What Is Coercive Leadership? Examples, Pros And Cons

Coercive leadership is considered an effective style, especially in industries like construction and manufacturing.

Well, this type of leadership is helpful as it ensures that the employees are following the workplace’s rules, direction as well as policies.

Along with making it safer, faster, and more efficient, the style helps in improving the speed of getting work done. To understand more about coercive leaders, here are the advantages, disadvantages, and many more.

What Is Coercive Leadership?

Coercive leadership, also known as an autocratic leader, is a direct form of leadership that is built on instructing what and how employers are required to do things.

Also, it requires strict compliance, authoritarian leadership also leaves no room for errors, and it demands results.

Coercive leaders also have control over the team members and offer low degrees of autonomy.

Well, the concept of this leadership depends on a few basic things, which include:

Factors Of Coercive Leadership Style

Process Control 

The leaders have the management and control over their employees, maintaining the standards and making sure that they are sticking to the plan.

 Also, to make sure that the given methods are followed. 

This ensures the efficiency and complete management control

Reward For The Compliance

Those workers who comply with what the suppressor asks will only receive the rewards. The leadership style specifically on following the rules and regulations.

Commanding Style

This is the concept that is based on the leaders’ commands and orders to their subordinates to do things without knowing the real reason behind why it needed to be. 

They dedicate as well as tell their members what to do and how to do it.

Coercive Leadership Examples

Here are some examples of coercive leadership:


A leader may use threats or fear to force subordinates to comply with their demands.

For example, a boss may threaten to fire an employee if they don’t meet a deadline.


A leader may use punishment to motivate subordinates to work harder.

For example, a teacher may give a failing grade to a student who doesn’t complete their homework on time.


A leader may control every aspect of a project, leaving no room for subordinates to make decisions or take ownership.

For example, a manager may require daily progress reports and dictate every step of a project.


A leader may use blame to motivate subordinates to work harder or to deflect criticism.

For example, a supervisor may blame an employee for a project’s failure, even if the employee had little control over the outcome.


A leader may use constant pressure to motivate subordinates to work harder.

For example, a coach may demand that their team perform at a high level, even if it means sacrificing their health or well-being.

Coercive Leadership Style Characteristics

Leadership has some common traits which are required; managers practice leadership so they can have the authoritarian approach and get direct reports.

Here are some of the characteristics that are required to be followed :

Leaders Should Have The Top-Down Connection

Coercive leaders are required to make a decision in front of their employees without letting them in or gathering their input.

The leaders have to analyze the situation and its all aspects, so whatever they decide or choose will be based on the data they collected, instead of the needs of the employees.

The leaders have control over the project and directions; they also direct how the team will work.

Leaders Have To Dictate

Managers who follow the collective style are distant when it comes to working methods that are preferred and processed.

They have to design and make sure to implement the plans along with the goals that the team requires to achieve.

Also, the team is expected to follow through with the given dictations. The employees with leaders are not considered or usually take part in making the decision.

Leaders Have To Give a Rigid Structure

The employees who get the work assigned by the leader need to follow specific methodologies as well as particular actions.

The leaders have to outline the certain ways in which they want the employees to get work done.

 Also, this is expected employees to follow what instructions are given by the leaders. There are few leaders who allow the devastation from what work structure is designated to the employee.

Leaders Have Rules and Regulations

Coercive leaders design and implementation of rules and regulations, which they believe are important to follow, so it can help productivity as well as efficiency.

The leaders set guidelines that are concerned to be more strict as compared to other types of leadership styles.

Leaders Set The Rewards And Punishment

The employees who follow the given instructions successfully and give direct reports will receive rewards. 

And it’s the leader’s job to decide the rewards so they can follow the same pattern next time but boost their productivity and efficiency.

However, if it fails, the leaders have to come up with the consequences so the employees can do their best next time.

