What is autocratic leadership? How does this type of leader influence management?

What is autocratic leadership?  How does this type of leader influence management?

Table of Contents

Autocratic leadership is one in which control of decisions is centralized in the hands of a single individual. The figure of the leader is usually authoritarian, fearful and not very inclusive, because in his leadership style, orders are absolute.

It is a fact that leadership is one of the most demanded skills in the current job market. Some of the differential qualities of a good leader required by organizations around the world:

  • lead work teams efficiently;
  • optimize the operational flow;
  • improve the useful use of time;
  • potentiate the chances of billing;
  • strengthen employee satisfaction and motivation, among others.

There are several styles of leadership. One of the most common and perhaps even worrisome if misused is autocratic leadership.

Even though the term may sound negative at first, this type of command also has significant advantages. Just know when to apply it and what kind of audience it is most efficient with.

Follow the post, get to know the autocratic leadership in detail and understand when its adoption is a strategic differentiator. Good reading!

What is leadership?

Although many people associate this quality with the main executive positions in an organizational hierarchy, leadership is not tied to titles. This characteristic involves the way we think, act and influence someone, regardless of location or level of performance.

In other words, it has to do with the individual subjectivities of each one, so leadership does not develop automatically when occupying a position of greater social prestige.

Many managers do have this quality, however, it is a personal merit and not exclusively professional.

Leadership, when properly developed, has the ability to impact the people involved, either through respect or admiration. After all, a good leader strategically creates conditions to improve the flow of activities and, consequently, optimize results in any sector of the company.

In addition, its impact can be so decisive that even the quality of life of the team involved can be high, the organizational culture strengthened and the climate soothed.

What is the difference between boss and leader?

Another common mistake linked to the theme of leadership is the confusion between boss and leader. In short, a boss is not necessarily a leader and vice versa. Understand it better by analyzing some of its particularities below.


Boss is usually the owner of the enterprise or the professional who occupies superior hierarchical positions. It is common that it has characteristics such as:

  • not genuinely worrying about the team's well-being;
  • be authoritarian;
  • abuse the power offered by the position;
  • not listening to the opinion of other employees;
  • never be wrong and, consequently, put the error on the other;
  • point out the weaknesses and negative points of others;
  • criticize more than praise;
  • think your job is the most important.


A leader is usually an individual who captivates others for the quality and wisdom of his actions and thoughts. Example is your main motivating factor. In addition, he:

  • is concerned with the evolution of the team;
  • believes in the sense of team / team;
  • he assumes that he does not know everything and is willing to learn;
  • it is open to dialogue and exchange of views;
  • encourages the team through praise;
  • recognizes the qualities of the team;
  • takes responsibility for it;
  • understands that each member of the team has particular needs.

What is autocratic leadership?

Now that you know what leadership is and what the differences are between a boss and a leader, you have possibly identified some similarities between the boss and an autocratic leader. Is not it? But don't be confused, an autocratic leader is not necessarily a boss.

Autocratic leadership is an authoritarian command style that centralizes decision-making power and prevents the vision and opinion of other team members from influencing the organization's development.

However, even adopting a more controlling posture, it is a leadership. That is, qualities that impact the well-being and happiness of the team are employed and the decisions aim to optimize collective results.

A professional in autocratic leadership usually works on projects of newly hired or still inexperienced professionals. Therefore, its centralizing direction aims to:

  • guide organizational policies;
  • avoid mistakes;
  • preserve the use of time;
  • conduct the operational flow;
  • educate this new workforce.

Therefore, an autocratic leader can adopt attitudes such as:

  • clarity in the introduction of rules;
  • clarification of doubts and questions;
  • the recognition of individual and collective success;
  • public compliance with the efficiency of an activity or project, among others.

Thus, the autocratic leader takes a guiding posture, even if in a more centralized way.

In other words, this commander, despite being dogmatic, inflexible and absolute, ensures the results of the entire sector and has the respect of his work team.

