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Autocratic Leadership Style

The autocratic leadership style is definitely the style that we have the most exposure to! We are exposed to this particular style very early in our childhood: our parents used this style on a daily basis. It's not a coincidence that it's also the style that is most used within the professional arena. Generally speaking, when we are faced with a situation that leave us with the sense of not having control, most leaders will revert to using this authoritative style in an attempt to regain control or at least get the perception that they did!

Proper use of Autocratic Leadership

In general, we should only revert to the authoritative leadership style when one of the following conditions are met:

  1. The leader is the only one with the expertise to bring the task to completion.
  2. The employee(s) participation isn't required in the implementation of the task.
  3. The task is time bound.

Specific examples:

  • Dismissing someone from their function: Once the decision is made, there isn't anything that will change your mind and the decision is not up for debate.
  • Following a pre-defined process: Often seen in a production environment, where processes dictate the tasks as well as the order in which they must be completed.
  • Emergency situation: All emergency situations require that the leader leads with an authoritative manner to effectively deploy and direct their team.

Word of caution

I will allow myself a word of caution here since, from my perspective, the autocratic leadership style is the most miss-used leadership style. It is often falsely associated with personality traits that are questionable.

  • Overuse of the autocratic leadership style will have a negative impact on your employee's motivation. Therefore use this style only when the situation calls for it.
  • Your predominant leadership style should not be autocratic. If you find yourself as having a natural tendency towards it:
  • " Be vigilant during stressful times. You will be inclined to use the style that you are most comfortable with.
  • " Ask one of your trusted staff members to give you a sign when he or she feels that you are being too authoritative.
  • " Re-enforce your belief that times have changes and should minimize the use of autocratic leadership style.
  • Autocratic leaders, also referred to as authoritative leaders, can be respectful and empathic to others.
  • " Limit the use of autocratic leadership style to situations when they don't have the knowledge to deal with the issue any other way! For those that would perhaps be a victim due to the lack of knowledge, educate yourself so you will be better prepared in the future. You can certainly use the anonymous (use your real name only if you want to) Q & A section where all your questions will be answered.

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