Autocratic management style is the oldest of all types of leadership. When a manager, leader or the owner of a company is authoritarian or dictatorial, it is known as autocratic management style. The term autocratic or dictatorial is unpleasant and you may immediately infer that such a management style is unfair, bad and not good for anyone but the dictator. Well, that is not the truth. Steve Jobs had an autocratic management style. So did many other people who changed the world. Of course there are infamous leaders who have also changed the world with autocratic leadership.
Simplifying Autocratic Management Style
Let us discuss a few implications of autocratic management style to understand it.
- A leader, manager or business owner practicing such style of management will not allow anyone to have any opinion. Even if anyone has an opinion, there will be no suitable platform to share it. Even if someone has an opinion and shares it, that would be rejected without much consideration. In effect, there is only one man or woman whose words or opinions matter. The rest are just part of the flock that has to follow and do whatever is told.
- Autocratic management style relies heavily on bureaucracy or hierarchy. It uses a top-down decision making system. Everything is decided at the very top and the policies or impacts of the decision trickle down the hierarchy. While different people having certain places of recognition in the hierarchy may feel important or powerful, they actually have no power. Even the topmost executives don’t have much power. The one practicing autocratic management style reserves all power in the organization. But such management style is also practiced by junior midlevel managers.
- For any autocratic manager, it is the manager’s way or the highway.
When Autocratic Management Style Is The Only Way
There are many industries and various types of businesses where autocratic management style is the only way to run a successful enterprise. Running a large factory, be it in manufacturing or assembling, will require a degree of authoritarianism. Giving a voice to everyone or allowing some freedom to those who may not understand how to use that autonomy or liberty will lead to chaos.
Skilled industries or labor workforces often require dictatorial styles of functioning as they don’t have the necessary expertise to decide for themselves. Allowing people who cannot motivate themselves or don’t have the aptitude to call the shots to be responsible on their own will have disastrous consequences. And this is not an elitist perspective. It is just simple blunt reality.