An Autocratic Leadership Style

Categories: LeadershipTeam

1. Introduction


Autocratic leadership, also known as authoritarian leadership, is a leadership style characterized by individual control over all decisions and little input from group members. Autocratic leaders typically make choices based on their own ideas and judgments and rarely accept advice from followers. Autocratic leadership involves absolute, authoritarian control over a group. The objective of doing this project is to understand Autocratic Leadership Style in detail.

The title of the project is Autocratic Leadership Style

Autocratic describes a way of ruling, but not in a nice way.

An autocratic leader is one who rules with an iron fist; in other words — someone with the behaviour of a dictator. In an autocratic leadership style, the person in charge has total authority and control over decision making. By virtue of their position and job responsibilities, they not only control the efforts of the team, but monitor them for completion –often under close scrutiny This style is reminiscent of the earliest tribes and empires.

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Obviously, our historical movement toward democracy brings a negative connotation to autocracy, but in some situations, it is the most appropriate type of leadership.

That, of course, doesn’t mean a blank check to ignore the wellbeing of his subordinate. In an autocratic leadership style, the person in charge has total authority and control over decision making. By virtue of their position and job responsibilities, they not only control the efforts of the team, but monitor them for completion –often under close scrutiny This style is reminiscent of the earliest tribes and empires. Obviously, our historical movement toward democracy brings a negative connotation to autocracy, but in some situations, it is the most appropriate type of leadership. That, of course, doesn’t mean a blank check to ignore the wellbeing of his subordinate.

a. Introduction
b. Types of Leadership Styles
c. Autocratic Leadership Style
d. Characteristics of Autocratic Leadership Style
e. When to use Autocratic Leadership Style
f. Prone and corns of Autocratic Leadership Style
g. Case Study
h. Recommendation
i. Conclusion
j. Bibliography

For my project I have referred:-


There are basically 2 methods of research DESCRIPTIVE METHOD AND SCIENTIFIC METHOD. In my Project I will be using DESCRIPTIVE method. Secondary data method will be used for doing this project. Secondary data would the information collecting from the articles, internet, and books. After collecting that I have recommended interpretation of cause and effect.

2. Types of Leadership

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. As seen by the employees, it includes the total pattern of explicit and implicit actions performed by their leader (Newstrom, Davis, 1993). The first major study of leadership styles was performed in 1939 by Kurt Lewin who led a group of researchers to identify different styles of leadership (Lewin, Lippit, White, 1939). This early study has remained quite influential as it established the three major leadership styles: (U.S. Army, 1973): authoritarian or autocratic – the leader tells his or her employees what to do and how to do it, without getting their advice participative or democratic – the leader includes one or more employees in the decision making process, but the leader normally maintains the final decision making authority Delegative or laissez-fair – the leader allows the employees to make the decisions, however, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made Although good leaders use all three styles, with one of them normally dominant, bad leaders tend to stick with the one style, normally autocratic.


I want both of you to. .

This style is used when leaders tell their employees what they want done and how they want it accomplished, without getting the advice of their followers. Some of the appropriate conditions to use this style is when you have all the information to solve the problem, you are short on time, and/or your employees are well motivated. Some people tend to think of this style as a vehicle for yelling, using demeaning language, and leading by threats. This is not the authoritarian style, rather it is an abusive, unprofessional style called “bossing people around.” It has absolutely no place in a leader’s repertoire. The authoritarian style should normally only be used on rare occasions. If you have the time and want to gain more commitment and motivation from your employees, then you should use the participative style.

Participative or Democratic Leadership

Let’s work together to solve this. . .

This style involves the leader including one or more employees in the decision making process (determining what to do and how to do it). However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority. Using this style is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength that your employees will respect. This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts. A leader is not expected to know everything—this is why you employ knowledgeable and skilled people. Using this style is of mutual benefit as it allows them to become part of the team and allows you to make better decisions.

Delegative or Laissez-faire Leadership

You two take care of the problem while I go. . .

In this style, the leader allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyse the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. You cannot do everything! You must set priorities and delegate certain tasks. This is not a style to use so that you can blame others when things go wrong, rather this is a style to be used when you fully trust and have confidence in the people below you. Do not be afraid to use it, however, use it wisely! NOTE: Laissez-faire (or lais·ser faire) is the non-interference in the affairs of others. [French : laissez, second person pl. imperative of laisser, to let, allow + faire, to do.]

