Leadership Styles

Autocratic Leadership Style:

An autocratic leader centralizes power and decision making and exercises complete control over the subordinates with the threat of penalty and punishment.

The Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership Style:

In this type of leadership, the leader alone determines the policies and makes plans. He is the one who tells others what to do and even tells them how to do it. He relies on power and demands strict obedience. His formula of leading men is so what? Say or else. This clearly means that the employee will be punished if he does not follow the order. Autocratic form of leadership is disliked by the employees in this style of leadership the leader is the key person, little or no importance is paid to the other members of organization. The whole operation of the organization depends upon him. In the absence of the leader, the organization may function inadequately or may not function at all.

The autocratic leader is further classified to the following three types:

1) The hard boiled autocrat who uses heavily negative influences. He gives orders to his subordinates, who must follow them in any case. He does not take ‘no’ for an answer.
2) The benevolent autocrat who tries, and relies heavily on the positive leadership techniques. For example, praise and pats on the back. He does this in order to secure personal loyalty for achieving accepting of his own decision.
3) The manipulative autocrat who makes the subordinates feel that they are actually participating in decision making, though he is the one who takes the decisions.


1) This type of leadership results in increased efficiency, saving of time can get quick results.
2) When used in the appropriate sense this style of leadership can sail an organization smoothly out of a crisis.
3) The chain of comment and division of work under this style is clear and understood by all.


On the contrary it suffers from certain demerits. They are:
1) The communication is one way, without the element of feedback, which leads to misunderstanding, communication break downs and costly errors.
2) The human beings are treated like machines, without due importance and dignity. They express their resentment in the form of massive resistance, low morale and low productivity.

The Democratic or the Participative Leadership Style:

Here the leader tries to lead or guide his subordinates through persuasion instead of fear, status or force. He is a leader who encourages the participation the participation of his subordinates in the process of decision making. The entire group is involved in and accepts responsibility for goal setting and achievement. McGregor labeled this style as Theory Y. In this style of leadership subordinates have considerable freedom of action. The leader shows greater concern for the people of the organization than the concern for achieving high production. The task of the leader involves reducing intra-group conflicts and tensions. This he does by encouraging and reinforcing constructive inter-relationships among members. The leader is quite an important figure in a democratic situation, but he is not the key figure as in the autocratic style. He serves more as a coordinator or agent for the group. Here the group is not dependent upon him as an individual. The group can function effectively even in his absence.


1) When the members of the group have a say in the decision making and goal setting, they put in their best in order to achieve it.
2) The leader is always flooded in with best information, ideas, suggestions and talent of his group.
3) This style helps the people to develop, grow and rise in the organization


1) The participative style can take enormous amount of time.
2) If not exercised properly it may degenerate into a complete loss of leader’s control.
3) Some leaders may use this style as a way of avoiding responsibility and as a means to cover up their incompetence.