How to Choose Between Autocratic and Democratic Management Styles

How to Choose Between Autocratic and Democratic Management Styles


If you’re a leader and manager, you’ve probably encountered the question of whether to be autocratic or democratic in your management style. As with most things in life, the answers aren’t always clear-cut—the type of project, the people involved, and even your personality can come into play. But if you’re looking for some general guidelines on which is better when, we’ve got that covered here.

Autocratic management style

As the name suggests, an autocratic management style is one where the manager makes all decisions and delegates little authority to his or her employees. This type of leader usually has a clear vision for the company’s future, so they don’t rely heavily on input from their team members when making decisions. They may choose not to communicate with their team at all because they have already decided what needs to happen next–and they expect employees’ compliance without question.

An autocratic manager will often use fear as motivation for employees: “If you don’t do what I say,” says this type of boss, “then there will be repercussions.” In other words: “Do as I say or else!” For example, if an employee doesn’t perform well enough in his or her role (or fails some other metric), then he or she might find himself/herself out on his or her ear quickly with little warning.*

Democratic management style

The democratic management style is characterized by an open, participatory approach to decision making. The boss is not the only one who has a say in how things are done; employees are also empowered to participate and contribute their ideas. In this type of environment, everyone works together as a team and encourages each other’s creativity and innovation.

When to use an autocratic or democratic management style

In order to determine which management style is best for you and your team, it’s important to consider the current state of your business. There are two main factors that can help you make this decision:

  • The type of crisis you’re facing (if any). If you’re facing a major crisis, such as a natural disaster or economic downturn, then an autocratic style may be more effective because it allows for quick decisions without having to consult with everyone on the team every step of the way. However, if there isn’t any immediate threat or emergency at hand and your company is operating smoothly under its current leadership structure–or if things aren’t going well at all–then switching over to democratic leadership might be worth exploring.
  • The amount of growth happening within your organization right now. If growth has slowed down significantly since its peak period in previous years (or even decades), then implementing more democratic practices will likely yield better results than sticking with what worked before; however, if there’s still plenty of room left before reaching capacity levels again thanks to recent expansions or new product launches hitting shelves soon enough before those same capacity levels are reached once again with demand exceeding supply again like clockwork every single year without fail duelling season comes around.”

Companies need to know when one management style is better than the other.

The answer is not a simple one. It depends on the situation, and it’s important to know when each style is more effective. For example, an autocratic management style might be better for delegating tasks and making decisions quickly. However, this type of management doesn’t allow employees any input or feedback on projects–which could lead to frustration if they feel like they’re being ignored or micromanaged by their boss. On the other hand, democratic managers tend to build strong relationships with their staff members because they involve them in decision-making processes from start to finish (or at least as much as possible). This can help create trust between manager and employee–but again means that the employee isn’t able to make all his own decisions without first discussing them with others first; which may slow down progress if there aren’t enough hours in the day!

The key takeaway here is that companies need both types of leadership styles: one for when things get busy at work; another for when things get slow so everyone has time for reflection.”


Now that you know the difference between autocratic and democratic management styles, it’s time to decide which one is right for your company. There are many factors that go into this decision, but one thing remains clear: if you want employees to be more productive and engaged in their work, they need to feel like they have some control over what happens around them.

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