An autocratic leader exercises complete control over the subordinates. He centralizes power in himself and takes all decisions without consulting the subordinates. He dominates and drives his group through coercion and command. He loves power and never delegates authority. The leader gives orders and expects the subordinates to follow them ungrudgingly and unquestioningly. He uses rewards and holds threat of penalties to direct the subordinates.
Advantages of Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership
- Autocratic leadership style permits quick decision making.
- It provides strong motivation and satisfaction to the leader who dictates terms.
- Less competent subordinates are needed at lower levels.
- The style may yield positive results when promptness is required.
Disadvantages of Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership
- Autocratic style leads to frustration, low morale and conflict among subordinates.
- Subordinates tend to shirk responsibility and initiative.
- Full potential of subordinates and their creative ideas are not utilized.
- Organisational continuity is threatened in the absence of the leader because subordinates gets no opportunity for development.
Autocratic leadership style may be appropriate when subordinates are uneducated, unskilled and submissive. Lack of knowledge and experience on the part of subordinates make it necessary that the leader takes decisions himself. This style may also be desirable when the company endorses fear and punishment as accepted disciplinary techniques. When a leader prefers to be dominant in decision- making and there is little room for error in final accomplishment, autocratic leadership may enhance morale and improve productivity.