Autocratic Leadership – Leadership Styles!
Leadership Styles – is there a time and place for the Commander?
When I was a young nurse, autocratic leadership was still common.
It was the very early seventies. In those days, in Nursing, you learned to take orders and, as you gained experience and position, you learned to give them.
No, you didn’t shout like a drill sergeant!
You learned to use a certain tone in the voice that didn’t invite questions or equivocation! All who joined the organisation and expected to thrive learned to comply – they gave their consent. Some left pretty quickly!
Even then, times were beginning to change and by the time I left nursing, there were very few real autocrats still around.
Today, it is hard for me to remember what it was like to be part of such an organisation.
But there were occasions when an autocratic approach and the ability to command were invaluable; for example in a real medical emergency.
We were well trained and in most emergencies everyone knew what was expected of them and slotted into their place. The leader gave the orders and, in those circumstances, we obeyed. I saw several lives saved as a result of our ability to act as one body and give our consent to be led without question.
But it put a huge responsibility on the leader!
Leadership is awe-inspiring
When I found myself leading the team, I found it awe inspiring to have someone’s life in my hands.
I had authority, but I had responsibility as well and I was accountable for the decisions I made.
I was grateful for my training and I was very grateful for my team and the relationships we had built up outside of the emergency situation.
Yes I am sure there is still a place on some occasions for the Commander and an authoritative style of leadership! But without the consent of a good team built on participation and engagement, with real relationships and care for each member, I’m sure no one achieves great things.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link