Transactional Leadership Style

The transactional style of leadership was first described by Max Weber in 1947 and then later described by Bernard Bass in 1981. Mainly used by management, transactional leaders focus their leadership on motivating followers through a system of rewards and punishments. There are two factors which form the basis for this system, Contingent Reward and management-by-exception. Contingent Reward Provides rewards, materialistic or psychological, for effort and recognizes good performance. Management-by-Exception allows the leader to maintain the status quo. The leader intervenes when subordinates do not meet acceptable performance levels and initiates corrective action to improve performance.

Management by exception helps reduce the workload of managers being that they are only called-in when workers deviate from course. This type of leader identifies the needs of their followers and gives rewards to satisfy those needs in exchange of certain level of performance. Transactional leaders focus on increasing the efficiency of established routines and procedures. They are more concerned with following existing rules than with making changes to the organization. A transactional leader establishes and standardizes practices that will help the organization reach: Maturity

Efficiency of operation
Increasing productivity.

Effect on work teams survey done by Jun Liu, Xiaoyu Liu and Xianju Zeng on the correlation of transactional leadership and how innovations can be affected by team emotions. The research was composed of 90 work teams, with a total of 460 members and 90 team leaders. The study found that there is a relationship between emotions, labor behavior and transactional leadership that affect for the team. Depending on the level of emotions of the team; this can affect the transactional leader in a positive or negative way. Transactional leaders work better in teams where there is a lower level of emotions going into the project. This is because individuals are able to Think freely when setting their emotions aside from their work. Have all of their focus on the given task.

A transactional leader is:
Negatively affected when the emotional level is high.
Positively affected when the emotional level is low.
Transactional leadership presents a form of strategic leadership that is important for the organizations development. Transactional leadership is essential for team innovativeness.

Transformational Leadership Style

A transformational leader is a type of person in which the leader is not limited by his or her followers’ perception. The main objective is to work to change or transform his or her followers’ needs and redirect their thinking. Leaders that follow the transformation style of leading, challenge and inspire their followers with a sense of purpose and excitement.[10] They also create a vision of what they aspire to be, and communicate this idea to others (their followers). According to Schultz and Schultz, there are three identified characteristics of a transformational leader:

Charismatic leadership has a broad knowledge of field, has a self-promoting personality, high/great energy level, and willing to take risk and use irregular strategies in order to stimulate their followers to think independently Individualized consideration

Intellectual stimulation

3. Autocratic Leadership Style

Authoritarian leaders are commonly referred to as autocratic leaders. They provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is also a clear divide between the leader and the followers. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group. Authoritarian leaders uphold stringent control over their followers by directly regulating rules, methodologies, and actions. Authoritarian leaders construct gaps and build distance between themselves and their followers with the intention of stressing role distinctions. This type of leadership dates back to the earliest tribes and empires.

It is often used in present day when there is little room for error, such as construction jobs or manufacturing jobs. Authoritarian leadership typically fosters little creativity in decision-making. Lewin also found that it is more difficult to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than from a democratic form to an authoritarian form of leadership. Abuse of this style is usually viewed as controlling, bossy and dictatorial. Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group discussion.

3.2 Views of Autocratic Leaders

A common belief of many authoritarian leaders is that followers require direct supervision at all times or else they would not operate effectively. This belief is in accordance with one of Douglas McGregor’s philosophical views of humankind, Theory X. This theory proposes that it is a leader’s role to coerce and control followers, because people have an inherent aversion for work and will abstain from it whenever possible. Theory X also postulates that people must be compelled through force, intimidation or authority, and controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to accomplish the organizational needs. In the minds of authoritarian leaders, people who are left to work autonomously will ultimately be unproductive. “Examples of authoritarian communicative behaviour include a police officer directing traffic, a teacher ordering a student to do his or her assignment, and a supervisor instructing a subordinate to clean a workstation.”

