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Autocratic Leadership Explained in Simple Words

What is Autocratic Leadership? Pros and Cons? Autocratic Leadership Examples

What is Autocratic Leadership?

An Autocratic type of leadership is more commonly known as Authoritarian Leadership. This type of supervision is characterized by how a leader has full control over all of the decisions for a specific group of members.

Typically, Autocratic leaders base their decisions on their own judgments, ideas, and beliefs. They usually do not take their members’ opinions into consideration because they believe that their judgment is always correct.  

As an Autocratic leader, one is expected to discredit any input from other people within the group they are leading. Everything from methods, operations, delegations, and methods is all decided by the leader – nobody else can influence their decisions.

An Autocratic Leadership is extremely effective for a group or an organization that require a fast-paced method of decision-making. If there is a decision that has to be made immediately, an Autocratic leader can just decide based on what they believe is beneficial for the group.

In a nutshell, an Autocratic Leadership directly takes full control over a specific group. It can be viewed as an outdated form of leadership because the leader doesn’t hear the members’ voices before making a decision.

An Autocratic Leadership used to be the most common type of leadership in Ancient Times. It is reminiscent of the earliest empires, tribes, and communities that rely solely on their leader for guidance and decision-making.

Characteristics of Autocratic Leadership

Certain trait and characteristics encompass this type of leadership. Here are some of the most evident characteristics of an Autocratic Leadership style:

  • The Autocratic Leader only gets little to no input from the members of the group.
  • The leader makes all of the significant decisions for the whole group.
  • Autocratic Leadership sometimes breeds Dictators.
  • The group members often feel as if their opinions and needs are not important.
  • The group members are not given a chance to become creative on their own.

Benefits of an Autocratic Leadership

Well, this type of leadership often looks as if it is quite negative. However, it still possesses certain positive attributes that make it beneficial for a group.

Strong Leaders

For someone to become an Autocratic Leader, it is a requirement for them to be tough and strong. A group needs to be lead by someone with a strong personality because they will be responsible for the wellbeing of the whole group.

A strong leader can implement the rules and regulations within a certain group without any hassle. Unlike leaders with weak personalities, strong leaders are not afraid of being stricter when making sure that the law is being followed strictly.

Gives the Group Direction

Whenever the group feels distressed and uncertain, the Autocratic Leader usually gives them a sense of direction regarding what is about to happen and how it will affect the entire group. The leader keeps the whole group organized and more at ease.

Each member is also given a role that they have to play to function well for the whole group or organization. A leader enables them to have clear roles within the community with specific tasks to fulfill. Because of this, the community will run like a well-oiled machine.

Faster Decision-Making

Because only one person is responsible for making the decision for the entire organization, the decision-making process is significantly easier. Since the Autocratic Leader does not need to listen to other members’ input, they can just decide immediately right there and then.

Crises are Handled Effectively

Because there is an Autocratic Leader who is in charge, the group has the ability to fix issues more effectively. As long as there is a clear outline of how the leader decides how to resolve each crisis, the whole community will find it easier to navigate along the lines of difficulties.

The Downside of an Autocratic Leadership

Group Members’ Suggestions Aren’t Heard.

Because the Autocratic Leader is the one who makes all of the decisions, the group members often feel as if their thoughts and creativity are being neglected. Because of this, people are often condensed into feeling irrelevant and unneeded within the group.

Even though some members have amazing ideas on improving something within their organization or community, they are not heard by the leader because more often than not, Autocratic Leaders tend to only rely on their opinions when it comes to deciding whether something is correct or wrong.

The Leadership Style Hurts the Morale of the Group Members

In some cases, an Autocratic Leadership impairs the confidence and morale of the group members. It is a known fact that people feel happier if their opinions are considered and if their feelings are validated, but this type of leadership does not give the people this sense of recognition.

The Members Are Required to Depend On Their Leader

Let’s be honest; an Autocratic Leadership promotes the community’s dependence on their leader. Without their leader, the people would not know how to stand on their own feet and decide for their own good.

Whenever a member is facing an issue or a conflict, they must ask for help from their leader. Because of this, the concept of independence is completely taken away from group members.

Autocratic Leadership: Who Is It For?


An Autocratic Leadership style within the Military forces is commonly applied because the members often face life-or-death conflicts that need a quick resolution from their supervisors. Usually, they are in situations that are carefully constructed and studied. Therefore their supervisors need to guide them through their missions.

Because of their tasks’ sensitive nature, it is best for the Military forces to utilize an Autocratic Leadership style.


People like Engineers and Architects are the minds of a construction set-up, so it only fits them to be the leaders in these situations. They tell the head what they want to happen, and the head relays the message to the construction workers.

The construction workers are not supposed to do anything other than what they were told to do because it can seriously affect the construction of the building or the machine negatively.

Organizations That Need Fast-Paced Decision-Making

As mentioned earlier, groups that require quick pacing when making decisions benefit greatly when the type of leadership is Autocratic. This gives the leader the chance to make fast decisions without getting in arguments with the group members.

How to Be Successful In Using Autocratic Leadership Style

An effective Autocratic Leadership always prioritizes the members’ wellbeing before making any decision. By doing this, the leader is openly letting the people know that they will not put their safety and health on a tight rope.

This increases the members’ trust in their leader, and it puts them at ease that their leader won’t do anything that can affect them negatively.

Another thing that an Autocratic Leader has to remember is never to make any decisions based on their own emotions and don’t let their personal gains affect how they decide on certain issues. It is always important to put the organization first before anything else.

What is Autocratic Leadership?

Autocratic leaders base their decisions on their own judgments, ideas, and beliefs. They usually do not take their members’ opinions into consideration because they believe that their judgment is always correct.  

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About the author

Jess Man

Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diversity Advisor at Diversity Social. Jessica has over 10 years of working with and advising employers to be more diverse and create an inclusive working environment.
Jessica's experience spans private and non-profit sectors in multiple industries.
Jessica's expertise experience is beyond Diversity & Inclusion, she is also a certified professional IT recruiter in Data & Analytics, Database administration, Artificial Intelligence area.