Is Autocratic Leadership Good?

There are many different approaches to leadership. In fact, you can probably think of five different styles of leadership that you’ve seen firsthand from managers and supervisors. But autocratic leadership is one particular style that has stood the test of time.

Autocratic leadership is an organizational style whereby the power of decision-making is concentrated at the top and is made by a single leader.

The term is not synonymous with despotism or dictatorship as such leaders do not permit arbitrariness, but rather exercise their authority directly and clearly ordering subordinates to carry out specific tasks in accordance with established laws and regulations.

Is this style of leadership good? Can you become an autocratic leader? Are there disadvantages? What is the trait of an autocratic leader? I will answer all these questions and any other you might have in this article.

What Is Autocratic Leadership?

Autocratic leadership is a traditional leadership style typically obvious in small businesses and startups. With this leadership style, the leader makes all the decisions and tells employees what to do.

Autocratic leadership exhibits a lack of freedom in the workplace; employees are expected to do as they are told. They have little or no input into decision-making, and their opinions and suggestions do not matter.

SEE: Meaning, Types, And Importance of Work Culture for Leaders

What Are The Benefits of Autocratic Leadership?

1. It improves productivity

Working under an autocratic leader can raise productivity because of the direct line of communication. There’s no miscommunication, which can cause employees to slow down while they adjust to the incorrect information they receive.

Workers do not need to negotiate or compromise. The leader can give tasks directly and know that these will be carried out as requested. All decisions are made with an eye to how this could benefit the organization.

SEE: A Pivotal Tool For Increasing Organizational Productivity

2. People know what is expected of them in their positions

Autocratic leaders are the most straightforward type. They dole out orders and expect employees to follow through without question. The goal of an autocratic leader is to maintain high levels of productivity by giving precise instructions on how employees should complete tasks and then setting strict deadlines for completion.

There is little to no room for error and everyone knows what their place is in the system. From top-level executives to frontline workers, authority and expectations are clearly defined.

3. More direct communication

Autocratic leadership allows for a more direct and straightforward form of communication; there are no questions about what the leader wants, or how something should be done. Therefore, if a project requires a clear vision, an autocratic leader can ensure that every member of the team knows what that vision is.

The autocratic style can also work well to keep a group focused, especially when there is a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. Since all final decisions are from the leader, there is no need to waste time discussing options or seeking approval from other team members.

SEE: Why Communication Skills Are Important in the Workplace

4. Less confusion when compared to participative leadership

When compared to participative leadership, autocratic leadership creates less confusion. Participative leadership has too many voices involved and can therefore create confusion among the staff.

Autocratic creates an environment in which there is no confusion or uncertainty. This is particularly helpful when it comes to critical situations such as responding to company emergencies or dealing with disasters. There aren’t any arguments or confusion about the direction of your group.

5. It reduces employee stress

Stress in the workplace is detrimental to worker health and productivity. One of the purported benefits of autocratic leadership is that it reduces employee stress. Much of the employee’s job satisfaction comes from internalizing and achieving the goals set by management.

It allows workers to focus on specific tasks as opposed to the overall process. Because employees are more autonomous under this type of leadership, they have control over their work.

SEE: Ways To Manage Stress And Emotional Trauma

6. Decentralized handling of tasks and projects

Decentralized handling of tasks and projects means little/no board or shareholder involvement in the day-to-day running of a company. No time to waste in negotiating the way in which to delegate responsibilities or how to approach a project. Additionally, it helps ensure that each employee uses their time efficiently.

7. It provides a faster decision-making process

Decision-making is a key part of the leadership role, and with autocratic leadership, there is less debate and more decision-making, which speeds up the process. Autocratic decision-making leadership is a style of leadership in which the leader has complete control over the decisions made and how the team works on a day-to-day basis.

In an emergency, this style can be beneficial because it leads to faster decisions than going through long procedures to make a decision. This can also mean that a company reacts more quickly to changing market conditions or economic problems.

8. Promotes strong work ethic

Because an autocratic leader makes the rules and issues commands quickly, the employee does not need to spend time questioning what they need to do or how to do it. Instead, the employee can focus on carrying out the task in accordance with the leader’s instructions.

By working without orders and input, employees learn the skills to complete assigned tasks on their own or with minimal supervision. This also teaches efficiency and productivity in the workplace, which is valuable skills in the workforce.

SEE: Examples of Work Ethic

Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership

1. Encourages hostility and secretiveness

Employees who are not allowed to participate in decision-making often become hostile and resentful. Furthermore, they may be unwilling to accept the decisions made by their leader and may even plan ways to sabotage his efforts.

Autocratic leaders tend to operate alone, without assistance or input from others. This can result in missed opportunities if information or ideas that would have been helpful are not considered.

2. Loss of Loyalty

Autocratic leadership styles can create a sense of discontent among workers because there is no opportunity to participate in decision-making processes on the job. The lack of participation in decision-making can lead to a sense of resentment and distrust among employees who are under the supervision of an autocratic leader.

