The autocratic leadership is the one defenestrated management style of the 21st century, in the interests of a more democratic and horizontal direction, but there are occasions in which a more authoritarian administration is the most valid option.
The revaluation of autocracy
In a society where the benefits of consensus and joint decision-making have been excessively idealized, it is necessary to revalue autocratic leadership as the most effective alternative for certain situations.
“If we are honest and rational, we must admit that there are probably many situations in which giving a person the unlimited power to make a decision for others is the best option,” says Rajeev Peshawaria in the article “Is Consensus Always A Good Thing?” published in Forbes. Imagine, if not, that a group of soldiers had to debate and agree on what action to take when they are attacking them.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by the leadership expert and CEO at the Iclif Leadership and Governance Center, 74% of the participants considered that the best leaders use autocratic behaviors. ” We must not forget that this type of leadership is integrated within the situational leadership, in which the manager adapts his management to the circumstances of each moment. Therefore, the problems linked to the autocracy do not come from the model itself, but from a misuse of the principles of the same. Even Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi have been autocratic leaders at some time in their lives.
The key is, therefore, in knowing how to analyze the needs of the moment. “We must remember that the unique decision power given to the right person, at the right time, in the right amount, is one of our most effective tools,” says Peshawaria.
When is autocratic leadership advisable?
Because of the characteristics of autocratic leadership, where power is concentrated in one person, its use in companies is recommended in the following situations:
- In crisis situations. As in the example of the military battalion, when a work team suffers a serious unforeseen event that requires immediate intervention, the fact that it is the leader who takes the reins of the situation will speed up the process, allowing to find a quick solution to the situation. crisis that prevents the negative effects from intensifying.
- In high risk projects. In a similar sense, in those sectors of activity where professional performance is dangerous, it is necessary to have an autocratic leader who indicates the direction to follow in a clear, direct and concise manner. It would be the case of the military or a group of workers specialized in demolitions.
- With inexperienced groups. In those cases in which the workers do not have enough experience or knowledge to undertake a project or it is a new training team, it is advisable that it is a person who holds the power of decision and guides the group towards the achievement of the objectives.
- In urgent projects. When it is important that a task is completed in a short period of time, the company can not afford to open a debate of the whole team, since it is likely that delivery will not be fulfilled. Therefore, the autocratic leadership is also more effective than the democratic under these terms.
- When there is little margin for error. In these cases, the autocratic leader will be in charge of establishing uniform guidelines and guidelines for all employees, so that the work is carried out without failures.
- In front of unmotivated templates. If the workers are not involved with the company’s objectives, they will hardly get the best out of themselves to achieve them. In this scenario, the autocratic leadership allows each employee to take charge of their tasks, thanks to the guidance and control of the manager.