Difference Between Autocratic And Democratic Leadership

There are different styles of leadership that have been used over the years.

It’s a skill that certain people have, and it allows them to surprise, guide, and coordinate others ‘ activities while doing the task.

Leadership is used to encourage people to achieve the goals of an organization as well as others and to inspire and motivate along with them.

Different types exist in leadership styles, depending on the individual and their way of handling things in an organization and in general. 

Autocratic and Democratic are two important leadership styles. However, they both have their differences which depend on different sectors. To know more, here is what you will need.

Autocratic Vs. Democratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is a classic approach that is basically a one-man show carried by individual leaders.

The leader has almost all the authority and powers to make a decision wee no suggestions or opinions are taken.

  • The employees are also not provided to give justification for the tasks they are given to perform.

  • Also, they need to follow the instructions that the leader gives without having any questions or doubts about it.

  • The authority is completely centralized when the company follows autocratic leadership.

  • He is the one who develops all the policies and processes.

  • Employees are expected to follow whatever rules and regulations have been made simply.

  • The leader rewards the employee for motivation and punishments if they fail to do the task.

Whereas democratic leadership is referred to as participative style.

Also, the approach is to encourage the employees to participate in the organization’s decision-making.

  • Employees are provided consultation and signification on matters of the employees.

  • Apart from this, they are informed if nothing is happening in the organization, which concerns them.

  • The democratic leadership style has open communication, allowing direct communication between the employees and members of the organization.

  • Employees are free to communicate, share their ideas and forward if they have a question.

  • But the leaders only make the final decisions, even though employees are free to share their opinion.

  • Democratic leadership enables the employees to set their own goals, assess performance, and see growth.

  • Motivation here plays an important role as the employees need to get experience and be highly educated.

Problem With Autocratic And Democratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership has been criticized due to its lack of employee involvement and input.

  • As for democratic leadership, it failed to provide any clear delineation of who the leader is as it blurred the lines.

  • The Autocratic also has a lack of motivation in their employees, which increases the rate of absenteeism and employee turnover.

  • Democratic leadership asks for tech choices and takes the suggestion into consideration even though sometimes it’s not needed, which makes the leader delay their actions and waste time.

To understand more, here is the comparison chart.

 Leadership StyleAutocratic LeadershipDemocratic Leadership
Other NameDirective LeadershipParticipative Leadership
OrientedWork OrientedRelations Oriented
TheoryTheory XTheory Y
ControlHigh LevelLess Level
SuitabilityThe assistant should be unskilled and obedientThe assistant should be professional
BenefitProper mission accomplishment and one visaHigher predictive and more innovative work
DrawbackHigh employee turnover, low morale, and reduced inefficiencyTime waste and communication gaps
FreedomNot allowed to show opinionsEveryone has the right to express themselves
CreditLeaderWhole team
ApplicableIn a time of crisisNot for crisis

Key Differences Between Autocratic Vs. Democratic Leadership

Both leadership styles have their ways of approaching the work and how things will manage; not just are they polar apart, but they also have different styles of doing and managing.

Here are the listed key differences that you can find in both leadership style

Meaning Of Both Leadership

When the organization follows autocratic leadership, the leader has the authority and control over decision-making, policy, and procedure.  And the employees are not allowed to suggest; they have to follow whatever assigned tasks they get.

On the other hand, Democratic leadership includes both leaders and employees in making the decision, even though leaders have the final call to process the information or not.

But the employees have their roles, and their suggestions are considered.

Centralization Of Power

Autocratic leadership is a one-person show, the leader has all the upslope hands and authority.

They are the ones who have the power to process the task and make rules.

However, the power is not centralized to one person in democratic leadership. The employees also have their fair share of authority over the decisions.

Task-Oriented Vs. Relationship Oriented

Autocratic leadership has a task-oriented style that focuses on completing the task no matter what happens.

However Democratic go against this one as it’s more emphasis on reason oriented.

The democratic style focuses on improving the relationship between superiors and subordinates to share the power among them.

