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Autocratic Leadership

By November 22, 2010February 14th, 2019Articles, leadership

Following on from our blog on November 3rd, todays post explains autocratic leadership and the pro's and con's of this style of leadership.

There is certainly still a place for this style of leadership. That may or may not surprise you and it is more prevalent than you may think. Of course, it is required in military and law enforcement environments. If you have been in business for many years, I have no doubt you will have worked with an autocratic leader. It is for this reason that many people adapt to this style of leadership. However there are downfalls.  What I will outline here are the pro’s and con’s of autocratic leadership and where this style of leadership may fit in with today’s environment.

The notion of being branded with this style of leadership is not attractive to most! Another name for autocratic leadership is also dictatorship. The most renowned dictator was indeed Hitler who demanded a country follow his rule or there would be severe consequence for them. His people had no choice if they wanted to survive.  That is dictatorship to the extreme.

There is another famous autocratic leader, this being Martha Stewart. It has been written that she built her empire in a very competitive environment, the entertainment industry, by personally attending and overseeing every detail. Directing her people how things should and shouldn’t be done.

Autocratic leadership is required within the workplace, particularly in times of emergency when there is high stress and pressure. People do respond well and are grateful for being told what to do by their leader. Also, where there is an unskilled workforce, new trainees as an example, they need clear direction at times, particularly in a highly governed/compliance based environment.

Let’s explore some pro’s and con’s:


·       Suitable where critical and fast decisions are required

·       Suitable if you do not trust your staff and/or their capabilities

·       Beneficial when fast action is required

·       Suitable if you prefer to lead through fear, manipulation and law!

·       Your business is limited to your thoughts and knowledge as you do not invite employees to participate in decision making etc


·       Can be perceived as micro management and suffocate innovation and creativity

·       Can cause high stress levels in employees

·       Can attribute to higher turnover of staff and increased sick leave

·       Can make people feel inadequate

·       Limits ownership and does not encourage people to take responsibility

·       Does not create a culture of inclusiveness and empowerment leading to being an employer of choice.

·       The direct style of communication an autocratic leader has can be abrasive and unnerving for people

·       Feedback is unstructured and ineffective

The list could go on, but I think you get the message.

In summary, if you want to create an empowering, inspiring and creative environment in your workplace and develop your employees, I would not encourage adopting this style of leadership!