One must have often heard that autocratic or the authoritarian style of leadership is out of fashion and it is a huge negative if practiced. Well, not all that you hear is true. Although it can be said that it was a very famous practice a few hundred years ago but to say that it is out of style now is not justified. Autocratic leadership style is a style that is built on the foundation of disciple and control, which have be incorporated in all the organizations. These elements have not allowed the demise of this age-old style of leadership.
Authoritarian style of leadership is associated with the control on all decisions in the group. An autocratic leader is the one who decides what the goals are for all the team members and how these are to be achieved. In the style that was practiced years ago, the autocratic leader had full autonomy on his subordinates; the style that is practiced now is much more flexible. The key to being a successful autocratic leader in today’s time you have to be a phenomenal influencer so that you get to do the work your way without making the subordinates feel belittled or burdened. It is just like putting your words in another’s mouth without letting the have the taste of it.
In today’s corporate culture, an authoritative leadership has the capability to mobilize the team. He can envision a common goal for all the teammates and makes himself a friend to all. He has an influential and an inspiring persona that attracts everyone to him. An autocratic leader in today’s time has to be flexible. If he is successful in what he does, he can challenge the status quo and bring in all that needs to be changed in an organization making it even more efficient. However, strict dictatorial attitude is a strict no – no.
First and foremost, one has to understand that the role of an authoritarian leader is to give clear directions and making the right decisions. This style of leadership is proved to be very effective if any particular task has to be completed in great urgency and well within time. Structure and discipline are the pillars of foundation of this style of leadership. It is even better to adopt a situational style of leadership, being flexible when required and being headstrong and commanding as per the situations.
A manager should understand when he has to shift for the autocratic style of leadership. Few situations where this style can work wonders are:
Tasks that require Timely completion of work and where there is less time to plan a strategy.
Helpful when people are to be guided through the task and that too with clarity and structure
Rigid rules can help people stay well within the portals of requirements.
Teaching and coaching along with the authoritarian approach can help you take the organization to newer heights. It has to be more of delegating and less of directing in the modern style autocratic leadership.
One can be an effective autocratic leader without acting around bossy or cold. One should also avoid long-term use of it. It is better to use this style in intervals so that people do not feel pressurized all the time. Autocratic style of leadership is an ace card and has to be played with only when it is utmost important. In modern corporate world, this style cannot be the defining culture; it has to be a part of the culture.
Summary: Authoritarian style of leadership is an effective measure of getting things done well in time and in urgent situations. This style is not out of fashion but frequency of its use should less.