Autocratic leadership, also called authoritarian leadership, is one of the elements present in negative leadership and generally occurs in people who occupy positions of power and not necessarily democratically appointed, but because of technical skills or experience in an area.
It can be complex to pigeonhole autocratic leadership in specific sectors. This is because it can be present in several at the same time. In any case, there are conditions that make its existence easier and one of them is the business world.
What is autocratic leadership?
As indicated in the definition of business leadership, the ideal is that people who occupy levels of importance in decision-making concentrate a set of three skills: personal, social and technical.
Characteristics of an autocratic leader
It is precisely technical skills that usually allow the existence of an authoritarian leader; have excellent technical conditions, which justifies their position and the inferior treatment towards the other members of the team.
In any case, among the characteristics of autocratic leadership are:
- Decide without taking into account the decisions of others.
- It dictates how all the processes must be carried out.
- He usually has a technical ability that justifies, as has already been said, his position.
- His social skills do not stand out and he does not know how to empathize.
- He believes that there is no one better than him to make decisions.
- It appears more frequently in undemocratic contexts.
- Notwithstanding the above, autocratic leadership can also occur in democratic contexts, but it is less likely.
Given that in a leader election scenario, there are antecedents that will make voters determine who should play the lead role. In this sense, these arguments are based on charisma, social and personal relationships. Unless, yes, this leader had used a strategy of persuasion through charisma and then in the daily work he had changed his attitude.
In summary, authoritarian leaderships are generally based on some type of appointment for technical competencies in rigid institutions that have not yet identified the importance of human relations in their selection processes of people.
Due to the above, it is important that these institutions understand the relevance of achieving excellence through motivation for a purpose, rather than just following the orders of a person who was designated to meet objectives.
Example of autocratic leadership
To exemplify, supposing that in a bank most of its workers come from the area of administration, accounting and finance, many will have the skills to tackle a technical problem and propose solutions, but the manager of an authoritarian type will support his arguments in his position, in phrases like “it will be done this way because I am the boss.”
Bank employees will understand this as “he is the manager and for some reason, he is there”, but there is no other personal reason to believe in him because he does not convey confidence in what he knows, but rather imposes it. That is when an autocratic leadership can be differentiated from a business one, because that leader only plays a role, but does not involve the team. In this way, you are wasting a valuable opportunity to improve the quality of your decisions, since your employees could be an engine that supports the needs that must be addressed from all levels.