Communication Patterns of Authoritarian Leadership:

Downward, one-way communication (i.e. leaders to followers, or supervisors to subordinates) Controls discussion with followers
Dominates interaction
Independently/unilaterally sets policy and procedures
Individually directs the completion of tasks
Does not offer constant feedback
Rewards acquiescent obedient behavior and punishes erroneous actions Poor listener
Uses conflict for individual gain
Ways to Properly Incorporate Authoritarian Leadership:

Always explain rules- it allows your subordinates to complete the task you want done efficiently Be consistent- if you are to enforce rules and regulations, make sure to do so regularly so your subordinates take you seriously. This will form a stronger level of trust. Respect your subordinates – always recognized your subordinates efforts and achievements Educate your subordinates before enforcing rules – do not present them with any surprises. This can lead to problems in the future due to false communications. Listen to suggestions from your subordinates even if you do not incorporate them

Effects of Authoritarian Leadership Communication Styles: Increase in productivity when leader is present
Produces more accurate solutions when leaser is knowledgeable Is more positively accepted in larger groups
Enhances performance on simple tasks and decreases performance on complex tasks Increases aggression levels among followers
Increases turnover rates
Successful when there is a time urgency for completion of projects Improves the future work of those subordinates whose skills are not very applicable or helpful without the demands of another


Adolf Hitler was extremely authoritarian. He required the population of the Third Reich to accept everything that he said as absolute law, and was able to impose a death sentence on anyone who failed to do so. Hitler was obsessed with being in control, and with being the alpha male in a rigid male dominance hierarchy.

Characteristics of Autocratic Leadership

The major autocratic leadership style characteristics include: 1. The autocratic leader retains all power, authority, and control, and reserves the right to make all decisions. 2. Autocratic leaders distrust their subordinate’s ability, and closely supervise and control people under them. 3. Autocratic leaders involve themselves in detailed day-to-day activities, and rarely delegate or empower subordinates. 4. The autocratic leader adopts one-way communication. They do not consult with subordinates or give them a chance to provide their opinions, no matter the potential benefit of such inputs.

5. Autocratic leadership assumes that employee motivation comes not through empowerment, but by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments. 6. Autocratic leaders get work done by issuing threats and punishments and evoking fear. 7. The primary concern of autocratic leaders remains dealing with the work at hand and not on developmental activities. 8. Autocratic leaders assume full responsibility and take full credit for the work.

Advantages of Autocratic Leadership Style

the autocratic style is one of the most recognized forms of directive leadership. At first, the style seems to contradict many modern work environments that emphasize teamwork, group input and shared decision-making. However, certain conditions and specific industries, such as the military, manufacturing and construction, thrive when a leader takes tight control and makes most of the decisions, according to Leadership-Toolbox. Even so, the most effective autocratic leaders remember to communicate task expectations and to respect their followers.

Easy to Learn

The autocratic, or “do this or else,” type of leadership is intuitive, easy to learn and does not require specialized training or knowledge of leadership theory, according to Leadership-Toolbox. Autocratic leaders do not have to worry about recognizing and responding to followers’ emotions or try to meet different motivational needs of group members.


Dangerous work environments or situations requiring complicated tasks with no room for error, such as safety inspections, prosper under autocratic leadership since each depends on control. In addition, companies may turn to autocratic leadership for urgent short-term results, according to Money-Zine. For example, employees working through a company crisis may need one authoritative leader to call the shots and ensure tasks are completed correctly.

Good for Inexperienced or Unmotivated Workers

Depending on the industry, new employees may need specific instructions and close follow-up until they learn the job, according to Leadership-Toolbox. The autocratic leadership style is also good for low-skilled tasks, such as directing employees to make copies or file papers. In addition, according to LeadershipExpert, bosses may need to use the “do it or else” type of autocratic leadership to ensure that unmotivated employees complete their assigned tasks.

Autocratic leadership creates a centralized chain of command with heavy involvement of the leader in all gamuts of operations. This leads to the formation of a hub and spoken type of organizational structure that helps in many ways, such as: Getting things done quickly

Improving communication and logistics.
Better response to changes in the external environment

Putting forth a more coordinated approach toward fulfilling organizational goals Anticipating problems in advance, and better realization of consequences of an action by one section on other sections Proponents of the autocratic leadership style advocate it as an ideal method to extract high performance from employees without putting them under stress. They insist the close supervision and monitoring leads to a faster pace of work with less slack, where the leader assumes full responsibility for the decisions and actions, ultimately creating reduced stress for subordinates.

Drawbacks of the Autocratic Leadership Style

Increased Work Burden

Since they take full responsibility for team decisions and review of a team’s work, autocratic leaders are extremely busy, which can lead to high stress and even health problems, according to LeadershipExpert. Other leadership styles, such as participative or democratic, distribute some of the decision-making to certain group members.

