Authoritarian Leadership Style

By Your Query Staff

Published on November 16, 2021
Updated on November 27, 2021

Do you think that the authoritarian leadership style is a good or bad thing? Or, is there anything that is good about being an authoritarian leader? If so, what is it? Well, we are here to deliver answers to all these facts. You know what; an authoritarian leadership, at first glance, seems to be really odd. However, it may appear as an effective form for the organization in some cases.


That is why; our article will take a route to introduce you to the entire aspects of this kind of leadership. Besides, it explores the ways authoritarian leadership styles differ from democratic ones. So, without spending much time here, let’s jump to the core phases.



Authoritarian Leadership Meaning


An authoritarian leadership style is a form of social influence that is characterized by a high degree of control over followers. In other words, leaders who exhibit authoritarian leadership styles use force or coercion to achieve their goals. This approach is commonly associated with dictatorships and strong-man leaders.


Usually, authoritarian leaders get their followers to follow their orders and get things done through punishments or rewards. They try to control information flow and make sure everyone is aware of what they are doing. In this way, they usually hold their superiority and tend to control the surrounding by their own wish.


Characteristics of Authoritarian Leadership


The characteristics of authoritarian leadership are the kinds of qualities, behaviors, and ways of thinking that allow someone to be an effective leader. While there is no clear definition for authoritarian leadership, many people think that it is the type of leadership that follows a command-and-control model.


In authoritarian political systems, leaders do not tolerate dissent. In fact, it is almost always against the law to challenge or criticize the leader. Here, we are up to describe the characteristics of authoritarian leadership and what makes them different from other types of leadership. Let’s have a walk on the lines given for you.


Sole Decision Maker:


It is not uncommon for an authoritarian leadership style where one makes all the important decisions in an organization. You know what, an authoritarian leader leads the organization to maximize short-term performance and ignore long-term planning. Their behavior comes from their authoritarian personality.


On the other hand, the nature of the leadership style also enhances this fact. He usually dominates others and keeps all decisions in his hand. Particularly, this leader takes advantage of what they can control, such as people's emotions, behavior, and skillsets.

 

Characteristics of Authoritarian Leadership

 

Denying Other’s View and Contribution:


In this style, authoritarian leaders are homely for their closed-mindedness and extreme behavior. They do not allow input from team members, even if the idea is one of the most brilliant. Besides, they do not care about the opinions of their team members.


Actually, they are very likely to ignore the opinions of their employees. Their goal is to take all the credit for the work done by their team members. However, when an authoritarian leader ignores employee input, it makes it harder for the organization to keep up with the competition.

 

Trust Issue:


In a way, leaders in authoritarian regimes generally distrust their colleagues. Therefore, it is improbable to ignore the fact that authoritarian leaders often have a hard time regarding this issue. Dictators may not have a problem with their employees, but these leaders are suspicious of their team members.
However, they only think highly of themselves. You know what; this mistrust creates tension within the organization and can even cause workplace conflicts. They view them as the sources of negative influence. Besides, the leaders find them as potential challengers to the authority that the leader holds.

 


Highly Structured Working Environment:


Authoritarian leaders ensure a highly structured working environment in an organization. In fact, they comprehend the importance of a well-structured process. They are able to create a work environment that is conducive to productivity and efficiency.


In addition, authoritarian leaders ensure that all employees follow their orders. Besides, the employees adhere to their guidelines for how the work needs to be done. Therefore, this leadership is a particularly effective one in organizations. It ensures high output from the employees with minimal discretion.


No Space for Out Of Box Thinking and Creativity:


Authoritarian leaders usually discourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in an organization. As authoritarian leaders like to surround themselves with yes-men, it is hard to find an out-of-the-box thinker. In fact, this leadership style blocks the space for creativity.


Moreover, they set the tone for creativity to be discouraged. Usually, they make workers feel that they cannot express their creative ideas. Truly, authoritarian leaders want only short-term solutions and immediately implement them in their organizations.


Poor Communication:


In some organizations, it is hard to find a clear communication system. It mostly happens in an organization that is run by an authoritarian leader. But, they should be aware of the communication problem and try to deal with it. Otherwise, it will harm the performance of the employees.


However, authoritarian leaders think that clear communication will make people confused and will make their organizations inefficient. It is because; they think that the workers must follow them blindly without thinking of any consequences. Thus, the organization exists with a poor communication system.



Authoritarian Leadership: Advantages and Disadvantages


Now, at this point, we can clearly state that authoritarian leadership is different from other forms of leadership. You know what; the authoritarian leader has a very strong and powerful personality and uses it to force his views on people. Many people believe authoritarian leadership is the most efficient form of leadership.


Well, the authoritarian leadership style also contains some drawbacks as well. The problem with this ethos is that it lacks clarity and understanding of human nature. The problems may be lessen in the practice of participative leadership style.The type of leadership we choose depends on our personal beliefs and values. However, we will enlighten you on both the advantages and disadvantages of this leadership style.


