaders with a take-control style can help everyone through the tumult. Moreover, when all else has failed, the style can work when dealing with problem employees.
Source: “The New Leaders” – Daniel Goleman