Autocratic Leadership: Definition, Characteristics, Advantages and Disadvantages

May 29, 2023


Written by UJJI Team

Introduction to Autocratic Leadership

14,033 people were polled by Leadership IQ on the traits of the ideal leader. According to the survey, roughly 21% of workers do perceive the advantages of autocratic leadership, particularly when the leader has a significant role in decision-making.

Autocratic leaders rarely take advice from their followers and frequently make decisions based on their opinions and judgements. Absolute, autocratic control over a group is a hallmark of autocratic leadership.

The autocratic style of leadership has both strengths and faults, like other leadership philosophies. Although people who rely on this strategy too much are frequently viewed as domineering or dictatorial, this degree of control can have advantages and be helpful in specific circumstances.

In this blog, we will take you through the autocratic leadership definition, its characteristics as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

What is Autocratic Leadership?

An autocratic management style is one in which only one person makes all the decisions and solicits very little feedback from the rest of the group. Autocratic leaders make decisions or choices based on their own beliefs and do not consult or seek input from others.

Businesses with fewer employees and a more modest size tend to have this kind of leadership style. Only in organisations where decision-making must be made quickly due to the nature of the task are autocratic leadership styles effective.

The decision and the result are entirely the leader's responsibility. Although it is regarded as a flexible leadership style, some would contend that it is now out of date.

Characteristics of Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leaders match a particular archetype quite well. They are viewed as serious, impolite, and annoying. Besides, autocratic leaders need to have certain amazing traits to be effective. The list is as follows:  


When you are an autocratic leader, you should be confident in yourself since that will inspire others to follow you and have faith in you. It is regarded as desirable when confidence is positively displayed. But, the leader exhibits an unhealthy tendency for overconfidence, such as during meetings. It does not allow for dialogue or the exchange of novel ideas, which is bad for business.   


Any task's outcome is the leader's responsibility under autocratic leadership. The leader is accountable for it, whether it's good or poor, and receives the appropriate praise or condemnation. Additionally, taking responsibility for your acts will increase your dependability.


Autocratic leaders follow a set structure when carrying out or going through any task. This also discusses a lot of the workplace culture and climate in that particular setting. The workplace is set up under an autocratic boss in a style that is extremely rigid and not very flexible.  


The fact that he is the only decision-maker in the organisation motivates an autocratic leader. Because of this, the decision's outcome—whether favourable or unfavourable—is entirely the leader's responsibility. Because the tasks and decisions feel personal, this inspires him to perform any assignment to the best of his abilities.


We all know that the top head, who is an autocratic leader, makes the last decision about any assignment. They set up the working environment to prevent conflicting regulations and achieve the most effectiveness. Not all CEOs, even so, stifle their team members' ingenuity or originality. The likelihood of the employees leaving the company increases if they do this.   


Since autocratic leaders make all the decisions, both achievements and failures are attributed to them. As a result, they are accountable for the results of all tasks and are also responsible for criticism and praise. While a good team leader will give credit when credit is due, there may also be times when team members are not given the recognition they deserve. Whether the trust is there may depend on this.    

Advantages of Autocratic Leadership

You must be questioning the advantages of autocratic leadership. Some of the best advantages of autocratic rule do exist, though. Check out those:

Guarantees quicker decision-making

Less administration and hierarchy are consulted before decisions are implemented in autocratic leadership. The management may or may not offer input because the leader is the only one who takes decisions. This ensures quicker decision-making, particularly in high-stress scenarios where a prompt resolution is required.

Increases communication at work

Information sharing between individuals is the definition of communication in the workplace. It becomes difficult to send reliable information when there are too many levels of communication. One-way communication is encouraged under autocratic leadership, which also ensures that the correct people receive the information.

The leader's ability to communicate objectives, goals, and other information to staff members facilitates and improves workplace communication. An autocratic boss frequently communicates directly with the workforce, assuring information accuracy.

Makes work more productive

Autocratic leaders can affect more productive project completion since they spread information fast throughout an organisation. An autocratic leader makes decisions and communicates them on time, making sure that the team has all the information they need to finish the project on schedule.

Additionally, a leader like this improves workplace efficiency by instructing staff members on what to do and how to meet deadlines. This procedure often leads to the consistent delivery of projects and has a significant impact on the employee's performance.

Decreases workplace stress

Even though they provide rules, laws, and norms for the workplace, autocratic leaders are crucial in reducing employee stress. These managers assume complete accountability for their work, which lessens the effort and pressure on the staff. Employees under an autocratic leader are accountable for adhering to rules and deadlines. This technique lowers employee stress levels, allowing them to stay engaged and productive at work.

Explains structures and jobs in detail

Autocratic leaders are skilled at creating specific work objectives that make it easier for team members to comprehend what they are expected to do. This clarifies for team members what is expected of them in their job description and eliminates any ambiguity of duties at work.

Makes crisis management better

Autocratic leaders are able to respond to and manage crises and stressful situations since they make the majority of the decisions in the company. When a leader exudes such confidence, the team generally feels more upbeat.