After all, the immature profile of these novice professionals requires a manager to direct their work, step by step for each activity and make decisions for them.

If you want to know some tips to improve organizational leadership, we recommend reading the article: ‘Complete guide | 12 leadership tips for achieving excellence ‘.

What are the main characteristics of an autocratic leader?

Some of the main peculiarities of autocratic leadership are:

  • centralization of decision-making power;
  • team works according to the method developed and approved by the leader;
  • fixed, controlled and supervised operational structure;
  • exclusively operational participation of subordinates;
  • well-defined rewards and benefits structure;
  • strategic and tactical activities are restricted to the leader;
  • important tasks are not delegated;
  • greater dependence on the leader in the flow of activities;
  • accumulation of responsibilities for the leader.

What are the advantages of autocratic leadership?

Below are the advantages of adopting autocratic leadership in your company and structuring an efficient command to educate your teams in development and maturation.

Quick decisions

Decision-making gains speed because it is all done by a single person. In other words, as there is no need to discuss opinions, organize meetings to discuss possibilities. Thus, the flow of all activities is conducted with agility.

Development of logical reasoning

In addition, autocratic leadership encourages the use of logical reasoning. Faced with situations in which order is decisive, the leader must develop the ability to think about the macro scenario. Thus, in addition to being quick, decisions are also dynamic and assertive.

Relief in stressful situations

Another advantage of autocratic leadership is quick relief from stressful situations. This is only possible because the autocratic leader is able to make rational decisions, separating the emotional side. The use of common sense is one of its differential qualities.

Encouraging specialization

Autocratic leadership structures uniform operations, making the logic of the production line very clear. Thus, the degree of specialization of the professionals is stimulated, making the performance more expressive, the failures and errors less frequent and decreasing the expenses with training.

Better team performance

Another advantage of autocratic leadership is the improvement in employee performance. Under the command of an autocratic leader, inexperienced professionals and new hires develop a clearer understanding of organizational workflow and inevitably optimize their results.

What are the disadvantages of autocratic leadership?

Now look at the main disadvantages of the autocratic leadership style. Carelessness can lead a leader to become a boss. Understand below.

Conflict creation

As we are dealing with people who have feelings and many opinions, the emotional side can be a very significant problem for autocratic leadership.

The autocratic leader does not accept opinions and preferences, he dictates the rules and this inflexibility can be a great generator of conflicts and resentments. Consequently, workforce performance and satisfaction can be impacted.

Devaluation of subordinates

As we said, the inflexibility of autocratic leadership can influence employee motivation. Because their opinions are constantly discarded, they can see devaluation as a reality. As a result, it can stimulate an increase in turnover and make the overall yield less significant.

Great dependence on the leader

Another disadvantage of autocratic leadership is the high dependence on the leader. As there is a categorical centralization, the presence of the leader is a fundamental need for the flow of activities to work.

Failing that, all production is compromised, since proactivity is not a stimulated quality.

Less creativity

In autocratic leadership, the tactical part of the processes is developed exclusively by the leader, this means that the performance of employees is limited to operational activities.

Without the need to seek innovative solutions, to know the strategies used by the market, the workforce has its creativity restricted.

In this way, we can conclude that autocratic leadership is a very interesting style to lead more inexperienced professional teams that demand a firmer and more objective direction.

Even with more imperative and less flexible characteristics, its workforce can develop efficiently, know organizational policies with more quality and strengthen special skills.

Help your employees work better

In addition to defining the leadership style of the team, whether autocratic or otherwise, it is important to create a package of benefits that are consistent and reward employees fairly.

And innovating in this task can help employees work better and have a foothold in the company.

Get to know the HR Consultants UKy tool and learn how the system that implements payment on demand works, that is, employees of a company can anticipate part of their salaries when they need it.

This tool is changing the way employees deal with their wages and generating more job satisfaction and motivation.

HR Consultants UKy can be one of the most valued benefits for those who work at your company. Talk to an expert and find out more!

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