When a company or a nation seems to be drifting without direction, then the authoritarian leader has the perfect opportunity to step in and start to create change. Isolation makes the authoritarian leader effective and because everything tends to center with decisions made by the leader, the right journey can be found again. What makes the authoritarian unique is that they are also very adaptable. These leaders often show different leadership styles when necessary.
1. John F. Kennedy
Kennedy may be the embodiment of a situational leader, but his vision regarding where the United States needed to be to be competitive was spot on. In 1962, he announced that the US would put men onto the moon. The goal wasn’t to create new technologies, but to prove to America as a country that their vision would come out on top when compared to the rest of the world. He declared how these goals would be accomplished and although he didn’t live to see the fulfillment of these goals, it did eventually happen.
2. Bill Gates
Even though Gates focuses more on his foundation these days than Microsoft, his authoritarian leadership style drove the software manufacturer toward great heights. His vision was to make software that was easy enough for everyone to use, would work on the average home computer, and allow people to become productive in their own chosen way. Gates also saw where the industry was going and although Microsoft missed the mobile phone revolution, they are making a comeback with a Nokia partnership and a strong line of tablets.
3. Kim Jong-un
As the leader of one of the world’s most reclusive nations, North Korea, Kim Jong-un rules with an iron fist. Having known to execute those who don’t fully support him, the world is often viewed as being at war with him and his view is that he alone must lead his country into the fight. With everything coming through him, Kim Jong-un might be the best example of an authoritarian leader from a political standpoint right now.
4. Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK makes almost every leadership list and rightly so. As one of the Top 3 most influential people of the 20th century in multiple polls, the visions that he had of equal rights came out in his many speeches. The speech he gave about his dreams spoke to the inner chords of those who heard the words initially and they still resound today because they equate happiness with equality. He knew what the future could be and he invited everyone to come along for the ride toward the outcome of his vision.
5. Vladimir Putin
On a global stage, Putin might be the most powerful authoritarian leader that exists today. He certainly has checks and balances installed in government to make it seem like it is a democratically elected government, but most government officials admit that most legislation comes straight from Putin’s desk. His vision is simple: to restore Russia to its former glory from before the programs of Gorbachev that eventually let to the Soviet Union’s demise. His taking of Crimea and engagement of European and NATO forces only seems to show that the first steps of his plans are still being implemented.