Coercive Leadership Pros And Cons

Coercive Leadership Pros

There are different positive effects that originate from following coercion leadership. Well, to understand that, here is the list of advantages that you will get.

Advantages Of Coercive Leadership Style

1. Leaders Know Ways To Get Job Done

The coercive leaders focus on making sure that work is getting done within the given time. Well, they don’t allow the exclusion, so if the employees are assigned the work, they have to follow the instructions.

Also, they don’t leave room for it and buts. The leadership makes sure that the work should be done without any hassle.

2. The Style Boost The Productivity Faster

Coercive leaders boost productivity in the organization much later. They provide the outline or visions that make sure how the work is supposed to be done.

Then they expect the employee will follow the solutions and visions and complete the work without asking questions.

The Process allows effectiveness and boosts productivity. Since it focuses on the work and doesn’t allow the interface of the employee, it also cuts the time that can be wasted by asking too many unnecessary questions.

3. The Style Improves The Safety

The organization might be going through a time of crisis because it had inadequate leadership.

Some might be going through problems due to a lack of rules, procedures, and regulations. This makes the workplace not safe; however, the style will be helpful in solving such problems.

Also, they can improve the work getting done and make sure everyone is following the rules as well as regulations in the workplace which also ensures safety.

4. The Style Eliminates The Insubordination

The company might be suffering due to the insubordination from some of the employees. They might not be following rules, coming late to work, and not getting so much work done even when they have time.

The leadership style doesn’t stand for such things and focuses on compliance. This creates the fear of following rules and insubordination like issues can be solved.

5. Leaders Can Improve The Employees

A coercive leader can improve how the employees work and show the results.

They can put the best people in the best positions and places. This will help the organization bring the best results for them.

With this,  the leader can also get results along with getting better outcomes.

6. Style Helps In Enforcing Current Rules To The Standards

Coercive leaders are focused on keeping the rules and regulations and following others to do the same.

The leaders are also well-read and govern the workplace. This allows them to issue the orders in which the team can complete their given work so they can exceed and meet the standard of the organization.

This also avoids issues like harassment and discrimination, which can easily happen if someone is not taking the rules seriously.

7. The Style Gives Easy Control Over Team

The style helps in keeping everything checked, the leader has better control, and they can direct the team . and also make sure they do what they are asked for.

They can coach them, improve the quality of work and reduce their time.

8. Leaders Can Lower The Employee Deviation

Employee deviations are allowed in some of the leadership styles when they discover a better method to get the work done.

The coercive leaders are strict and make sure the rules, as well as guidelines, are encountered.

Since they are the ones who set the guidelines, the employees can always work on time with safety and make sure all others are following them.

This also makes the employees feel comfortable and reduces the deviation.

9. The Style Improves Management in Small Groups

When the numbers of members are few, or the small groups have the tendency to bend the rules and do more casual work.

When coercive leadership follows, it guarantees the small groups will also keep the rules and regulations in mind while they work. 

Also, it will keep the deadline and structures in the working environment.

10. Leaders Can Help Unmotivated And Inexperienced Workers

Well, there might be a new here or entry-level position where additional guidance and learning are needed.

The leaders can help in outlining the guidelines while encouraging the leaders to do efficient and harder work.

The experienced team gets the benefits when they have direct leaders.

Coercive Leadership Cons

There are disadvantages of using the coercive leadership style if it is not for your kind of work.

Well, it’s important to understand how bad it can affect you if you are using it for your company which is not suitable for such a style.

Disadvantages Of Coercive Leadership Style

1. Leaders Will Not Get The Popularity

The conceived leadership sty;e won’t make the leaders popular. The manager will be on the military drill when they are in a managerial role.

There are a lot of cases when people don’t respond to their boss, even if the orders are given to lead the team to success.

Also, most people want to have the level of ownership and creativity at some level.

The leadership does not allow such situations to occur.

