Key Characteristics, Strengths, and Weaknesses of Autocratic Leadership

Leadership is an essential factor in the success of any business. 

In fact, it is the leadership pulling strings on each and every decision made in your company from bottom to top that impacts the growth of your business. 

So it is critical to identify the roles of leadership, and define what kind of leadership style to be followed or will be much suited given many factors such as : 

  • Type of company or brand you run/ want to work for 
  • The niche of the business/ As per required 
  • The function of departments such as operations or sales 
  • Company mission statement/branding 

And much more. 

You might be deciding to go for autocratic leadership to practice in your company or the company you will work for. 

But for that, you need to be acknowledged extensively with different kinds of leadership style, their traits, characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, including the autocratic. 

That will help you choose for yourself more accurately and according to your needs as well. 

For now, we get into the advantages and disadvantages of the autocratic leadership style and see what’s in for you. 


What Is Autocratic Leadership Style? 

The autocratic leadership style is also popular as the ‘Authoritarian Style’ of leadership or the leader-centric style’. 

As the name suggests, such leaders concentrate on the reservation of all authority to no one but himself or themselves. 

Their style dictates the kind of leadership which is more authoritative and dominating as compared to other styles of leadership. 

An autocratic leader instructs their subordinates the specific actions such as what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and further on, to the very detail. 

Such leadership exercises complete autonomy on the moving parts of the team with close supervision and control over their subordinates. 

These leaders expect their subordinates to do what they have been told as nothing less and nothing more. 

Autocratic leaders are effective in bringing results using their authority over their subordinates. 

They are also very well equipped to utilize the fear of deprivation, strong criticism, and punishment including other forms of negative rewards. 


advantages of autocratic leadership

Clear Line Of Sight 

When an autocratic leader is in charge, the vision of the leader is strongly projected onto subordinates or employees. 

There is no home for confusion to even breathe regarding the direction towards which everyone is supposed to move. 

Employees very well know where they stand, what they are expected to do when they need to do it, and further detailed instructions as well. 

It is completely unlike democratic leadership where the leader gets to do surveys and get input and suggestions from the team. 

And that is something that might muddy the vision of the leader or challenge the leadership itself, not to mention contrary voices and conflicts. 

Autocratic leadership won’t entertain any of that, and if anyone contradicts the leader, that person most likely won’t be any more part of the team or company. 

Everyone Knows What Expected Out Of Them 

In autocratic leadership, subordinates don’t just know what they are supposed to do but also what exactly is expected out of them. 

The expectations from a particular employee are very specific and translate to all kinds of things. 

It can be about expectations of : 

  • How much quality do they put in? 
  • How much time will it take to complete it? 
  • What things are they supposed to do and what not?
  • What kind of flexibility can they have?
  • How will they be rewarded with the success of this project or task? 
  • What are the risks and challenges for them? 
  • What resources do they have at hand from the company to use? 

And so much more. 

This can be different for every particular person according to their status, abilities, skill sets, previous work history, credibilities, and much more. 

So even when all the general information, vision, and mission are the same for everyone,  they all have different expectations to stand upto. 

And when everyone plays their part in standing upto their expectations, and all goals are met, the project will become successful automatically. 

Reduce Employee Stress 

It is easy to assume that an autocratic leader can be a challenging personality with no room for any inefficiencies. 

But still, employees prefer to work in an environment where they have set and clear expectations to walk on. 

Workers want to have a clear idea of how much they are expected to work, not less and not more. 

Employees with a preference for exploring creative solutions are okay with an autocratic leader as they are allowed to offer new ideas to the table. 

Autocratic leaders can welcome the right ideas or alternative solutions coming from their experience. 

This not only solidifies the concerns of the employees making them more convenient and comfortable to work but also clears their expectations on delivery and quality.

In other words, an autocratic leader takes responsibility for the ultimate results.  

Since employees are expected to merely follow the instructions, there are no risks for employees. It removes weight from the employee’s shoulders leaving them stress-free in their work. 

Improved Overall Communication 

Leadership and management in the business go hand to hand. And an organization is a multi-layer with its management and operations. 

And there are even different hierarchies of leadership playing out on every particular level of management. 

So with different leadership, purposely or inadvertently, communication took a unique spin on it the respective leadership. 

By the time the information reaches the front-liners who are supposed to do most of the work, the original messaging or the vision gets diluted or lost. 

Autocratic leadership, however, eliminates this dilution of communication completely as command directly goes to the concerned worker involved. 

Not to mention, since it is direct and very much focussed, there is no chance of misinterpreting those ones. 

Faster Decision-Making Procedures 

Since there are not many people involved in the decision-making procedures of a company or a team, things get done quickly. 

It also happens due to reduced, or actually, no conflict in decision-making as only the leader makes the solo decisions depending upon his or her vision. 

Business leaders do have a team of advisers to consult them in their decision-making. Once the decision is made, the implementation is rapid and swift. 

Even in this case, the delay doesn’t happen due to the pre-assessment already done by the autocratic leader on the basis of the given strategies and all the changes as well. 

One of the best examples to look at is when an autocratic leader goes through checking different POS systems to streamline operations. 

