Autocratic Leadership Style
Can an authoritarian/autocratic/directive leadership style be appropriate in American companies currently? If yes/no, why?
It is first important to clarify what the term leadership means. According to Kinicki & Fugate (2012), “leadership is defined as ‘a social influence process in which the leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinates in an effort to reach organizational goals’” (p. 364). This means leadership involves exercising authority at individual, group, and organizational levels. Bass (2008) identifies positive leadership traits to include task competence, interpersonal competence, intuition, traits of character, biophysical traits, and personal traits. With this basic understanding of leadership, it can be said that the appropriateness of an autocratic leadership style depends on the type of company and situation at hand—the idea of situational leadership (Kinicki & Fugate, 2012, p. 370). Even though the United States is a democratic country, an autocratic leadership style fits some but not all companies, depending on what the company wants to accomplish and what the company’s circumstances are.
A manager with an autocratic style of leadership typically does all the decision-making without getting input from his/her subordinates (Rao, 2010, para. 3). Therefore, the manager is the authoritarian while all the subordinates are to simply follow instructions without giving their own thoughts or concerns about the task given to them. A benefit of this style is it can help provide structure and discipline to an otherwise inexperienced team, and also help a team stay on top of strict deadlines. Since the manager makes all the decisions, there is no time “wasted” on decision-making if there’s a time constraint. This type of leadership is also helpful when the manager has the highest amount of knowledge and could therefore specifically guide the subordinates on how to complete a task (Cherry), or when a type...
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