What is Autocratic Leadership?
Autocratic leaders expect obedience, not understanding and input from their staff or followers. Under the autocratic style, the leader is the maximum ruler and they make all the decisions without seeking any input from those below them. It is characterized by very little trust and management relies on threats and negative enforcement to get things done. Hitler is one of history's autocratic leaders and it is commonly said that Martha Steward uses the same iron fist to rule her company. This style of leadership, though, has been criticized terribly in the past few decades as the workforce has started to crave more input.
When is Autocratic Leadership Appropriate?
Despite the overwhelming amount of negativity surrounding this style of leadership there are certain instances when it can be the best suited option. When employees are largely untrained and insecure, the firm decisions that come down from an autocratic leader can be welcomed. When there is limited time to get results or if their is a power struggle arising from lower levels an autocratic style might be able to maintain order.
When is Autocratic Leadership Inappropriate?
In most instances, autocratic leadership must be taken in smaller doses. This style probably won't work for an extended period, especially in modern organizations because Generation X employees expect to have a different level of participation in the work environment and autocratic leaders eventually create fear and low employee morale, which are both counter-productive.