And once he or she makes decisions, new systems directly go to implementation without any delay.

Better Negotiation Stance 

Negotiation is an essential skill required in the workplace, and in it, it is important that one understands where exactly the line exists. 

You have to be clear under which certain dollar value you won’t be negotiating further. 

And, make your stance firm because that’s how effectively negotiation works otherwise it is most likely to not go in your favor. 

Autocratic leadership in this case has a stronger stance in negotiation demonstrating strength and confidence. 

So it is not some guy throwing numbers randomly and swaying as the wind blows. They are a dedicated firm with their negotiation skills and get what exactly they want. 

advantages of autocratic leadership style

Boost Productivity 

Since autocratic leaders have this ability to communicate the information to the concerned employees, it manifolds productivity. 

To begin with, it reduces the delays in time of right information reaching the employees, so they have more time to work on. 

When everything goes on clockwork, workers know exactly when to complete the project without any confusion. 

They get very strong and clear commands from autocratic leaders and consistent feedback along with timely decisions. 

It makes the workplace environment positive and creates a momentum of getting work done on time quickly, hence, increasing productivity. 

Counter Inexperienced Employee 

Autocratic leadership cancels out any inexperienced employee in the team or the inexperienced employee team itself. 

If an inexperienced team is led by an autocratic leader, they will still be able to get great results by just following specific instructions given to them. 

Employees, in this case, become the asset for the autocratic leader to complete his or her vision. 

He or she takes the expertise or skill set of the multiple employees covering up for each other, complementing each other, and fulfilling the tasks.

Workers in this case are able to draw experience and knowledge from their leader and increase their productivity tenfold.  

Autocratic leadership is the best choice to go for to lead your team when there is no time to train an inexperienced team. 


Disadvantages Of Autocratic Leadership

Might Lead To Micromanagement 

In the case of an autocratic style of leadership, since the reputation of the leader is on the line and not of the worker, leaders become extra careful with supervision. 

The autocratic leader tends to supervise every small task, to its very detail, and to every particular employee or team member. 

So autocratic leaders, in this case, often turn to micromanagers, impacting even the efficiency of the workers as it becomes difficult for employees to focus on their job. 

They often have to keep reporting about the work update every now and then or at any given moment. 

Micromanagement leads to a decrease in productivity for employees impacting the overall success of the product. 

Not Offering A Sense Of Professional Ownership 

Autocratic leadership is all about an authoritarian and leader-centric style of leadership. 

They are in charge, and they never forget to keep everyone reminded about it. All the credit for the work goes to them only. 

Employees cannot or do not get the ownership of the work they do for the team and since there is no incentive further for them to do so. 

They neither get blamed for the failure nor get the credit for the success. This, especially over time, discourages employees and starts sinking their morale. 

Not just that, for the leader, it becomes problematic as he or she has to face the music when a worker doesn’t do something that he or she hasn’t been told to. 

No Accountability 

Dependency in the working culture is a trait of autocratic leadership, and it is a negative impact on the organization. 

People tend to get used to not making decisions for themselves. They get habitual of someone else making decisions for them. 

Not just do they avoid making decisions in the future but also aid in a more rigid environment of the workplace with a central power play.

Such dependency eliminates accountability in the organization and even further demotivates the person to do anything at all. 

It also means that no one desires to grow and improve their skills as per their required field, further benefiting the organization only. 

Also, the skills, experience, and knowledge of the employees never really get tested entirely. 

It Creates a System Of Dependence 

Employees under autocratic leadership are compelled to rely completely on each and every feedback of their leaders. 

Not just that, they also have to be dependent on their leaders for the work duties and every particular task to perform. 

So, it creates situations where they are never able to make their own decision, rather just forced to go to their leaders every now and then with almost everything. 

Due to this, leaders cannot leave the workplace as workers are too dependent on their decisions. 

They can’t get things done without the approval of the leader, putting the whole workspace into a tight-knitted over-dependent workspace. 

Work Culture Of The Workspace Is Based On The Leader

Since, Autocratic leaders dominate and fully control the workspace environment, especially on the decision-making of every particular employee. 

He or she very much creates a work culture on their own. This work culture is more based on the leader rather than the employees working in the workspace. 

So, if the leader decides to develop a fair and positive working environment, the employees are most likely to follow and add to it. 

However, if a leader has questionable ethics or is not aligned with the best interest of the workspace, no one will be able to hold the person accountable. 

The fact that the whole work culture of workspaces under autocratic leadership is entirely dependent on the leader is risky. 

Creates A Lack of Trust 

A successful workplace relationship only develops when workers are able to trust their leaders and vice-versa, as well. 

But since the very foundation of the autocratic leadership style lacks democratic involvement of two parties, rather the authority of one over the other leads to mistrust. 

Leaders very much rely on their assumptions of the employees as they are not working as much as they should. 

There is no understanding on which both parties can lay the foundation of trust in the workplace relationship. 

In fact, autocratic leaders are often skeptical about the working efficiency and intentions of their employees. 

They are keener to supervise their employees and lead them with consistent assessment. 

disadvantages of autocratic leadership style

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