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Strengths and Weaknesses of an Authoritarian Leadership Style

When it comes to leadership style in the workplace, there are many approaches that people take, but styles tend to fall into three key categories: democratic, laissez-faire and authoritative.

Manhattan College's online Master's in Organizational Leadership will give you the skills to unlock your leadership potential, but here, we explore the strengths and weaknesses of the authoritarian leadership model.

Authoritarian Characteristics

An authoritative leader tends to make all the decisions for a group, including workload capacity, scheduling, type of duties involved and functions of each team member.


There is remarkable efficiency in this leadership style. Team members don’t have to guess how a leader feels or what’s required in a job role. The expectations are articulated in a clear and precise manner, and deviations from that path are corrected quickly.

For some team members, that confidence is refreshing. It allows them to work in a way that’s well-defined. The authoritarian leader is adept at setting goals, defining workload and communicating project needs.

Team members may appreciate the clarity that comes with that approach, especially employees who feel uncomfortable making significant decisions on their own.


Although the authoritarian leadership approach is the one most often found in the American workplace, it can present a number of challenges for both the leader and team members.

Being the ultimate authority can lead to demoralized employees who will expend minimum effort in their jobs. They won’t feel inspired, creative or motivated to do more than what’s asked, and that can stifle growth and innovation.

Also, employees may know more about a certain subject matter than the leader. If that happens and the authoritarian leadership style is still maintained, there could be serious missteps in terms of strategy and execution on a project.

Career Tracks

There are a number of career opportunities for those who display an authoritative style. Most notably, a CEO position can be attractive because it allows for full control of a business.

But even if you’re not at the head of the company, you could use authoritarian methods as a military leader, correctional officer or team leader of an international group.

Basically, any position that requires all decisions to be routed through one person is ideal for an authoritative style.

Preparing for Leadership

To learn more about your leadership style and the strengths and areas of opportunity associated with each, take the Leadership Quiz from Manhattan College.

When considering the best approach for how to be a leader, it’s vital to cultivate expertise and insights that allow you to make a choice that’s right for you.

A comprehensive program like the Online M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Manhattan College covers different leadership styles in depth and provides collaborative, experiential learning that transfers to real-life career settings. This distinctive combination results not just in a roadmap for leadership but the roadmap you need to succeed.

To learn about Manhattan College’s Online Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, request information or call (855) 841-2843 to speak with Admissions.