Advantages

 

Fast Decision Making:


According to a recent study, authoritarian leaders tend to make decisions faster than those who are more democratic. The research found that the time an authoritarian leader takes time to decide is less than half of the others. This quick decision-making enables authoritarian leaders to move ahead with their agendas.


 Usually, they take action as they wish without letting too many details creep into the situation. The authoritarian leaders who are more decisive produce better outcomes. Quick decision-making helps them reach their goals more quickly and therefore achieve higher levels of performance.


More Productivity:


Well, we cannot deny that authoritarian leadership is hard to deal with it. But the fact is, it’s not impossible to deal with and can be an advantage for productivity and efficiency. Why? Authoritarian leadership focuses on work and compliance over freedom and creativity.


While compliance may sound like a bad thing, it actually has its advantages in terms of productivity and efficiency. In a highly functioning authoritarian regime, productivity is a key advantage. You know what; it can help them get ahead of their competitors.

 

Dealing Crisis Situation Efficiently:


Every company has some kind of crisis. No matter how well it is prepared, even the best-run company can face a major setback. Crisis situations are part of life, and as such, everyone needs to be able to react effectively. An authoritarian leader makes sure that their employees engage themselves fully to deal the crisis situations.


Besides, he makes them capable of responding accurately in order to keep the organization moving forward. In addition, he often uses his power and authority to overcome the crisis. Therefore, efficacy in dealing with this kind of situation is an advantage of authoritarian leadership.


Consistent Outcome:


In a competitive business ambiance, it is all-metal to have a strong leader who can ensure that the organization achieves its goals. You know what; authoritarian leaders are often criticized for their blunt and rigid leadership style. Yet, recent research indicates that authoritarian regimes with consistent results ensure higher growth for organizations.


An authoritarian leadership style can be helpful. Autocratic leaders control their organizations by setting clear goals and expectations for the employees. In return, they expect them to deliver consistent results so as to motivate them towards greater performance.



Disadvantages


Probability of Revolt:


An authoritarian leader can have a negative impact on the workforce. A new study by researchers at the University of Essex has found clear evidence on it. This study says when employees are in an authoritarian environment, they’re more likely to rebel against their employers.


Besides, it further says, when people are in an authoritarian work environment, they are more likely to engage in unethical behavior. In the ambiance business world, it is exigent to keep track of changes within the workplace. Otherwise, one key factor may cause workers to rebel because of authoritarian leadership.

 

Employees Feel Insecurity:


The employees often feel unsafe regarding their job while working under an authoritarian leader. In an authoritarian regime, the leader’s authority may not be absolute. Therefore, employees feel that they have no choice but to obey their superiors in order to survive and thrive.


In this way, the authoritarian leader becomes a threat to the organization. He may be considered as a disruptive element. The problem with this kind of leadership is that it creates fear within the employee. They may feel very uncomfortable in such a working environment and thus leave.


Weakens The Morality:


During a recent study, researchers from the University of Michigan found that authoritarian leaders cause low morality among employees. In fact, those under an authoritarian leader have a significantly lower sense of accomplishment. The psychological seesaws that occur as a result of an authoritarian leader affect the overall ethics of the employees.


Therefore, these leaders are often portrayed as villainous individuals. They have a knack for inciting their followers against one another, creating divisions within teams and even between departments. It becomes stiff for employees to trust their co-workers and weakens their morality.


Poor Working Environment:


The authoritarian leader may create a poor working environment. It is because; an authoritarian leader will put his or her personal comfort above that of the organization’s employees. Furthermore, the experts suggest that this leader can lead the business to a crisis situation.


You know what; an authoritarian leader is a person who is familiar with the concept of centralized power. Such a leader often encourages his or her followers to obey him or her blindly. He creates an environment where people find it easy to do what they are told without much resistance.



Authoritarian Leadership Examples


Authoritarian leadership is a political system that exercises centralized control over the government and people. Authoritarian leaders use the power of law to manipulate and coerce citizens. They create authoritarian rules, ideologies, and laws to suppress dissidents. An autocratic leader usually does not represent the will of the majority but rather follows his vision or ideology.
In other words, an authoritarian leader does not have to be a dictator. Actually, many of the world’s most successful leaders have been authoritarian. For instance, Benjamin Franklin was an authoritarian leader who valued his team over his ego and always encouraged collaboration. In the same way, Abraham Lincoln was a dictator, but later, he turned into a great leader.
However, we can enhance the list as well. You know what; we can name many of authoritarian from today’s date. The new wave of authoritarian leaders who were elected in the 2018 midterm election has appeared. For instance, we can name Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. They are solid examples of modern-day authoritarian leadership.



Conclusion


Hopefully, we have accurately cleared your view on the authoritarian leadership style. You know what; this leadership style is one of the oldest types of leadership. Obviously, the authoritarian leaders are autocratic, controlling, and do not allow opposition. They are more prone to make decisions quickly without proper planning.


But, you can grab some good sides of this leadership, which can be really fruitful for the organizations. These authoritarian leaders can set positive examples in the form of benevolent leaders. Actually, their skills, personality, and positive willingness can ensure a better outcome for the organization and the employees.