Democracy or Dictatorship: What is the Best Approach for Leadership?

February 5, 2015

8b2f6a80-5b13-4bcd-84ba-8518b419a9ceWhen it comes to supervising a team, managers can struggle with what kind of leadership style to enforce at the office.

There are those that believe that a good leader acts like a dictator, speaks with one voice and demands to be heard. Dictators make decisions for the staff, and expect everyone to follow them without question. Other managers choose to run a democracy, where all the employees have equal voices, and everyone is free to contribute opinions or propose suggestions.

Both leadership ways have their own advantages and disadvantages, which we will explore in this article to help you figure out what kind of office you’d like to run.

Advantages of a Democratic Office 

Independent Employees – In a democratic office, employees are free to express their opinions and provide input about the work being done. These individuals have more autonomy when it comes to managing their own projects and timeframes. This often leads to happier, more knowledgeable and confident workers who do not need to come to their manager with every single question.

Less Work For Manager – In a democratic environment, the manager usually does not micromanage, focusing on each and every small task. He or she has confidence in employees’ skills and dedication to the job, and, therefore, can focus on other, larger tasks.

Disadvantages of a Democratic Office 

Less Control – A leader of a democratic department often has less control than one that runs the office like a dictatorship. Employees are not trained to follow the boss blindly, therefore, they make a lot of their own decisions, which may not always be in line with the supervisor’s vision. Furthermore, it often takes a lot more convincing and effort to get subordinates to do what a manager asks if they don’t agree with it. Because the workers are so used to expressing their opinions, they will likely not just do as asked, but question and debate instructions.

Advantages of an Office Dictatorship 

Total Control – The manager that acts like a dictator has total control of the workplace. He or she expresses the vision for the project, and that vision is carried out precisely by the team members. The employees know that they need to follow orders exactly, or risk being reprimanded or terminated.

More Oversight – In this type of environment, the supervisor oversees every employee and watches what he or she does throughout the day. This allows managers to be sure that work is done properly and as assigned, and leads to the prevention of mistakes, often before they happen. Unlike in democracies, managers don’t need to wait to find errors in completed work from employees that are left alone to work as they see fit, because these supervisors are involved in every process of the workflow.

Disadvantages of an Office Dictatorship

More Work – A boss who acts as a dictator has much more work cut out for him or her. Being responsible for all decisions will take a huge commitment, and not one that all people can stick to.

Unhappy Employees – Many individuals do not like to be treated without any freedom or autonomy. Therefore, a dictatorship at the workplace may make some employees resentful of the manager, and tired of being told what to do all the time.

As noted in the aforementioned points, there are positives and negatives to running both, a democracy or a dictatorship at the office. While a democracy may work better for creative jobs, such as marketing or writing, a dictatorship may be better suited for factories and assembly-lines. Other offices may require a mixture of the two.

Many thanks

Stewart Bull

Senior Trainer & Consultant

Mark Williams 3

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Back To Blog Home