Bad for Highly Skilled and Motivated Workers

Few people like to be told what to do, especially those who are already intrinsically motivated and understand the task at hand, according to Leadership Expert. An autocratic leader facing this type of group will dampen morale and will reduce his team’s creativity and productivity.

Autocratic leaders in this situation may not make the best decisions since they lack the group input from team members who have experience and skills. In addition, members of Generation Y, workers born in the mid-1970s to 1990s, usually do not respond well to autocratic leadership, according to Leadership Expert.

Leader Dependence

The autocratic style is most effective when the leader is present, according to Leadership Expert. Unlike the transformational style of leadership where followers become self-motivated to complete tasks, once the autocratic leader is gone, there is no guarantee that team members will keep working. The advantages of autocratic leadership notwithstanding, this leadership style has born the brunt of heavy criticism in the last three decades, where the move toward systems thinking and empowering people have led to the perception of “autocratic” and “centralized command” as negative and undesirable traits. Theory Y, the antithesis of Theory X assumes that ambitious and self-motivated employees enjoy their mental and physical work duties.

Such employees possess the ability for creative problem solving, but most organizations under-utilize their talents. Theory Y holds that employees seek and accept responsibility and exercise self-control and self-direction in accomplishing objectives, provided the conditions remain congenial for such an approach. The autocratic leadership style remains wholly unsuited for such Theory Y oriented workforces and does not rank among the modern leadership styles in a changing world.

Criticisms Levied Against Autocratic Leadership

The major criticisms levied against autocratic leadership include the following: 1. Contrary to claims of close supervision with detailed instructions to reduce stress and improve productivity, research suggests that such actions actually unmotivate employees, and cause them to becoming tense, fearful, or resentful. 2. Lack of involvement from the employee in the decision making process leads to employees not assuming ownership of their work, contributing to low morale, lack of commitment, and manifesting in high turnover, absenteeism, and work stoppage. 3. The heavily centralized command of autocratic leadership style ensures that the system depends entirely on the leader. If the leader is strong, capable, competent, and just, the organization functions smoothly, and if the leader is weak, incompetent, or has low ethical and moral standards, the entire organization suffers for the sake of a single leader. 4. All power vested with the leader leads to risk of leaders with low moral fiber exploiting employees, indulging in favoritism and discrimination, and the like.

5. Weak autocratic leaders tend to take decisions based on ego rather than sound management principles, and punish employees who dare to disagree with such decisions. 6. The leader reserving the right to make all decisions leads to subordinates becoming heavily dependent on the leader. The team thereby becomes useless in running operations if they lose contact with their leader, and absence of the leader leads to total collapse and shutdown of operations. 7. The one sided communication flow in an autocratic leadership style restricts the creative and leadership skills of the employees and prevents their development. This harms the organization as well, for the employees remain incapable of assuming greater responsibilities, or to perform anything outside the routine. 8. The autocratic leader, by taking all responsibility and involved heavily in day to day operations, remains forced to work at full capacity, leading to stress and other health problems. 9. Autocratic leaders usually remain unpopular and damage working relationships with colleagues. This leadership style is unsuited to build trusting relationships.

Application of Autocratic Leadership Style

A critique of autocratic leadership style reveals that it remains best suited in certain situations such as: 1. Occasions when the situation requires a strong centralized control with detailed orders and instructions, such as in the military or during surgery. 2. When leading an extremely large group, such as in assembly line factories, where the wide span of control not only makes it impossible but also counterproductive to elicit the views of all employees. 3. When followers are new or inexperienced, or lack the qualifications, skills, or talent to respond to any participative leadership styles, or remain unmotivated, and non committed workers. 4. During occasions of contingencies, emergencies and other situations warranting on the spot decisions.

5. When dealing or negotiating with external agencies or departments. The autocratic leadership style on the whole remains a short-term or quick fix approach to management. The ability to make decisions faster, while helping the organization in the short term, actually unskills the workforce leading to poor decision-making capability and productivity in the long run. This leadership style survives by default because it comes naturally to most leaders, especially in times of low morale or insubordination.

