12 Advantages and Disadvantages of Dictatorial Leadership Styles

The dictatorial leadership style focuses on the leader and no one else. It is a style of leadership where there is always personal control over the decision-making process for the team. A leader using this style may choose to receive feedback from their team, but any decision is theirs to make alone.

Dictatorial leaders tend to make decisions that are based on their own moral code. They combine their experiences, observations, and ideas together to create judgments. These judgments are then used to maintain absolute control over the group, often using rewards and punishments to generate loyalty.

This leadership style demands compliance and unquestioning support whenever an order is issued. Even if an organizational policy is different than the order given, dictatorial leaders will still expect compliance.

List of the Advantages of Dictatorial Leadership Styles

1. Dictatorial leaders can reduce the impact of mistakes.
The dictatorial leadership style forces the leader to create the framework for each project. They must outline specific steps for each worker to follow to create the outcomes that are envisioned. This process may increase the amount of work of the leader, but it also reduces the risks of a mistake occurring. Leaders are expected to always use best practices and closely supervise employees to ensure all orders are being followed.

2. This leadership style encourages short-term productivity increases.
When a team knows precisely what is expected of them, then they are more likely to achieve the results that are desired. Workers within a dictatorial leadership style have no room to question instructions, much less think about how to properly implement them. Over a short time period, this translates into a productivity increased because personal energies are directed toward project completion instead of troubleshooting.

3. There is clarity within the chain-of-command in this leadership style.
A dictatorial leadership outlines a clear chain-of-command which demands compliance. This eliminates the confusion some teams face when a leader steps away for a vacation or is called into a different project. Everyone knows their role and expectations. There is clarity given in every instruction.

4. Dictatorial leaders can produce consistent results.
Because best practices are always followed when completing tasks, a dictatorial leadership style is able to create consistency because each worker is following the same steps toward project completion. Individuality is discouraged because the task must be completed in a specific way. This type of leadership style is especially beneficial when certain codes, laws, or regulations must be met as part of the project requirements.

5. This leadership style makes decisions quickly.
In theory, a dictatorial leader could take as much time as a democratic leader to decide about something specific. In reality, most leaders using this style make their decision quickly, then run with it. These leaders can pull whatever resources they need to get a job done, allowing their teams to work on the specific instructions they are asked to follow when completing the project. The leaders choose, the team follows, and that allows the work to get done quickly.

6. There is direction provided for small groups.
When employees are working within a small group, no one may want to step into a leadership role. Using the dictatorial leadership style, a leader would be assigned to the group in such a situation. That reduces the delays that may be present with a lack of leadership, allows for tasks to be assigned, and provides the organization with a higher level of productivity.

List of the Disadvantages of Dictatorial Leadership Styles

1. There is mostly negative feedback given.
The dictatorial leadership style is focused on getting jobs done the right way, the first time around. If you fail or make a mistake, this is going to be pointed out to your immediately. If you perform the instructions as asked, then you are following orders as expected, and nothing is usually said. Because there is mostly negative feedback offered in this leadership style, many workers may feel like they can’t do anything right and may decide to leave the company.

2. Dictatorial leaders reduce the long-term morale of the group.
When workers are able to take some kind of ownership over their work they do, it gives them a positive feeling. They know that their creativity was able to make a difference for someone. Those positive feelings go away within this leadership style. Over time, even though productivity goes higher, the morale of the team goes lower. Criticism carries a heavy toll through stress, which ultimately reduces productivity. The leader will then typically blame the worker for what is going on, which restarts the cycle.

3. This leadership style is dependent upon the skills of the leader.
If a dictatorial leader is well-versed in the best practices of a workplace or industry, then this structure can be beneficial to some companies. When the leader is not experienced, then the company may find itself at a disadvantage. Dictatorial leaders do not usually consult with team members, even if the employee has more experience than the leader, which creates a reduced chance for success to occur.

4. There are more employees willing to leave the company.
When there are errors which need to be fixed, a dictatorial leadership style makes sense. Those errors can be corrected immediately. When this leadership style is practiced over a prolonged time period, workers begin to look for other jobs. They cannot move forward because the leaders are given specific long-term responsibilities. Even if it is only to make a bigger paycheck, the churn rate with this leadership style is one of the highest out of any leadership style currently practiced.

5. There can still be worker rebellion.
The dictatorial leadership style is often implemented as a way to maintain stronger controls over a team. Even with consistent micromanaging, however, leaders using this style may not catch every action an employee does. People get tired of leaders who are rude, bossy, and arrogant. When resentment festers within a worker, passive-aggressive behaviors tend to happen. That can result in unfavorable outcomes for the entire team.

6. This leadership style discourages innovation.
Unless directly requested by the leadership team, workers are discouraged from being creative or innovative with their work. In some situations, creative people are perceived as a threat, which causes the leaders to clamp down on what is permitted even further. Like most dictators, the dictatorial leadership style is focused more on retaining power and control than expanding opportunities for others.

The advantages and disadvantages of dictatorial leadership styles show us that a company may benefit in the short-term from it. Bigger profits and more productivity are certainly possible. It should only be used as a short-term fix, however, because the costs of this leadership style are often greater than its benefits when used for an extended time.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.