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Depending on the author, management styles have been categorized into two main contrasting styles: autocratic and permissive. An autocratic management style is one where the manager makes decisions unilaterally, and without regard for even the most talented and experienced subordinates. As a result, decisions will reflect the opinions and personality of the manager, project a false image of a confident, well-managed business, which often hides a chaotic operation.
The skilled and competent subordinates chafe because of limits on decision-making freedom, or even being able to do their jobs without constantly seeking permission. The organization stumbles along, and the autocratic manager limits contact between the staff and board, so only “good” information is communicated, so it seems like everything is running smoothly. Subordinates have no encouragement to make improvements, are criticized for any initiatives they take, and turnover among the best subordinates is high. This style is used, temporarily, in times of crisis where the time for discussion is unavailable and the managers are responsible to give orders only.
These orders need to be obeyed immediately by the staff so that further problems are not caused. It is also used in the military and police forces where instructions are given and need to be taken seriously without hesitation.
The autocrat style negates any form of teamwork. The autocrat refuses to delegate authority, for fear of losing authority. With no new ideas or input, the organization gets stale, and tired. The autocrat is worn thin doing ‘everything’ since no one is allowed to assist, leading to a false sense of superiority in the autocrat, and a general sense of incompetence of the subordinates.
The best and most talented employees are driven away by this negative approach, and only the least talented subordinates are left, creating a lack-luster organization which is completely inflexible, which will crack when the autocrat gets sick or moves on. A more paternalistic form is also essentially dictatorial.
However, decisions do take into account the best interests of the employees as well as the business. Communication is again generally downward, but feedback to the management is encouraged to maintain morale. This style can be highly advantageous when it engenders loyalty from the employees, leading to a lower labor turnover, thanks to the emphasis on social needs. On the other hand, for a consultative management style the lack of worker motivation can be typical if no loyal connection is established between the manager and the people who are managed.