Case Study Business Leadership – A Study on Steve Jobs

Executive Summary

This assignment attempts to study the leadership of Steve Jobs. A visionary innovator, a marketing guru and an autocratic leader admired by many. The first part of the assignment will study and analyse how Jobs leadership is similar to the traits and models found in textbooks. Jobs is analysed by using McGregor’s theory X & Y. Jobs leadership traits and skills are compared with Stogdill’s theory while also looking at how Jobs applied contingency theory. The reports studies how Jobs changed Apple’s direction from an ailing company to a consumer giant. When Jobs speaks, everybody stops and listens to him, be it a meeting or a Worldwide Developer Conference. Jobs just had the charisma to capture people’s attention. Jobs autocratic leadership style was accepted by his employees, some may not have liked it but they stood with him and the company and never regretted their decision. The study also found Jobs to be a meticulous perfectionist.

Jobs never approves a product without fully testing them, him being a beta tester for all of Apple’s product had made sure Apple delivered what the market wanted. The second part of this study is set to look at the differences and compare the leadership skills of Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and Bill Gates. Jobs’ leadership skills were different from both Dell and Gates. Jobs lead Apple to its height with his own flair. His leadership style and character was unique and at times seems inappropriate but it has brought only positive growth to Apple and its employees. All three of them are iconic leaders, brought advancement to the organization they founded and strive for nothing lesser than the best. Finally, the study suggests and recommends what Jobs could have adopted to be a better leader.

Background of Apple Inc

The corporate history of Apple Inc is considered as a history of passion. It was begun by a pair of Stevens, i.e. Steven Wozniak and Steven Jobs together with Ronald Wayne, who combined their professional skills to create Apple Computer on 1st April 1976 with the release of the Apple I, the first Apple computer, in the same year. Since the establishment, Apple has been focusing on the consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers and the best-known products include Iphone, Ipad, Mac line of computers and other hardware and software products. And according one of the most recent brand study carried out by the global brands agency Millward Brown, Apple has overtaken Google as the world’s most valuable brand ( 2011).

Introduction to Steve Jobs

A revolutionary leader, an innovator of technology and a charismatic master showman, is the words that can be used to describe Steve Paul Jobs. Jobs has portrayed fine examples of leadership throughout his career. Being a young boy, he was attracted to electronic gadgets. Jobs has always been exploring way to improve technology. His ideas was said to be impossible and impractical has proven many critics and even his employees wsrong (Elliot, 2011a). Throughout his career he has influenced many leaders to join his team of innovative work force, namely John Scully, Jay Elliot, Andy Hertzfeld, Larry Tessler and Bob Belleville (Elliot, 2011b).

During his teenage life, the love for technology brought him and Steve Wozniak together. The duo later went on to start Apple (Isaacson, 2011a). Jobs has then lead Apple, Next and Pixar to their peak bringing futuristic inventions. Jobs was a great marketer, captivating millions of audience each time he is delivering a speech. Barrack Obama describes Jobs as a visionary, and amongst the greatest innovators of America (, 2011).

Steve Jobs’ leadership styles do match the theories from the text books and documented papers. Most of his qualities and traits if not all are linked to the theories from the text books. There are a small number of traits and qualities found in his leadership that opposes to the theories of text books but Jobs has managed to use his charisma and leadership skills to lead his followers and make them successful. McGregor and Gershenfeld (2006) have explained Theory X and Y Managers.

Appendix 2 shows the difference between Theory X and Theory Y individuals. Jobs is a Theory X manager, being self centred, emphasizing total control and inducing fear (Stewart, 2010). Jobs believes the expenditure of physical and mental effort is as natural as play or rest, this is seen his act of forming a team of talented and dedicated.

William, Mchugh & Mchugh, (2006) states that autocratic leaderships mean making managerial decisions without consulting others. Jobs held on to his authorities, makes decision and expects his employees to follow them without being questioned. Jobs also monitors that his instruction are followed by his employees. The autocratic leadership style has helped Apple to make quick decision and have an organized flow of activities. Job autocratic style is well balanced by his charismatic leadership, on a rare sight Jobs was also seen giving pep talk to an underperforming staff and subsequently inspiring him. Jobs was always trying to do his best for the betterment of the product and company and that went on to make Apple the company with the lowest staff turnover rates among technology firms. Jobs have portrayed self-directions to achieve committed objectives to his employees and he demanded the same from them.

