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Leadership Styles: Autocratic Leadership vs. Authoritarian Leadership

Leadership Styles: Explore the key differences between Autocratic and Authoritarian leadership styles. Understand their decision-making approaches, communication styles, team involvement, and ideal scenarios to enhance your leadership skills and team management.

Autocratic leadership is an informal leadership style where the leader dictates to employees how they want projects/jobs to be carried out and the leader maintains ultimate decision-making authority. This leadership style is usually adopted by the military, corporate organizations and government institutions. Such leadership styles can be described as autocratic as the leader is seen as above the law.

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What is Autocratic Leadership?

Autocratic leaders are found to be less assertive and prone to micromanaging. They are also generally more likely to use power and control to enforce their vision, goals and policies.

A leadership style can have many forms but not all leadership styles are authoritarian. Authoritarian leadership involves controlling, dictating and demanding results from others.

This is because in the eyes of the leadership, individuals are viewed as less competent, capable and reliable. Leaders often place themselves above the law. Read about Laissez-Faire Leadership here.

Characteristics of Autocratic Leaders

On the other hand, autocratic leadership can be defined as leadership where there is no room for debate between the leader and his or her subordinates. Autocratic leaders tend to be harsh and unforgiving to those who are working for them. They also tend to impose strict deadlines and targets.

An autocratic leader may have some qualities that are admirable. These include an ability to influence people. Also, he or she may have the ability to motivate and inspire people.

But it’s important to remember that autocratic leadership is very risky because it can lead to the complete demise of an organization.

Where they can found?

This Type of leadership is most commonly found in companies where the leaders tend to have a narrow focus on a particular area and are known for micromanaging projects.

If you are thinking about applying for a leadership position or seeking a career in the company you are working for then it is important to check out the different leadership styles.

There are many leadership styles. You should be willing to try different styles in order to find what works best for you.

Autocratic leadership – A Dangerous Type

This kind of leadership is one of the most dangerous types of leadership style. It is a good idea to steer clear of leadership positions that involve autocratic leadership because it could lead to disaster.

You should avoid leadership positions that are staffed with autocrats. You should also avoid autocratic organizations because it can lead to your downfall.

As you know this leadership is dangerous because it leads to downfall. So how do you avoid being a victim of autocratic leadership? You should seek out a mentor or coach that has experience with autocratic leadership. You should also understand the benefits of autocratic leadership.

Advantages of the Autocratic Leadership

This kind of leadership can be advantageous because it can allow you to get more done in less time. and achieve things faster than others. However, in some cases autocratic leadership may cause problems if the leadership style is allowed to be used unchecked.

You should not only avoid this leadership in the workplace, you should also avoid this leadership in other areas of your life. For example, you may be afraid to be in the company of an autocrat because you may have trouble getting along with people who have a similar autocratic personality.

Another reason you might want to avoid this leadership is that it can lead to authoritarian management. Authoritarian management tends to be very harsh and very controlling. That can cause problems when in the company or even if you are working in a team environment.

Authoritarian Leadership

Authoritarian leadership is not something you should take lightly. There are many downsides to autocratic leadership so you will want to work hard to make sure that you avoid authoritarian leadership at all costs.

In many situations you must work together with your team or organization in order to create a team that is able to function effectively. autocratic leadership is not something you can use as part of your business strategy.

Comparison of Autocratic and Authoritarian Leadership

  1. Decision-Making Approach:
    • Autocratic Leadership: The decision-making process is centralized with the leader making all the decisions. While team input may sometimes be considered, final decisions rest solely on the leader. This can lead to quick decision-making, which can be advantageous in certain situations.
    • Authoritarian Leadership: Similar to autocratic leaders, authoritarian leaders also centralize decision-making. However, they typically do not consider their subordinates’ input at all, insisting on complete obedience without question or feedback.
  2. Communication Style:
    • Autocratic Leadership: Autocratic leaders typically communicate in a top-down manner. They provide explicit instructions to their subordinates about what needs to be done and how, often leaving little room for creative input.
    • Authoritarian Leadership: Communication under an authoritarian leader is generally one-way. Leaders give directives that must be followed without any discussion or debate. This style leaves virtually no room for creativity or innovation.
  3. Team Involvement:
    • Autocratic Leadership: While autocratic leaders make all the decisions, they may allow some level of team involvement in certain scenarios. However, the level of involvement is typically minimal and highly regulated.
    • Authoritarian Leadership: Authoritarian leaders do not involve their team in decision-making or problem-solving processes at all. They expect strict obedience to their directives without any form of questioning or feedback.
  4. Ideal Scenario:
    • Autocratic Leadership: This style works best in situations where quick and decisive action is needed, or in environments that require strict control and uniformity. However, overuse of this leadership style can lead to a decrease in team morale and creativity.
    • Authoritarian Leadership: Authoritarian leadership can be effective during crises or in highly structured environments where order and discipline are paramount. However, the lack of freedom and creativity can lead to resentment and low morale over time.

In summary, both leadership styles centralize decision-making and maintain control, but the key difference lies in the degree of feedback and autonomy allowed. Autocratic leaders may consider team input in certain situations, while authoritarian leaders demand absolute obedience without any feedback or questioning.

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