Leadership Styles : Dictatorship

You've probably run across a dictator in your life. Like the political leaders the name is borrowed from, dictators tend to keep decision-making power and most critical knowledge to themselves.

Characteristics of Dictatorship

Here is a list of typical characteristics of a dictator:

  • No questions asked. 

  • The dictator lays down the law in his or her group and expects individuals to perform without questioning his or her authority.

  • Knowledge is power. 

  • The dictator rightly believes that knowledge is one of the keys to power. For this reason, the dictator will often keep most of a unit or organization's critical knowledge to himself and dole out only small portions of information on a need-to-know basis.

  • No mistakes. 

  • The dictator expects performance to be of the highest quality at all times. Mistakes aren't tolerated. Mistakes usually result in dismissal or some other form of punishment for the individual.

When This Style Works Best

The dictator can be particularly effective when a group has gotten out of control and is making little or no effort to actually work. In such cases, the dictator can provide a wake-up call to team members that they are each individually responsible for carrying an equal share of the team's weight.


The Dictator's Downside


The dictator style of leadership can be hard for both the leader and the team members. The dictator is not known for creating a creative, trusting work environment. The dictator also runs an incredibly high risk of being disliked by his unit. The dictator will also not reap the benefits of his team's creativity. If the supervisor does not have knowledge of the team's status and objectives, team members may not be able to perform to the best of their abilities.

Caution: Be careful if you practice the dictator style of leadership. Because of the harshness required for this form of leadership, the leader is often perceived as oppressive and unfair.