2. The Style Eliminates the Innovation And Diversity

The leadership style is not that great an option to consider when diversity and innovation are important parts of the business.

The only option here matters, and it goes to those who are in charge of the leader position.

The people have to be disciplined if they try to bring their opinion to the discussion without having permission first.

Also, the permissions should be given directly from the leader. It provides the control to be leaders but limits the perspective as well.

3. The Leaders Have To Be Effective

The coercive style depends on the leaders and their ability to carry the rest of the disciples that they issue.

If they do not carry out the threat, it will undermine their position and also cause direct reports to stop taking orders.

This makes the workplace less productive and efficient.

4. The Style Can Increase The Employee Retaliations

The higher turnover can be the reason that the employees can do against the coercive leader.

If the employee feels that the leaders are using authority and abusing them,  this will cause a backlash, and they will end up leaving the job.

5. It Can Suffer The Long Time Productivity

Although the style can help in boosting productivity, it only says the short term, which can be sustained for a long time.

This also brings a lack of inspiration and unhappiness to the employee. This makes them disengage and less active in perfume the best.

6. The Style Micromanages Everything

Micromanaging is not great when it comes to boosting the morale of the employee. Also, it makes them less confident, and they don’t have the trust of the leader.

Apart from this, micromanagement makes productivity suffer, and it can bring more unsatisfied employees.

What Can The Leader Do Be A Better Coercive Leadership Style?

Maintaining the structure is a big advantage that you can get from coercive leadership styles.

Also, it challenges people to use this strength and make the best approach to complete the task the way it’s needed.

However, you can improve the style by following the points.

1. Establish a clear as well as effective rule that everyone can easily understand. Don’t make it complex or too difficult. This will also improve how they should behave.

2. Remain consistent when you are adopting the style. It’s important to be factual and use the data when you make the decision, as well as judgments. When you discuss the perforce, talk about what you are seeing instead of what you are thinking.

3. Recognize when the employees are doing well. If it’s successful, praise them and encourage them.

4. Provide the tools and knowledge that the team might need. Also, provide support as well as training so they have proper understanding and developed skills to perform the task.

Key Takeaways

  • The coercive leadership style is a highly directive and autocratic style of leadership that focuses on immediate compliance from subordinates.
  • The advantages of the coercive leadership style include quick decision-making, high performance, and the ability to turn around a crisis situation.
  • However, the disadvantages of the coercive leadership style include a negative work environment, low morale among subordinates, and reduced creativity and innovation.
  • The coercive leadership style is suitable for situations where immediate compliance is necessary, such as during a crisis, but it should not be the default leadership style.
  • Leaders who use a coercive leadership style should balance it with other leadership styles, such as democratic or transformational leadership, to create a positive work environment and encourage creativity and innovation.
  • Effective leaders should be able to adapt their leadership style to different situations and individuals to achieve the desired outcomes.


What is coercive leadership?

Coercive leadership is a leadership style where a leader uses force, threats, or punishment to motivate their team or achieve their goals. It is a highly directive style where the leader takes control and makes decisions without input from others.

What are some examples of coercive leadership?

Examples of coercive leadership may include a boss who uses fear or intimidation to push their team to meet deadlines, or a coach who yells at their players to motivate them to perform better.

What are the pros of coercive leadership?

Coercive leadership can be effective in situations where quick action is needed, such as during a crisis or emergency. It can also be useful when dealing with employees who are not performing well and need a strong push to improve.

What are the cons of coercive leadership?

The cons of coercive leadership include that it can lead to low morale, a lack of trust, and high turnover rates among team members. It can also stifle creativity and innovation, as team members may be hesitant to speak up or offer new ideas if they fear punishment or retribution.

Is coercive leadership always bad?

Coercive leadership can be effective in certain situations, such as during a crisis or when dealing with underperforming employees. However, it should be used sparingly and in combination with other leadership styles, as relying solely on coercion can have negative long-term effects on a team or organization.

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