Authoritarian leadership, also known as autocratic leadership, is characterized by one person having complete decision-making authority and ultimate control over subordinates.
What is Authoritarian Leadership?
Authoritarian leadership, also known as autocratic leadership, refers to a managerial and leadership style where the leader exercises complete control and has total authority over his subordinates. In this leadership style, decision-making is undertaken by the leader alone, without consultation or involvement of his team members. The authoritarian leader assumes full responsibility for each decision that is made, and ultimately enforces the decisions on the team members.
This leadership style can be observed in various settings such as politics, military, and business. An authoritarian leader may believe that his subordinates are inept, and that the leader only knows how to make the best decision for the group.
How does an Authoritarian Leader Operate?
An authoritarian leader does not give much emphasis to the empowerment and participation of his subordinates in decision-making. Instead, the leader uses a top-down approach where he is always giving directives, closely supervising his subordinates, and maintains tight control over their work.
The communication in this leadership style usually flows downward – the leader communicates decisions and directions to the subordinates through orders, commands, and instructions. The subordinates may not be allowed to comment or provide input to the decisions made by their leader.
This leadership style often leads to a work environment that is characterised by high stress, low job satisfaction, and high employee turnover rates. Individuals who are under authoritarian leadership may feel demoralised, threatened, and unappreciated.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Authoritarian Leadership?
Like any other leadership style, the authoritarian leadership style has its advantages and disadvantages.
One of the advantages of authoritarian leadership is that the leader can make quick, informed decisions without wasting time on consultations or discussions. In situations that require urgent action, an autocratic leader may be the best leader to take charge.
Another advantage of authoritarian leadership is it can be beneficial in roles which require high levels of control and supervision, such as in the military or construction.
However, the disadvantages of authoritarian leadership outweigh the advantages as it creates a work environment that is stressful and unhappy. The leader’s controlling and rigid style can often lead to creativity being stifled, which can decrease the number of innovative ideas discussed.
Subordinates can feel unvalued and under-appreciated, which can lead to low job satisfaction and high staff turnover rates.
In The ruling, authoritarian leadership may work effectively in some situations, particularly where quick decision-making, and control, is necessary. However, in most work environments, this leadership style has too many disadvantages to create a positive and inspiring work environment. Encouraging employee empowerment, input and celebrating their ideas is an effective way to inspire a positive environment that drives innovation, growth and creates long-lasting relationships between managers and employees.