Elliot (2011d) states that Jobs has demanded 16 hours work shift Monday to Sunday from his core team of developers and engineers, Jobs also would tell them not to bother coming to work on Monday if they did not turn up on weekends. Since young, Jobs was known by his parents and acquaintance for his creativity, high level ingenuity and imagination, even his pranks as a growing teenager. Jobs was also persuasive, during his comeback to Apple in 1997, he did several review sessions with the product team and key stakeholders. And upon completing them he has ordered all other products to be cancelled and to focus on his suggestion of new products consisting 4 quadrants labelled as consumer, pro, desktop and portable (HBR, 2012). Jobs’ power of influence was enormous, not only to the consumer but also his impact to other CEO’s. His influential power and leadership skills can be clearly seen when he advised Larry Page to only focus on five products at a time and discard the rest. Larry Page took his advice and told his employees to focus on Google+ and Android (HBR, 2012).

This had proven favourable to Google. As of 1st quarter of 2012, 59% of smart phones shipped are Google’s’ Android powered operating system (Forbes, 2012a), Appendix 4 shows the market share of mobile phone by operating system. There is nothing that is less important for Jobs. The design of a product and its functionality is as important as the way a worker at an Apple store treats its customers. Jobs demonstrates this by going to one particular store in Pasadena to inspect the new tiling work, being a perfectionist, Jobs wasn’t pleased with the tiles and also the workmanship. He ordered the work crew to tear up the flooring and demanded a complete redo (Elliot, 2011f). Jobs perfectionist attitude was also seen during his takeover of Pixar. During the production of Toy Story, Jobs felt that the storyline was not great enough and stopped the production for 5 months. While Jobs and his core team reworked the story line, Job paid the rest of the crew to do nothing for 5 month (Jobs, 2008).

Jobs portrays the traits of a traditional transactional leader, Jobs uses his authority and power of his leadership to use followers to complete his task (Burns, 1978). This is seen when Jobs took over the Macintosh development team after being kicked off Lisa. Jobs took over the team with no notice, he added new people to the group, called meeting and setting new directions. Despite the usage of keyboard to command the machine, Jobs wanted a control device to move the cursor, to click, drag and display a list of options, the team was not told how, but they knew only what Jobs wanted Jobs is full of ambition and achievement, when Jobs was sacked from his own company by John Scully, a leader that Jobs handpicked, Jobs started Pixar, with his leadership and marketing skills, Jobs later sold Pixar to Disney for USD 7.5 billion in 2006 (Anon, 2008). Jobs was also responsible for his action, when the Mac was almost completed for launch, Jobs told his engineers to remove the fan from the machine because it was too noisy and asked it to be improvised.

The engineers went on to ship the Mac without cooling fan and upon launching the Mac had overheating problems. Jobs took responsibility and went on to improvise the design and successfully made a quiet operating machine Managing change is often an unpleasant situation to be in for any human being. Returning to Apple after a decade, Jobs turned an ailing company to a company with stock valuation of USD 600 billion (CNN Money, 2012). Rogers, (1986) suggest individual generally can be divided into 5 categories consisting innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. Jobs was only interested in the innovators and early adopter to a certain extent.

Jobs achieved this by selecting and motivating his own management team, some of his management team members are his followers from previous company. Jobs told them to create innovative products and to think out of the box. He wanted the products to stand out from the current market offerings (CNN Money, 2008). Every situation is subjective and needs a personal influence of the leader. Jobs practised empowerment in his leadership, Jobs coaches his core team, counselled them, motivated them and at the same time was strict to them. Jobs has powerful people skills. Elliot, (2011j) justified this by saying Apple has the lowest staff turnover rate in the industry.

Leadership behaviours of Steve Jobs

In the early time before Steve Jobs left Apple, he led the company using a laissez-faire leadership style that was believed to contribute the creation of the technology-based products and many of which proved to be quite successful because of the environment brought by the laissez-faire leadership style and such environment did encourage the creativity of the employees (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor 2011, p.170). But there are also constrains of using laissez-faire leadership such as that it is confirmed as being connected with the reason for low productivity (Bass, B. M., Bass, R. & Bass, R. R. 2008, p.451). As for Apple, the laissez-faire leadership style of Steve Jobs become to some extent ineffective and had made the company in disadvantage when competing with IBM after IBM’s entry into the PC market. And this was one of the key reasons why Jobs was replaced by the tough John Scully who was known as a top-down decision maker (Clemens & Meyer 1987).

And after his return to Apple in 1996 when Apple announced that it would buy NeXT, Steve Jobs’ new company for $429 million, Steve Jobs came with the leadership with some differences. He still requested for perfection and he was manipulative and demanding which his employees described as “autocratic” but such autocratic leadership was focusing on the key project as himself was quoted saying that “My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better. My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects” (Kramer 2010).

