Autocratic Leadership – What Is It and Will It Work?



With rare exceptions one of the very worst types of leadership is autocratic leadership or sometimes referred to as authoritarian!

These types of leadership styles are much like a dictator! My way or the highway! They make most, if not all, decisions without any input from anyone else! They believe they know more than anyone else. Not trusting others also becomes a big part of why someone like this will not allow anyone else into the decision making process.















The problems with these types of leadership styles run deep! The autocratic leadership style by definition does not allow for any buy in from your staff. In addition, this type of leader by definition is not leading they are in fact pushing. The term leader means people are following you. If you are not allowing for anyone to follow you then it is very hard to claim to be a leader of any type.

So let’s take a look at how this type of leadership style might play out in a real life situation.

Let’s assume you have a business owner or CEO of a company sitting in their office making decisions for their staff in the field. They simply make a decision that one size fits all without receiving any input from the field.

This happens much too often in the business world today. Many refer to it as the flavor of the week. This simply put means that another program rolls out of the corporate office and is force fed to the field claiming that it will be a permanent change. Within just a short amount of time they discover it isn’t working and it fades away.

The sad news is that it may in fact be a good idea but because they didn’t bother to get any feedback and/or input from the field prior to rolling it out the field doesn’t embrace the idea with open arms. In my long career I have seen this over and over again. What a complete waste of money and time.

Any form of autocratic leadership or authoritarian within any organization with the exception of a military one will end in a disaster. As someone that served in the United States Marine Corps there is a time a place for these types of leadership styles. Within the Marine Corps when something needs to happen in a combat situation there is no room for sitting around and discussing it. It could and will cost lives if someone begins asking why are we doing it this way!

When I was going through Marine Corps boot camp you had better respond immediately to the Drill Instructor or you would pay a big price. I won’t go into what that meant since corporal punishment is frowned upon, but let’s just say they got your attention and held it.

However, in the business world autocratic leadership is not something that is going to work long term.


Thank you and May GOD Bless You!

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