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Management Style

7 Examples of Authoritarian Leadership

Authoritarian leadership is a command and control style of leadership whereby a leader issues orders and will discipline their subordinates if these orders aren't executed to their expectations. This can be based on the management culture of an organization or the personal style of a manager. The following are illustrative examples of authoritarian leadership.

Command & Control

Command and control is a system whereby orders are issued by a formal authority known as a chain of command. These orders must be executed quickly and accurately or disciplinary action may result. This type of system may make sense in an organization that requires mechanical precision. However, it is a trade-off with elements such as creativity and productivity that tend to be much higher with competing forms of management.

Authoritarian Personality

An authoritarian personality is an individual who seeks social dominance through their unquestioning allegiance to an authority. Such an individual has absolute respect for authority which they express by oppressing their subordinates.

Internal Controls

Authoritarian leadership tend to implement a large number of internal controls such as processes, systems, rules and procedures. Rules and processes may be designed with little flexibility and implemented with aggressive monitoring.


Authoritarian leadership is based on control over freedom. In some cases, rules will be made that do not add value to the organization but are simply designed to eliminate freedoms. As most people naturally value their freedom, this tends to be an unhappy situation. For this reason, authoritarian leadership has trouble retaining talent in a competitive industry. Authoritarian leadership isn't commonly tolerated in industries that require talent who are in high demand.


Authoritarian leaders tend to be disciplinarians who are quick to hand out negative criticism and punishments. Again, this doesn't work in a knowledge economy where there is competition for talent.


Authoritarian leaders may seek to control every aspect of work.

Negative Tactics

Authoritarian leaders may employ negative tactics in their pursuit of control and power. For example, mushroom management whereby important information is intentionally withheld as a device of control. Authoritarian leaders are also likely to sideline talented team members they view as a threat or set them up to fail.
Overview: Authoritarian Leadership
A command and control style of leadership whereby a leader issues orders and will discipline their subordinates if these orders are executed to their expectations.
Related Concepts

Authoritarian Leadership

This is the complete list of articles we have written about authoritarian leadership.
Command & Control
Internal Controls
Leadership Style
Management Culture
Management Style
Set Up To Fail
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