Results in happy workers at work

Leaders may produce great outcomes and raise the bottom line of the business by making wise workplace decisions. Thus, this form of leadership approach can aid them in achieving organisational goals.

Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership

There are some negative aspects to autocratic leadership as well. Cons of autocratic leadership include the following:


Micromanagement occurs when an autocratic boss checks on the smallest aspects of the task that their team members are doing. It becomes difficult for staff employees to carry out their obligations when bosses micromanage work and check every team's behaviour. Employees in this type of workplace culture are required to report on even the smallest tasks they complete. When this occurs, productivity levels may actually decrease instead of rising.

Increases reliance on the leader's abilities

The structure of autocratic leadership makes it challenging for many people to adapt to the workplace. The values and ethics of the leader have an impact on the culture and effectiveness of the organisation or team, which can lead to a toxic work environment. The result might not be good when an inexperienced leader adopts an autocratic style. For instance, no one can hold the leader responsible if they choose the wrong course of action.

Discourages a feedback culture

Autocratic leadership has the extra drawback of potentially discouraging team member feedback. Because they prefer to make decisions quickly, an autocratic leader may not be receptive to much feedback. The lack of a feedback culture in the workplace might inhibit innovation and creativity.

Makes people lose trust

Only when the team has confidence in the leaders can leaders build solid working connections with team members? Building a culture of trust becomes difficult if an autocratic leader feels that team members aren't performing up to expectations. Such a culture might not provide a long-lasting workplace, which would lower total output.

Establishes a stressful work atmosphere

Most decisions made by autocratic leaders affect their team, which may cause pressure, tension, and overwhelm. No team member has the authority to make decisions, thus it might have an impact on the rest of the team if a leader is ill or unable to make decisions with confidence. Although such a workplace climate might reduce team members' stress levels, it puts leaders under a lot of pressure.

Lowers a team's morale

Employing an autocratic style of leadership has more drawbacks of lowering employee morale. This is due to how little input from others is valued or sought after by autocratic leaders. An autocratic leader claims credit for the task that was accomplished by the group as a whole. Their team members can become discouraged as a result because they don't get enough credit.

Only effective in constrained work environments

Only in a specific type of workplace does an autocratic leadership style function. This leadership style can be adapted by organisations that adhere to rigorous hierarchies and structures. Because it requires managing and dealing with fewer personnel, small businesses can prosper under an autocratic leadership style.

How to Be Successful With Autocratic Leadership

The autocratic style can be helpful in some circumstances, but it also has its drawbacks and is not suitable in all circumstances or for all types of groups. You should keep certain things in mind whenever you are in a leadership position if this tends to be your preferred leadership style.

Celebrate Success

If your team only receives criticism for their errors and never receives praise for their accomplishments, they may soon lose motivation. Try to celebrate accomplishments more often than you criticise errors. Your team will accept your correction far more positively if you do this.

Offer supervision 

Once your subordinates are aware of the regulations, you need to make sure they have the training and skills necessary to do the assignments you provide them. Offer supervision and training to close this knowledge gap if they need more help.

Be consistent

Leaders who are inconsistent will swiftly lose the trust of their teams. Apply the laws you have set and uphold them. Show your team that you are a trustworthy leader and that you have earned their trust so that they are more inclined to follow your instructions.

Pay attention to team members

Although you might not agree with them or follow their counsel, subordinates must feel free to voice their concerns. Team members who work for autocratic leaders may feel overlooked or even dismissed. People can feel as if they are making a significant contribution to the group's aim by being given open-minded listening.

Set clear rules

You must first make sure that rules are properly stated and that every team member is completely aware of them if you expect them to be followed.


Although autocratic leadership can have some drawbacks, it can also have some positive aspects if used properly. When the leader is the most informed person in the group or has access to information that the other group members do not, for instance, an autocratic approach can be used successfully.

The knowledgeable leader can make judgements that are optimal for the group without wasting time discussing with team members who lack experience. Using autocratic leadership in particular circumstances is frequently when it works best. Using this style in conjunction with other strategies, such as democratic or transformational ones, can improve group performance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is autocratic leadership essential?

An autocratic leader makes decisions and communicates them on time, making sure that the team has all the information they need to finish the project on schedule. Additionally, a leader like this improves workplace efficiency by instructing staff members on what to do and how to meet deadlines.

What styles of leadership are autocratic?

There are also three main styles of autocratic leadership: paternalistic (strict but tempered with care and concern); permissive (slightly more flexible); and directing (rigid).

What distinguishes democratic leaders from autocrats?

All decisions are made by autocratic leaders. They do not consult with or delegate decision-making to their staff. They impose the choice after it has been made and demand compliance. Democratic leaders actively take part in decision-making, but they also consult others.

Which leader is regarded as autocratic?

What are the similarities between Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Elizabeth I, and Vladimir Putin? Each of them is an illustration of autocratic leadership, which occurs when a single leader imposes total, dictatorial control over a group or organisation, or in the case of these illustrious autocrats, large empires.

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