How to Change to Autocratic Leadership (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The philosophy that supports your leadership style has the potential to improve your ability to lead and your team members' ability to accomplish their tasks. Autocratic leadership can benefit your team's work in a variety of ways, for example, increasing productivity and providing direction. Learning how to transition into an autocratic leadership style can help you and your team adjust to this new workflow with relative ease. In this article, we discuss how to change to an autocratic leadership style and provide tips on how to enact this change in your team's decision-making process.

How to change to autocratic leadership

The following steps provide guidance on how to change to autocratic leadership in your team:

1. Consider the increased responsibility

A significant aspect of autocratic leadership is the redesignation of responsibility within the team. Before you implement this form of leadership, first consider the amount of additional work you may have. This can help you determine if you're able to accomplish all of the necessary managerial tasks to maintain your team's productivity.

To make sure that you're ready to pursue this opportunity, consider whether you're able to offer strategic insight that may ultimately define your team's success. The autocratic style makes you responsible for managing any issues that your team is facing. You may be able to assert your decisions confidently, but you're usually responsible for the outcome of your decisions.

Related: 10 Leadership Role Examples (With Functions of Leadership)

2. Adjust your daily workflow

Once you've considered the amount of extra work you may have, you can begin planning how you want to adjust your workload. Develop a new workflow that allows you to accomplish all the necessary tasks and prioritise them. First of all, review all your tasks and organise them according to how frequently they're due. You can create lists for your daily, weekly and monthly tasks to simplify this process.

The next step is to begin building a calendar of events for the forthcoming months. This can help you adapt to your new schedule while ensuring that you fulfil your obligations on time. Consider listing all of the deadlines you currently have and estimating the amount of time that each project requires. It may be helpful to work backwards from the deadlines to establish blocks of time to work on these projects.

3. Establish a chain of command

You may occasionally be unable to work due to illness or unexpected additional responsibilities, making it a challenge to adhere to an autocratic leadership style. Therefore, it's advisable to establish a chain of command to ensure that your team is still able to function if you're unavailable. Your chain of command is an emergency support system consisting of team members who can temporarily accomplish your responsibilities. It also ensures that you maintain authority within your team when you return. Consider filling these roles with team members who agree with your leadership philosophies and understand how you implement them.

Related: 6 Leadership Skills for a Resume and How to Demonstrate Them

4. Lead a strategic meeting to discuss the changes

Once you've made the necessary preparations, you can communicate the planned changes to the team. You may consider holding a meeting to discuss the change in leadership style prior to enacting it. This can support your team members as they acclimatise to the change and learn more about how it may affect their workflow.

To make sure that you're able to answer any potential questions about the change, it may be helpful for you to perform the tasks first. This provides you with insight into the responsibilities and helps you to determine which team members may assist you. Informing your team members about changes may make them more comfortable with your decision-making in the future. This meeting may also establish a line of communication that can improve trust and morale during this transition period.

Benefits of autocratic leadership

To help you decide whether autocratic leadership would suit your team's workflow, consider the potential benefits of using this form of leadership:

Increases efficiency of the decision-making process

One of the principal benefits of autocratic decision-making is that you're able to adapt your team's workflow quickly. As the team implicitly agrees with the leader's decision-making process, the leader can implement changes without first communicating with the rest of the team. This can be particularly helpful if something is urgent and a quick response can offer the team a competitive advantage.

Autocratic leadership also consolidates the way the company presents itself publicly. The team's messaging is consistent because it always comes from a single person. The team may benefit from a strong central decision-maker who organises the group. This allows each team member to focus on their specific tasks and improve the quality of their output.

Related: 10 Types of Leadership Styles

Provides a central vision for the project

As a consequence of the centralised decision-making process, your team may also benefit from following a strong leader-based direction for the project. Every member of the group can orient their workflow around a single purpose that you define. This process can result in a highly efficient output across the entire team because every individual member is working towards the same goal.

Using this philosophy, you can define the team's new workflow in a variety of ways. One option is to delegate different aspects of a project to different team members to work towards the final goal. For example, in a project to open a new technology store, you can delegate finding a location for the store to one team member, building your store's website to another and creating advertisements to another.

Highlights a productive manager

Autocratic leadership can also highlight the abilities of a strong and productive team manager. This can be a useful method of determining the effectiveness of a manager's leadership philosophies. If they're particularly successful, the rest of the company may decide to apply them, ultimately improving the company's workflow. This style of leadership may require the leader to implement their philosophies comprehensively to succeed. With the support of their entire team, they could potentially accomplish more than if they submitted their idea to a larger committee.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

Tips for implementing autocratic leadership

Implementing autocratic leadership may be a complex process, but the team's productivity could greatly benefit from the effort. You may consider the following tips when transitioning to an autocratic leadership model:

Thoroughly research your argument

Transitioning between forms of leadership may be challenging for your team members and may potentially confuse them. You can avoid confusion by conducting extensive research on your preferred leadership style and presenting this information to them. This may involve demonstrating how autocratic leadership styles can benefit projects.

It's important that you're able to explain why this change is an improvement over your current workflow. Offer specific solutions to challenges that your team regularly faces and demonstrate how the autocratic leadership style makes these solutions possible. For example, you could argue that your team struggles with meeting deadlines due to a lack of direction. The autocratic system can help motivate them because each team member understands what their role is and knows the overall purpose of their work.

Related: Change Leadership Skills: Definition and Examples

Gain the support of your team for the transition

The purpose of performing the above research is to ensure that your team members support your decisions when you're in a position of authority. The autocratic leadership style is more likely to be successful when every team member wants to work towards the same goal. Therefore, it's essential that you can provide them with a compelling reason to follow your plan. If a team member doesn't agree with the plan, try to speak with them individually. They may be able to offer valuable insight that could strengthen your argument for an autocratic leadership style in the group.

Remain adaptable

Once you've made the transition to an autocratic leadership style, it's important to make sure that the structure remains adaptable. To keep your team competitive, consider revisiting your leadership preferences regularly. You can adapt your decision-making process to improve your team's workflow and ensure their continued success.

Explore more articles