Margaret Thatcher is the only female British prime minister in history and she had held the office for eleven long years, longest for any British prime minister. She was a very popular leader and she had her loyalists within the party but she was also disliked by many politicians and not in favor with a considerable section of the British population. She is arguably one of the most popular and also the most controversial British prime ministers of all times.
Margaret Thatcher was an autocratic leader. She was not a dictator, especially since she was chosen in a democratic system, but she was certainly an authoritative leader. Her authoritarian ways of leading the government had many takers. The Margaret Thatcher leadership style was what made her to be known as the Iron Lady. As with most approaches, methods or mindsets, the Margaret Thatcher leadership style had many advantages and a few shortcomings.
The autocratic Margaret Thatcher leadership style ensured that she was the decision maker in most cases, across several departments of the government. Being the sole decision maker and not entertaining many freewheeling opinions allowed her to do what she wanted to and without delay and without inefficiency. She was a confident leader, knew where her priorities laid and what they were, she did not waste time before deciding partly because she did not have to engage with dozens of people asking for their opinions and standpoints and she herself took charge of many ministries to ensure smoother and decisive functioning of the government.
The Margaret Thatcher leadership style was a grand success because she succeeded in doing many things, in bringing several reforms that were unthinkable in then Britain and she managed to lay the foundation for a new Britain, something she had envisioned and not many other politicians agreed to. From her decision on the Falklands War to privatization, she had been loved and hated for her leadership style.
The disadvantage of the Margaret Thatcher leadership style is that it is too centralized on one person. The eventuality is that if that person is wrong and if the leader fails to succeed, then the entire onus or the blame is upon the leader. There is no system where many people endeavor for the same goal and that makes the leader solely accountable.
The Margaret Thatcher leadership style works great when a leader knows exactly what she or he is doing. But if there is the faintest of possibilities that the leader is unsure then such an approach can be futile or completely counterproductive.