Other Types of Leadership: Autocratic Leadership Style


The autocratic leadership style is also known as the directive style of leadership.

An autocratic leader typically makes decisions on behalf of their team, telling them what to do, how to do it, and what is expected of them. They do not entertain suggestions from their team and expect full conformity to their instructions.

The Uses of the Autocratic Leadership Style

In a world where so many other forms of leadership are being used and discussed in the workplace, especially facilitative and democratic leadership, it seems like the autocratic style of leadership is outdated.

Yet, there is a place for such a form of leadership. Generally, autocratic leadership is needed when there is an extreme urgency to complete a task or full conformity from the team is necessary.


While listening to feedback is important, there comes a time where feedback is unnecessary given the circumstances.

One great example would be military leadership. In the military, orders from the top are expected to be followed to the T. There are no concessions or compromises; there is no room for discussion.

There is a simple reason for this: you cannot have your men question your orders or sit down to discuss in the war zone. A decision has to be made from the top, and that decision has to be followed through no matter what.

Any delay in executing the order could mean life or death in the battlefield.

Imagine a soldier requesting a focus group when the whole platoon is under fire in the trenches. It would be a joke, and a lot dead soldiers.

Should I Use Autocratic Leadership In My Team?

Nonetheless, it is unlikely you should be adopting autocratic leadership in your team. Every individual does have their unique perspectives on certain problems and issues and it’s always good to hear from others before coming to a judgment.

Autocratic leaders generally don’t do well in the workplace before they would come across as overbearing, insensitive and stubborn. They are often resented and avoided if they adopt this form of leadership.

In the workplace, a more facilitative or democratic style would be appreciated and enjoyed by the team; for they take into account the thoughts, opinions and feelings of all involved.

Other Theories of Types of Leadership

» Servant leadership
Servant leadership is not so much a style, but an attitude that a leader adopts. It finds its roots in the Bible.

» Strategic leadership
One would find strategic leadership in business organizations where change management is required and a strategic vision is necessary for the business to grow.

» Autocratic Leadership
An autocratic leadership style is somewhat like a directive leadership style; but autocratic leaders are generally more task oriented. They expect their task to be done and they do not consider their follower’s feelings in their decision-making.

» Democratic leadership
A democratic leadership style is in the opposite spectrum of the autocratic leadership style. Also known as the participative leadership style, this type of leaders generally seeks a consensus on the direction of a group. They are generally more people oriented and the feelings and thoughts of their followers matter to them.

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