Leadership style refers to how a manager or leader handles situations and relates to his subordinates. There is no right or wrong style of leadership; the best method for managing and leading people can vary greatly, depending on the work environment, objectives, and team dynamics.
An autocratic leadership style has advantages in situations where work must be completed quickly with a short response time, such as in military operations or construction. But in today’s corporate world this type of leadership style typically has a negative impact, leading to high rates of turnover, creating resentment from subordinates, and causing a lack of trust, low morale, and stifled creativity. In most situations, an overly autocratic leadership style will cause poor employee performance and negative results.
An autocratic leader is characterized as someone who manages by:
- Making decisions unilaterally without input from subordinates, meaning decisions only reflect the views and opinions of the manager.
- Getting things done with the use of threats or punishment.
- Holding full responsibility for all tasks and taking credit for work.
- Assuming employees will not take ownership of their work.
Leadership is not something that can be trained like a skill, but if autocratic leadership style is having a negative effect, there are steps that can be taken to help a manager or leader improve.
The most important step is collecting feedback from subordinates. Sometimes leaders may not even realise that employees are struggling to work as a result of their autocratic leadership style. Feedback and communication are the first steps towards identifying there is a problem. The issues cannot be addressed until the manager recognises he or she needs to change.
The best method of collecting feedback from subordinates in regards to their managers is through the use of 360 degree feedback. 360 feedback gives employees a safe environment where they can provide an open and honest analysis of their manager’s leadership style. 360 reviews also collect input from the manager’s peers and others who may have observed leadership traits secondhand. 360 degree feedback allows a manager to learn more about personal management style, strengths and weaknesses, what needs to improve, and if their leadership qualities are helping or hurting the team.
The next step towards improving an autocratic leadership style is to help the manager make small adjustments through coaching, discussions, seminars, books, and guidance. Encourage him to depend more on his team. Suggest things like reducing the number of status reports required or scheduling fewer meetings. Help an autocratic manager improve his delegation skills. Small changes over time will help an autocratic leader become a stronger leader who has the full support of his team and leads them to success.
SurveyShack specializes in HR tools and technology that helps achieve performance results. If you are interested in learning more about the 360 feedback process, check out our website or download our free white paper on the benefits of 360 degree feedback.
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