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Authoritarian Leadership

Authoritarian Leadership

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Published by Kat Ponce

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: Kat Ponce on Jun 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By Kurt Lewin
Submitted by:
Katrina P. PonceBSN4B-Group 8
In 1939, a group of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Lewin set out to identify different styles of leadership. While further research has identified more specific types of leadership, this early study wasvery influential and established three major leadership styles. In the study, schoolchildren were assignedto one of three groups with an authoritarian, democratic or laissez-fair leader. The children were thenled in an arts and crafts project while researchers observed the behaviour of children in response to thedifferent styles of leadership.Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leaders havecomplete power over their people. Staff and team members have little opportunity to makesuggestions, even if these would be in the team's or the organization's best interest.The benefit of autocratic leadership is that it's incredibly efficient. Decisions are made quickly, and workgets done.The downside is that most people resent being treated this way. Therefore, autocratic leadership oftenleads to high levels of absenteeism and high staff turnover. However, the style can be effective for someroutine and unskilled jobs: in these situations, the advantages of control may outweigh thedisadvantages.Autocratic leadership is often best used in crises, when decisions must be made quickly and withoutdissent. For instance, the military often uses an autocratic leadership style; top commanders areresponsible for quickly making complex decisions, which allows troops to focus their attention andenergy on performing their allotted tasks and missions.
Authoritarian leaders, also known as autocratic leaders provide clear expectations for what needs to bedone, when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is also a clear division between theleader and the followers. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no inputfrom the rest of the group.Researchers found that decision-making was less creative under authoritarian leadership. Lewin alsofound that it is more difficult to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than vice versa.Abuse of this style is usually viewed as controlling, bossy, and dictatorial.Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision-makingor where the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the group.
What Is Autocratic Leadership?
Autocratic leadership, also known as authoritarian leadership, is a leadership style characterized byindividual control over all decisions and little input from group members. Autocratic leaders typicallymake choices based on their own ideas and judgments and rarely accept advice from followers.Autocratic leadership involves absolute, authoritarian control over a group.
Characteristics of Autocratic Leadership
Some of the primary characteristics of autocratic leadership include:
Little or no input from group members
Leaders make the decisions
Group leaders dictate all the work methods and processes
Group members are rarely trusted with decisions or important tasks
Benefits of Autocratic Leadership:
Autocratic leadership can be beneficial in some instances, such as when decisions need to be madequickly without consulting with a large group of people. Some projects require strong leadership inorder to get things accomplished quickly and efficiently.Have you ever worked with a group of students or co-workers on a project that got derailed by poororganization, a lack of leadership, and an inability to set deadlines? If so, chances are that your grade or job performance suffered as a result. In such situations, a strong leader who utilizes an autocratic stylecan take charge of the group, assign tasks to different members, and establish solid deadlines forprojects to be finished.In situations that are particularly stressful, such as during military conflicts, group members may actuallyprefer an autocratic style. It allows members of the group to focus on performing specific tasks withoutworrying about making complex decisions. This also allows group members to become highly skilled atperforming certain duties, which can be beneficial to the group.Downsides of Autocratic LeadershipWhile autocratic leadership can be beneficial at times, there are also many instances where thisleadership style can be problematic. People who abuse an autocratic leadership style are often viewedas bossy, controlling, and dictatorial, which can lead to resentment among group members.Because autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting the group, people in the group may dislikethat they are unable to contribute ideas. Researchers have also found that autocratic leadership oftenresults in a lack of creative solutions to problems, which can ultimately hurt the performance of thegroup.While autocratic leadership does have some potential pitfalls, leaders can learn to use elements of thisstyle wisely. For example, an autocratic style can be used effectively in situations where the leader is themost knowledgeable member of the group or has access to information that other members of thegroup do not.

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