Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership has gained a bad reputation of the years into a modern western society. Primarily as it resists democratic rule and focuses its efforts on single authoritarian leadership. People will mostly whisper and avoid autocratic leadership topics as there are negative connotations associated with it like; domination, enslavement and superiority etc. I would urge caution when approaching this but in history its definitely had its uses and there are times when it should be incorporated.

Autocratic leadership at its basic level is one person having total control and power over the rest of the people. Some very negative people throughout history have exploited this like Stalin, Hitler and Bonaparte to just name a few. Without strong accountability and authority over a leader using autocratic leadership, very negative things can happen.

However, there are instances where this leadership style is very effective. Specifically in military situations autocratic leadership lends itself well to commanders as democratic leadership could lead to a lot of problems in the military! As well suggested areas are construction and manufacturing for safety and cohesiveness. I would personally suggest if a team is in a state of flux or something has upset the balance of the team this could be a good solution to bring everyone back into having a single vision. Again though, with the exception of the above mentioned areas, this is not really a sustainable leadership style for a 'normal' team or organisation.


Defining Attributes of Autocratic Leadership

There are some severe limitations on using autocratic leadership but also some great instances where this can be used effectively. We want to as objective as possible with this one and hope that you can gain some good understanding over the defining attributes of this leadership style.

  • One voice over all and one person having complete authority over a team or organisation. This is the dream of this leadership style as it believes in complete control over everyone involved by one person. Every decision is made by the leader and no one else should be making any sort of decision. There is no questioning the rule and reign of this individual and complete submission and trust is expected.
  • Heavy oversight is required by this authoritive leader. They must be looking over everyones shoulder all of the time. They monitor all of the procedures and actions of individuals in the team to make sure everything is being done by their will and reign. They must build a strong culture among their followers to always do what's in the best interest of the single authoritive leader and their vision.
  • Consistency is vital for this leader as they have such sway over the lives of others. If they keep changing their vision or mind and keep inforcing new and different things then a high grievance rate is expected. For this to be an effective and healthy leadership style they must keep consistency to reinforce the trust they need to succeed.
  • Education is essential for the leader to train the team in the 'why' 'what' and 'how' of whats meant to be achieved. If the team feel like they don't know the bigger picture then they will not function appropriately and again trust and consistency could be lost.

We hope this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions on this leadership style or any others please use our contact us form and we'll get back to you. Autocratic leadership is one of many great leadership theories - click here to return to our leadership theories hub.

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