3. Loss of Respect

Employees working for an autocratic boss may feel like they are not valued or appreciated as a member of the team because they have no say in what happens at work. These feelings can lead to low morale and absenteeism.

This can result in a decrease in job satisfaction, motivation, and morale among workers who don’t have the opportunity to express their ideas or participate in the decision-making process.

4. Leads to an unhealthy business environment

When a leader calls all the shots and makes all the decisions for his people, it leaves no room for them to learn, grow or develop. Additionally, this can create a workplace environment that’s not healthy.

Because autocratic leaders don’t listen to their subordinates’ input, they may miss out on new ideas or solutions. In addition, such leaders can create a workplace that is not enjoyable and stable.

5. Leadership vacuum

Autocratic leaders tend to dominate every situation and make all the decisions. If they aren’t around when something needs urgent attention, chaos can ensue as workers wait for instructions.

6. Low morale

Autocratic leaders demand instant obedience and perfect performance, which can quickly damage morale. This style is especially damaging in teams where people are already highly motivated because they feel like their efforts are unappreciated. Employees have no say in what goes on, so motivation is low.

7. Poor teamwork

Because autocratic leaders make all the decisions, teams often feel marginalized. This means they don’t work well together, which can hurt productivity.

What Are The Core Character Traits of Autocratic Leaders?

1. Self-confidence

The self-confidence of autocratic leaders can be seen in their decisiveness; they are not afraid to make decisions, even when there is no time for analysis or broad input from others. They are also not afraid to take responsibility for actions taken and to assume that their judgment is correct. In this sense, one can view their confidence as a strength.

2. Motivation

Autocratic leaders recognize that their confidence motivates them, but they believe that it also motivates others to work harder and longer in order to please the leader. They may use fear as a motivator, but they more often use the desire of their followers to please them and gain their approval.

3. Demanding

Autocratic leaders are demanding of themselves and others; they demand hard work, high performance, and excellence from those who follow them because they feel that this is the way they can achieve progress. They also demand loyalty from followers so that they can be sure of continued support for their ideas and plans.

4. Visionary

Autocratic leaders see the big picture, what can be accomplished or improved in the long term, and how this vision can be achieved. Sometimes others don’t understand these ideas at first, but autocratic leaders use their forceful personalities to get others on the same track.

5. Credibility

Autocratic leaders are credible, or believable so that their followers can trust that they know what they’re talking about. If you tell your employees that you want them to work every Saturday going forward, but you can’t remember if you already told them that yourself or if it was just something you were thinking about doing, your credibility will diminish.

6. Uncompromising

Autocratic leaders are not constrained by rules or procedures if they conflict with their vision. They are prepared to challenge existing norms and beliefs if they stand in the way of achieving their objectives.

7. Clarity

In autocratic leadership, there’s always clarity on the definition of roles and responsibilities among team members, as well as clarity in expectations from the leader. When used appropriately, this type of leadership can promote efficiency in the workplace.

8. Dependability

One benefit of autocratic leadership is that it allows for fast decision-making processes. This is especially useful in emergency situations where there’s a need for quick action. The leader doesn’t have time to consult with others or hold a meeting to discuss various courses of action; instead, he simply makes the decision himself and moves forward with it.

SEE: What Organizational Skills Are and How Can You Put Them To Good Use

How To Be An Effective Leader Without Being Overbearing

Everybody wants to be a leader. But, managing a large group of people all at once is not an easy task, and it can often feel like you’re a babysitter rather than a leader.

Below are effective tips to become a good leader without being overbearing:

  • Outline a clear vision
  • Ensure that operations run smoothly
  • Communicate efficiently and effectively
  • Give importance to immediate goals
  • Being decisive and take immediate action when necessary
  • Be upfront about plans, objectives, and decisions
  • Be consistent in your dealings
  • Assign the right people to each task
  • Develop the skills of your subordinates-

SEE: Distinct Qualities Of A Great Leader

FAQs

What is the most important aspect of leadership?

An important aspect of leadership is how your employees feel about you as their boss. They should like working with you as you lead them through their tasks.

Is autocratic leadership for every organization?

No, autocratic leadership works best when an organization or team is already functioning well and there is little room for error in decision making.

Conclusion

Leadership and management are among the most important facets of running a successful organization. These are always top-of-mind concerns for business owners who have employees. Good leadership and effective management can ensure employee satisfaction, growth, and development.

Many people consider autocratic leadership one of the most effective styles because it allows for quick decision-making, concise communication, and immediate feedback. Because the leader maintains complete control over the organization, feedback and changes can be immediate.

However, in conclusion, autocratic leadership is most effective when used on a short-term basis and when combined with other styles of leadership. They can help companies meet deadlines, improve performance and meet targets.

Before you leave, I will encourage you to read about participative leadership, it’s another effective style of leadership for organizations and businesses.

I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for reading.