Authoritarian Leadership Style

Although generally considered a traditional, outdated, and not preferred style of leadership, the autocratic style can still be used effectively in certain situations. It is a style of leadership characterized by absolute individual control over a group. If you work for an autocratic leader, your job is usually to do as you’re told. Learn more about this style and when it might be an effective style to use and when to avoid this type of approach. Analyze the characteristics of this style to assess whether your followers see you as an authoritative leader!

Authoritarian leadership style:

An ititary style of leadership is used when a leader dictates policies and procedures, decides on goals to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation from subordinates. Authoritarian leaders are commonly referred to as autocratic leaders. Direct supervision is what they believe is the key to maintaining a successful environment and following.

Fearing that supporters will be unproductive, authoritarian leaders keep a close watch and believe it is necessary for anything to be done. Authoritarian leaders use their power to influence and tend to be task-oriented. This is also referred to as the directive or controlling leadership style. Autocratic leadership allows for quick decision-making and eliminates arguments about how and why things are done. Autocratically run organizations generally do not support personal relationships, but are much more chain-of-command oriented.

Characteristics of authoritative leaders:

1. The authoritarian leadership style or the autocratic leader maintains strict and close control over the followers by maintaining strict regulation of the policies and procedures given to the followers.

2. Authoritative leaders provide clear expectations of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how it needs to be done.

3. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group. Staff and team members have little opportunity to make suggestions, even if these would be in the best interest of the team or organization

4. Authoritarian leaders exercise strict control over their followers by directly regulating rules, methodologies, and actions.

5. Authoritarian leaders create gaps and distance between themselves and their followers in an effort to emphasize role distinctions

6. Authoritarian leaders rarely encourage creativity in decision-making

7. Authoritarian leaders believe that followers need direct supervision at all times or they won’t function effectively

Authoritarian Leadership Communication Models:

  • One-way downward communication (i.e. leaders to followers or supervisors to subordinates)
  • Controls chat with subscribers
  • Dominates the interaction
  • Independently/unilaterally establishes policy and procedures
  • Individually directs the execution of tasks
  • Does not offer constant feedback
  • Rewards obedient behavior and punishes wrong actions
  • poor listener
  • Uses conflict for personal gain
  • Giving orders and assigning tasks without giving subordinates confidence
  • Intercommunication between members is weak
  • Instructions are given as commands, not suggestions