Though laissez-faire leadership style and autocratic leadership behavior seems to be contradicting, they do co-exist in Steve Jobs’s management practices as the CEO of Apple which people explained as Steve Job is having a personalized leadership which means that his leadership behaviors serves primarily his own interests and obviously money is not the most important thing that he cares about resulting in his only focusing on the key projects in his vision leaving his other leadership roles untouched.

Recommendations for Steve Jobs

Jobs was a visionary, an example of great leader. Below are suggestion and recommendations how Jobs could have been a better leader. Jobs dedicated his life to work and his duty as a CEO. He lacked emotional intelligence, he does not care how others feel and does not want to listen to them talking anything else besides work. He only listened to their ideas and how it can help Apple grow (Kahney, 2008b). Davenport, (2008) described Jobs as corporate dictator who makes every decision, up to the extent of the food being served in cafeteria. Jobs should have opened himself to suggestion and improvement plans by his employees, this will not only help faster solve environment but also produce a better environment for the employees. Jobs classifies everyone into only two categories, it’s either a 3 digit IQ person or someone who does not measure up. Jobs should not stereotype people neither judge them without giving them a chance.

Jobs was a feared in Apple, employees would stammer while speaking to him, this does not means they aren’t smart or they are unproductive but this is due to the image Jobs has created for himself. However, this has also created a cult like devotion of Apple employees towards Jobs. Jobs could have been a more honest man, as this also reflects to his leadership, and as a leader it is never a good publicity to be caught lying or cheating as this reflects for a long time, in Jobs scenario, two significant examples which is still being discussed is when Jobs denied paternity, claiming he was sterile and infertile, this has made Lisa, the women he impregnate to live out of welfare (CNN Money, 2008) and another one is when Jobs lied to his partner, Wozniak when they successfully created a game call Breakout for Atari, Jobs was given a bonus of $5000 but Jobs only told Wozniak they received $750 (Businessweek, 2006).

Jobs is also known for being short tempered and using abusive language to his employees, he often scolds them and uses foul languages, (CNN Money, 2011). This does not promote a conducive environment to work in as Jobs scolds his employees in public and in front of their subordinates. This also will lead to low morale in individual and possible scenario of resignation. Jobs also should portray good qualities not only as a business leader but also as a good human being. Not giving back to the society is something of Jobs’s perception and decision. Kahney, (2008c) has mentioned that Jobs likes to park at handicapped spot and at times even taking up to 2 spots. Kahney even had a few photographs of Jobs’s parking etiquette. Leaders are meant to be followed, but by portraying bad examples and contrary moral practices defeats the purpose of a leader.


Jobs was a transformational leader, he brought change to Apple, challenged the stakeholders and demanded his employee’s to achieve impossible goals (Bryant, 2003). His autocratic leadership style was different from the other leaders. He was a demanding perfectionist and never took no for an answer. Steve grew up in an average family environment but he achieved what very few can come close to. His perseverance and never say no attitude has brought him and Apple to an unimaginable height. His leadership was deemed unhealthy by some critics but Jobs did not take the critics instead went to prove them wrong.

This study has analysed the traits and leadership quality of Jobs, compared him with leaders in Information Technology field and to critically analyse them. Jobs has dedicated his entire life to technological improvement, his research and development in Apple is never ending vouching for improvement and delivering the best experience for both commercial and corporate users. His diverse journey in different fields proves that Jobs is not a quitter and will not failure affect him one bit. Jobs would come back from a fall stronger than ever.

This study also has proven that Jobs is not only a genius creator, but a visionary leader and a marketing guru. His advertising and promotional campaigns have never failed to create another benchmark. His presentation and speeches has gathered another humongous group of followers mesmerized by his session. Marketing and public relation organizations have started to develop training courses to dub and emulate Jobs’s presentation method. Jobs a true genius, made his mark and conquered the world of mobility. He will be greatly missed, looked up as an idol and forever be the father of Apple.


Autocratic management is one of the types of management which is used in businesses and organizations all over the world. Autocratic management isn’t considered as a favourable approach in modern day leadership, but it can still be seen in practice and is a widely discussed leadership model, it is also one of the accepted types of management.

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An Autocratic Leadership Style. (2016, Apr 30). Retrieved from

An Autocratic Leadership Style
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