Autocratic, or authoritarian leaders, are regularly depicted as those with extreme power and control over others. These leaders tend to create choices based on their thoughts alone and they do not take input from their group or look for opinions from others. It is crucial to distinguish autocratic leaders from dictators. Autocratic leaders are not in the business of using their power for oppression; rather, this type of leadership is more focused on using control to advance the group.
People may consider autocratic leadership as someone ruling or controlling, however, it is important to realize that it serves a lot of purposes and can be fruitful in certain workplace setups, groups, or situations. This blog will provide the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of autocratic leadership which will help you in understanding the autocratic style of leadership.
Define Autocratic Leadership
Autocratic leadership is a style of leadership where little or no input is taken or considered from subordinates or any other member of the team. It is important to note that, it can be mixed with the characteristics of a dictator, but it can be very different. All dictators are autocratic, but all autocratic leaders are not dictators. Autocratic leaders are not usually oppressors, but rather leaders who believe in exercising their power for the welfare of the group. They possess power solely in their hands in decision-making. They maintain discipline and a strict environment at the workplace.
Characteristics of Autocratic Leadership
The main purpose of any autocratic leadership style is to develop centralized control over an institution and use that control to achieve desired and beneficial results. It can be characterized or described using the following:
1) Accepts Minimum Involvement from Stakeholders
Autocratic leaders possess power solely in their hands in decision-making. They do not involve stakeholders or other employees while taking decisions. Mostly, the decisions made by the authoritarian leader leave little to no possibility for criticism. Since decisions are made more quickly, this increases efficiency, but it harms team morale as well.
2) Prefers Highly Organized Setups
The structure holds significance in any organization. But in an autocracy, the structure and environment are very strictly organized and controlled. The benefit of this leadership approach is that work can be completed more quickly and deadlines can be met timely in organized setups.
3) Rules and Procedures are Precisely Defined
Since there is only one person in charge, things usually go smoothly and effectively when responsibilities, regulations, and procedures are well-defined. When an autocratic leader is in charge, whether it’s about a crucial business choice or the governance of an organization, everything is highly organized.
4) Sense of Responsibility
The whole responsibility lies with the autocratic leader. They have total control over decision-making, and authoritarian leaders are accountable for both success and failure. In any case, it is the leaders who must first deal with the results of their decisions. In case of crises, they have to be mindful and play a major role in conflict resolution.
Also, Read About the Top 12 Leadership Styles and Why You Need to Know Yours
Advantages of Autocratic Leadership
The advantages of autocratic leadership are noteworthy and can come in handy during tough and rigorous situations. Some of the core advantages of an autocratic government are stated below:
1) Quick Decision Making
In decision-making and implementation, less administration and hierarchy are consulted in autocratic leadership. The management may or may not offer input because the leader is the only one who takes decisions. This ensures quicker decision-making, particularly in high-stress scenarios where a prompt resolution is required. Autocratic leaders weigh all available options and prospective outcomes before choosing the course of action that will best serve their interests.
2) Productive Workplace
Autocratic leaders encourage the completion of productive projects. An autocratic leader makes decisions and promptly conveys them to the team, ensuring that they have all the knowledge necessary to complete the project on time. A leader of this quality also increases productivity at work by educating staff members on what to do and how to fulfill deadlines. This process frequently results in the regular completion of projects and has a great effect on the worker’s output.
3) Provide Directions
Autocratic leaders provide direction to employees. Directions make it easier for employees to follow the leader’s instructions and achieve the set objective in the best possible manner. For instance, autocratic leaders can assist a team member who frequently misses deadlines by instructing them on how to divide the project into smaller pieces and concentrate on accomplishing short-term objectives.
4) Direct Communication
Autocratic leaders make communication easier and more direct with their staff by giving them all the information they require. Employees rarely need to consult their bosses for task descriptions, as autocratic leadership priorly communicates clarifications and additional pieces of information to avoid miscommunication. This produces effective communication between leaders and employees.
5) Decrease Workplace Stress
Autocratic leaders provide rules, laws, and norms for the workplace, which is crucial in reducing employee stress. These managers assume complete accountability for their work, which lessens the effort and pressure on the staff. Employees under an autocratic leader are primarily accountable for adhering to rules and deadlines. This technique lowers employee stress levels, allowing them to stay engaged and productive at work.
6) Explain the Structure and Job Details
Autocratic leaders explain structure and job details to employees. They are skilled at creating specific work objectives that make it easier for team members to comprehend what they are expected to accomplish. This clarifies for team members what is expected of them in their job description and eliminates any ambiguity regarding duties at work.
7) Effective Crisis Management
Autocratic leaders can respond to and manage crises and stressful situations since they make the majority of the decisions in the company. They know which strategies work in crisis resolution and deal confidently with the emerging problems of the workplace. When a leader exudes such confidence, the team generally feels more upbeat.
Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership
It is important to take into account that many disadvantages are associated with this type of leadership. Following are some of the major disadvantages of autocracy.
1) Decrease in Employee Morale
Low employee morale is one of the biggest drawbacks of using an autocratic style of leadership. It has been seen that more than half of the employees want to leave their jobs because they feel underappreciated. Autocratic leaders do not value team members’ suggestions at all. Additionally, they like taking credit for the project’s success, which demoralizes the workers.
2) Results In Resentment among Employees
Employees who like some degree of team authority and decision-making do not enjoy autocratic leadership mostly. The biggest issue is that in this leadership style, nobody discusses innovation and unconventional ideas. An autocratic workplace does not show adaptability to change and new ideas. Employees who work in this environment feel oppressed. The result is a dissatisfied workforce.
3) Absence of Micromanagement
Micromanaging autocrats correct workers at every stage of the process rather than providing clear instructions, deadlines, and objectives to lead their team’s work. They have direct control over assignments, development, and output and take direct reports from employees. This creates a sense of fear and pressure among employees.
4) Decrease in Creative Ideas
In contrast to those who collaborate in a team, it can occasionally be difficult for a single person to come up with unique ideas. Limiting ideas results in predictable job routines that do not promote a creative work environment. Lack of innovation and originality frequently contributes to slower corporate growth.
5) Creates A Dependency System
The potential of the team’s troubles and stress disappear when the leader is in charge of all responsibilities and issues, yet this creates a relationship of complete dependence. No one must be dependent on another for their satisfaction, motivation, or professional advancement, even at work. Effective leadership creates more leaders by letting individuals work independently. Depending on someone else decreases the chances of personal growth.
Also, Read About How to Step Out When Leadership Becomes Overwhelmed
When Autocratic Leadership Works Best?
Autocratic leadership entails high risk and reward. When applied appropriately, it works effectively and efficiently. When absolute control must be exercised during a dispute or crisis, an authoritarian leadership style is most effective. In those circumstances, we look to leaders to make tough choices, communicate, and carry out a plan with steadfast focus.
Popular examples of autocratic leadership include; battles or wars when one person must take command, lead and make strong decisions that may or may not lead to victory. Another example can be a doctor taking decisions during surgeries where he must make tough decisions to save a life, if the lead surgeon cannot make wise decisions in a time crunch it may or may not result in the death of the patient. These are dire circumstances in which making the wrong choice could have severe repercussions. There must be one loud voice providing instructions during these moments. Another simple example can be a head chef leading all his subordinates during a lunch or dinner service.
Jobs For Autocratic Leadership
Given below is a list of jobs where a person with autocratic leadership skills can prove fruitful:
- Head chef
- In defense (Army, navy, airforce, etc)
- Correctional Officer
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Among the various styles of leadership, autocratic leadership holds a significant position because of its benefits. Autocratic leadership maintains discipline in workplaces especially hybrid workplaces where the leader has to deal with employees not only face-to-face but also virtually. It is hard to maintain distance in workplaces, autocratic leadership works effectively in such workplaces. Best Diplomats is one of the leading leadership learning platforms providing excellent opportunities to learn styles of leadership. Register Yourself With Best Diplomats Now!
At the same time when autocratic leadership is beneficial, it also has drawbacks which are defined by a centralized decision-making process and limited engagement of subordinates. Even though autocratic leaders can hasten decision-making and uphold strong control over operations, this type of leadership frequently results in a decline in employee engagement, innovation, and morale.
In some cases, where prompt action and clear guidance are essential, such as in emergencies or highly regulated industries, autocracy may be suitable. Autocratic leadership may prevent long-term organizational growth, innovation, and employee empowerment, it is crucial to understand this. In the end, finding a balance between autocratic and democratic leadership styles can result in more successful and long-lasting outcomes for leaders and their teams.
Does autocratic rule provide successful results?
The autocratic rule promotes hasty decision-making. Additionally, because autocratic leaders do not consult their supporters for suggestions, they come to conclusions on their own, which produces quicker results. This may or may not provide a 100% success rate.
When should autocracy be avoided?
Most decisions made by autocratic leaders affect their team, which may cause pressure, tension, and overwhelm. No team member has the authority to make decisions, thus it might have an impact on the rest of the team if a leader is ill or unable to make decisions with confidence.
What attributes of autocratic leadership make it effective?
Rules and procedures are precisely defined and a clear chain of command makes autocratic leadership effective.
What are the pros and cons of autocratic leadership?
The pros of autocratic leadership include quick decision-making and defined rules and structures. The cons of autocratic leadership include the leader being solely responsible for the whole organization and degrading the morale and trust of employees.