Origin Of Both Ideas

Autocratic leadership is derived from McGreoger’s Theory X motivation, whereas democratic is from McGregor’s Theory Y.

Freedom Of Expression

Autocratic leadership lacks freedom of expression, as employees don’t have any power to show their opinions to their leaders.

Also, it binds them to follow whatever the leaders ask them to do in order to complete the work and achieve the goals.

Employees’ opinions are not something that holds importance and is considered.

The democratic leader allows the freedom of precision to their employees as they are highly suggested to do their parathion in the decision-making and share their point of view.

Not just that, the changes can be made if the suggestions are more beneficial for the task.


Autocratic Leadership is a paper copy style to consider when the employees have a low level of education and  experience/

But they are also showing submissiveness to the employers. Apart from this, it requires a rapid turnaround.

Democratic leadership requires the organization which has the most well-educated, skilled, and experienced employees.

Also, they need to undress the tasks and have a valuable point of view.

Chances Of Success

Autocratic is more successful if the employees are dutiful but not experts in the field. So they can follow the set of rules and direct orders from the leaders.

Whereas democratic is successful when subordinates have the professionalism and hold expertise.

Needed The Most

Autocratic leadership is highly compatible when a crucial thing is going on, as making decisions becomes important without wasting time.

Also, the employees follow the decision and do whatever is asked of them.

But democratic leadership can be used at different times if it’s not an emergency.

It’s unsuitable for emergencies as it will take time and delay important decisions.

Methods For Motivation

Both leaders have different ways of motivating their employees.

The autocratic use rewards if the employee does something good and to motivate them so they can perform better.

Democratic point to the changes so that they can inspire the team to work better.

Autocracy also uses punishment if the employees fail to perform the assigned task.

Credit And Blame

If the team successfully achieves the goal and performs the task, Autocratic leadership will get the credit as its only person. And others get the reward.

But in democracy, the credit is divided among everyone on the team.

As for the situation when the team fails, the blame goes to everyone.

Involvement And Purpose

The autocratic is more focused on getting the work done without letting anything affect even the employees have no right to share their opinions.

Whereas the democratic is focused on building relationships and boosting personal growth, including employees’ thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.

The Drawback Side

Autocracy gives control to the leader who makes others feel like they’re not part of the team.

It also makes them demotivated to perform as they have no involvement and right to speak.

This harms the company as employees become less productive, innovative, and efficient.

Democratic whereas takes too much time, especially if it’s an emergency.

Not only can it add extra work as the leader has to take everyone’s opinion, but it blurs the lines between who is a leader.

The Positive Side

Autocratic leadership can help the business to achieve its goals and is also effective for future perspectives.

In emergency, the leadership style can help cut short the time and work.

Whereas democratic leadership can help in boosting productivity, effectiveness, and creativity.

And it can bring harmony as well as build better relationships among employees and leaders.

Characteristics and Differences Between Autocratic And Democratic Leadership

Autoacative leadership is also considered to be like a doctor; they usually instill fear and have control in order to perform the task.

Autocratic Leaders

The democratic are known for participative, which do not have the same hierarchical status, but powers and liberty are given to everyone to make the decisions.

Democratic Leaders

Here are some of the differences based on their characters which can be noticed in both leadership.

  • Autocratic leaders enforce their judgment and ideas, whereas democratic leaders share others’ opinions.

  • An autocratic leader tells what to do, democratic asks for opinions.

  • Autocratic leaders often micromanage and democratically give space to be more efficient.

  • Autocratic leaders make decisions alone without confiding in their employees; democratic ask and take openings before making final decisions.

  • Having a team is irreverent for autocratic as the leader is the only one who has control, and members have to follow orders.

  • Decorative collaboration the idea and offer them free-flowing.

  • Unlike autocratic, they democratically share the responsibilities among their subordinates.

  • Democratic leaders often work in non-profit organizations, innovative companies, and democratic countries.

  • Democratic leadership maintains mutual respect and open communication.

More To Explore:

Was this article helpful?