Autocratic Leadership and Democratic Leadership: Benefits and Disadvantages

If you have been recently promoted into a leadership role or you have seen your team work less efficiently in recent months, then you may need to learn more about the leadership styles that are most effective in running a company. Two of the most common approaches include autocratic leadership and democratic leadership styles. Keep reading to learn all about these two methods of managing a team.

What is Autocratic Leadership?

Autocratic leaders are ones who take on a more authoritative role at work. An article in Forbes reports that more businesses have been looking to embrace autocratic leadership styles among their workforce. Some have argued that the best leaders are more narcissistic and even deceptive in terms of their autocratic management style while ignoring democratic processes.

“A directive type of leadership, which has been called autocratic in the past, entails making all of the decisions yourself as the manager, directing your staff to follow specific directions, and expecting employees to complete all tasks on time,” states a prior blog called The Advantages and Disadvantages of Laissez-Faire Leadership.

An autocratic leader is one who embraces a strong, top-down leadership approach. Essentially, autocratic management entails one person managing all major decisions at a company or within a group while taking little or no input from team members. All final decisions are made by the leader and no advice or suggestions are given by others working alongside the manager. These leaders do not consult their team when making a decision or allow anyone under them to make an important decision. Once a choice has been made, the rest of the team is expected to obey the final decision.

In addition, some experts define the authoritarian style of leadership as someone who takes bold risks and challenges the status quo. Additionally, someone who follows a particular path regardless of the challenges that pop up tends to take a more authoritative view of leadership. Those with long-term plans and big ideas tend to take on a more autocratic leadership position.

>> Recommended reading: The 20 Best Leadership Books to Become a Better Leader

What are the Benefits of Autocratic Leadership?

There are a number of vital benefits to autocratic leadership, according to the Houston Chronicle. For example, the team will have a clear vision of expectations and where their project and company is going. Essentially, no one will be confused about the direction of a company or even the specific assignment they are working on. The mission of the company will be clear for all employees. Essentially, the autocratic leadership style does not take any second, contrary opinions into consideration, which makes the vision of the organization more straightforward. Those who contradict the manager often do not stay with the company for long.

Another major benefit is that everyone knows what is expected of him or her. The autocratic leader sets specific expectations of all employees working under him or her. For instance, the sales team may have certain goals they meet to sell the product and generate enough profit for the company. These type of goals allows all employees to better understand what is expected of them.

The autocratic leadership style also brings with it a faster decision-making process, which benefits the company and employees. Since only one person at the top is responsible for all major decisions, things tend to move more quickly in this type of environment. There may be a team of advisers who are consulted, but the person in charge makes all final decisions, which are then quickly implemented.

Lastly, the autocratic leader also has a stronger and more firm negotiation stance. The improved negotiation stance is linked to a leader who has specific financial interests and dollar values in mind and does not deviate from these expectations. The autocratic leader has confidence during negotiations and does not back down until the agreement is satisfactory.

>> Recommended reading: How to Create a Culture of Ownership Among Your Workforce

What are the Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership?

While there are various benefits to an autocratic leadership style, there are also a number of problems and disadvantages associated with it as well. For instance, among very professional and independent teams, this type of leadership can bring resentment, low morale, and even anger from employees, according to an article written by Talent Acquisition Specialist Renji Rajan for LinkedIn.

Too much scrutiny can make your employees feel inadequate and become more anxious than necessary. Additionally, too much of an authoritarian style can lead all group input to essentially disappear. In addition, within this type of leadership approach, no reward or recognition is ever really given to the employees working for the manager, according to The Economic Times. As such, this may hurt the workers’ morale.

Since this type of leadership style imitates that of a dictator, many argue that this will be damaging for employees in the long run. Essentially, this type of management style leads to low employee morale and can bring about reduced efficiency on the job among workers.

What is Democratic Leadership?

In contrast to autocratic leaders, democratic leadership entails a manager who is more in tune with his or her team and is able to share responsibility as well as decision-making and authority with those under him or her, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Another term for democratic leadership is participative leadership, which has received more attention than ever before in company training programs and management resources. Essentially, managers have been encouraged to open up their decision-making among their staff and work with others to develop plans and long-term goals.

Some key aspects define democratic leadership such as team decision-making, joint goal setting, and improved listening skills for two-way communication. The biggest aspect of being a democratic leader involves the manager including subordinates in decision-making. Some of the ways this is achieved is through open and honest communication, maintaining easy accessibility, improving development among employees, and showing consideration of others as well as supporting employees. Another important aspect of being a democratic leader is being willing to change.

Being in tune with the needs of subordinates is also an important part of democratic leadership. Research shows that trainings and education have led managers to change their leadership style and take on more democratic principles.

What are the Benefits of Democratic Leadership?

Some of the biggest benefits of democratic leadership is its stress on team involvement, participation, and engagement, according to a LinkedIn article written by Financial Analyst Surendra Jakhar. The performance of each employee is acknowledged and the best results among workers are rewarded. Essentially, there is a higher morale in an environment under democratic leadership.

Another benefit is that employees within this type of environment tend to be more productive and develop more innovative, creative ideas for the overall growth of the company. There is greater cooperation among workers under this type of leadership style.

Employees are more likely to notice their own achievements and set reasonable goals within a democratic environment. Therefore, workers are more likely to grow and advance in their career when their manager employs a democratic leadership style. Employees have greater job satisfaction in this type of work environment due to the collaboration and team building activities that take place.

In addition, employers who employ democratic leadership tend to offer greater flexibility and adaptation for their workers through a more open communication process. Employees are also likely to be more motivated by democratic leaders. By employing this style, you will bring more potential out of your workers.

>> Recommended reading: Best Qualities of a Good Leader and 5 Steps to Becoming

What are the Disadvantages of Democratic Leadership?

Along with the advantages of democratic leadership, it is vital to understand the misgivings and disadvantages of this type of leadership style. For example, if roles are unclear or deadlines are approaching fast, this type of management style can bring about unfinished projects and lead to communication mishaps.

Additionally, some employees may not be able to make the right contributions to decision-making in terms of a particular project especially if they lack the necessary skills or expertise. If employees are not highly skilled or experienced, this type of leadership style may not be very effective.

In addition, it may take a large amount of effort and time to come to a consensus when making decisions within a group. Sometimes this type of leadership leads to too many meetings where nothing is accomplished and people procrastinate because they are unable to come to a conclusion and act on a certain decision.

Along with these disadvantages, it is also ineffective to use democratic leadership when there is little time to make a decision or when it is not cost-effective to ask for everyone’s opinion. If the company is in a tough spot and cannot make any mistakes, this leadership style will not be very helpful.

How the Right Tools Boost Your Leadership Skills

Whether you choose a democratic leadership style or an autocratic one, the technology you utilize at your company could play a major role in your project management processes. Runrun.it software can help you accomplish your tasks and embrace the leadership style that is right for you.

You will be able to delegate assignments and plan long-term goals as well as everyday tasks by using this new system and its dashboards. In fact, you will be able to measure results and outcomes among your team members and reward those with the best results. Furthermore, you can test out this project management software program for free. Start a free trial by signing up at: http://runrun.it

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