The Thin Line Between charismatic and autocratic leader – opposing leadership

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An effective leader must be honest, open, and communicate with their followers. Their trustworthiness and integrity must be above reproach. They must exhibit confidence in their strengths and be willing to accept the input of others. Although leaders may exude confidence, authenticity, and intelligence, they should not allow their weaknesses to undermine their ability to lead.

An autocratic leader, also referred to as autocratic leadership, is a leading figure who takes responsibility for the team and the group as a whole. Their leadership style is characterized by little internal input by group members and total control over major decisions. The autocratic leader has little room for conflict and will usually make snap decisions. If a decision is questioned, they quickly answer that they are “the leader” and that “there’s nothing you can do about it”. The autocratic leader is strong, confident, and does not accept opposition or suggestion.

A charismatic leader exhibits strong leadership qualities and is highly communicative with his/her followers. Charismatic leadership requires great emotional intelligence and is extremely flexible. Leaders who are charismatic usually inspire confidence and are able to take charge and lead the group. On the other hand, charismatic leadership can also lead to mass confusion and a loss of control. Some charismatic leaders have a difficult time building respect within their organization and instead inspire obedience.

These two leadership styles are polar opposites; hence, the term “opposing leadership”. Each type of leader must adapt to his/her team members’ personality and beliefs in order to make the right decisions. Leaders must also understand that their actions, regardless of which style they exercise, have consequences for their followers.

Both autocratic leadership styles are based on the principle of power and authority. A boss gives orders, and his/her employees execute them through the team. It is the responsibility of the team to look out for the best interests of the company. In autocratic leadership, the leader makes decisions from the top down. Consequently, there is no room for ideas or opinions from below.

Although an autocratic leader realizes the need for confidentiality, he/she still needs to communicate with employees. If this is done through formal written communication, it provides a visible public forum for abuse. Moreover, the autocratic leadership style can also be a problem. It’s easy for a boss to make quick decisions without consulting others, and this may become disastrous in the long run. The leader should learn how to communicate with employees, listen carefully to suggestions, and decide in a timely manner. The team will benefit from a manager who takes his/her duties seriously and makes fast decisions.

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