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Autocratic vs Democratic Leadership Styles

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Autocratic vs Democratic Leadership Styles

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  • April 2013
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Autocratic vs. Democratic Leadership Styles
Most organisations exist for certain purposes and goals. Managers are responsible in ensuring that organisations achieve its objectives. This is simply done by assigning tasks to employees to perform. In the past several decades, experts have undergone a revolution in how they define leadership and their attitudes toward it. Leadership style has changed from a very classical autocratic approach to a very creative participative approach. This change does not mean that one style is better than the other; rather different styles are needed for different situations. Daft and Pirola-Merlo (2009) describe an autocratic leader (boss-centred) as one who tends to centralise authority and derives power from position, control of rewards and coercion. The autocratic leadership style is considered the classical approach where much power and decision making authority remains with the manager. Employees are neither consulted nor allowed to give any input but are expected to obey instructions without any explanations. This type of leadership is used in situations where the task is relatively simple or decisions have to be made quickly. This leadership style can result in low staff morale and has been greatly criticized during the past 30 years. Some studies say that organizations with many autocratic leaders have higher turnover and absenteeism than other organizations. Autocratic leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision-making or where the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the group. This style should normally only be used on rare occasions. If you have the time and want to gain more commitment and motivation from your employees, then you should use the participative style. Daft and Pirola-Merlo (2009) describe a democratic leader as one who delegates authority to others, encourages participation, relies on subordinates' knowledge for completion of tasks and depends on...