Difference Between Autocratic Leadership and Democratic Leadership


Main Difference

The main difference between Autocratic Leadership and Democratic Leadership is that in Autocratic Leadership, the leader directs the subordinates for the task whereas, in Democratic Leadership, the leader discusses with the team and accomplishes the target.

Autocratic Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership

The other name of autocratic leadership is directive leadership. The second name of democratic leadership is participative leadership. Autocratic leadership is the one in which a person holds the whole team, decide a task, and direct the team to accomplish it. In democratic leadership, the leader allows the entire team to discuss and determine how to work. In autocratic leadership, the leader is very strict with his team workers. In democratic leadership, the leader has flexible behavior and inspires the team to work.


In autocratic leadership, the directive person is the manager, whereas the democratic leadership names the person as a leader. Autocratic leadership is successful if the sub-ordinates are obeying all orders of the boss and do not possess experience in the relevant field. The democratic leadership is successful if the team members are experienced and work by coordination. Autocratic leadership concentrates on the task, whereas democratic leadership focuses on good relationships.

Autocratic leadership is beneficial for the accomplishment of the mission and visions of an organization. For productive and creative ideas, democratic leadership is effective. In autocratic leadership, the employees are annoyed about the strict behavior of the boss and do not work correctly. In democratic leadership, there is no restriction; hence the task remained incomplete due to communication mishaps. Autocratic leadership credits only a person, whereas democratic leadership credits the whole team.


Comparison Chart

Autocratic LeadershipDemocratic Leadership
The leadership where a man takes all decisions is autocratic leadershipThe leadership where the team members can take part in decision making is democratic leadership
Other Name
Directive leadershipParticipative leadership
Work orientedRelation oriented
Theory XTheory Y
Level is highLevel is less
When assistants are unskilled and obedientWhen assistants are professional
Proper mission and visionProductive and innovative work
Low employee morale, reduced efficiencyCommunications gaps, time wastage
No chance of expressionEvery member can express
For leaderFor the whole team
Transactional leadershipTransformational leadership
Applicable In
CrisisNot applicable in crisis

What is Autocratic Leadership?

The leadership in which a man holds all the decisions of the organization is called autocratic leadership. The man has qualities to manage the whole organization. The second name of autocratic leadership is authoritarian leadership. The power is centralized; one person makes decisions and direction for implementation by the subordinates. The leader is dominant over the whole group. The assistants do not question any decision and follow it according to given orders.

The autocratic leadership is beneficial for small groups with a leader. It works best in crisis. The decision making is swift, with no time. The company follows its vision quickly. The communication of the team improves. The depression of employees reduces. It demands an inexperienced team. The input of the team in the decision is less. Autocratic leadership leads to micromanagement. The leader forces every member to inform him about every activity, the productivity declines.

Autocratic leadership creates a culture-based difference. Everyone must follow the rules of a leader, whether ethics are valid or not. No one dares to deny to the leader. Every reward and credit go to the leader because he was a decision-maker. There is a deficiency of trust in autocratic leadership. The mistrust between a leader and team members hinder creativity, productivity, and cooperation.

What is Democratic Leadership?

The leadership on which all the working members take part in decisions of the management is called democratic leadership. Its other name is participative management. The ideas and plans are essential for management. There is proper consultation with all sub-ordinates in every matter. The leaders work according to the opinion of the team members. The members have the freedom to talk from the bottom to the top level of the organization. The communication gap between working members reduces. In democratic leadership, the ideas are shared and discussed. Every task is set as the responsibility of every member.

The leader allows the members to be part of the decision-making committee. There is appropriately maintained respect, open communication, and even criticism. The non-profit companies and innovative companies have democratic leaders. This leadership is a source of awareness. Every person can become this leader. Mismanagement can occur due to Republican leadership. Plenty of freedom removes the difference between a leader and team members. It does not promise success after every task. If the population decides, then there is less chance of a positive result.

Key Differences

  1. Autocratic leadership is a style in which the leader tells how to work while in democratic leadership, the leader asks the subordinates and discuss the plans to achieve a target.
  2. Autocratic leadership is a directive leadership; on the flip side, democratic leadership is participative leadership.
  3. Autocratic leadership’s authority is centralized; a man makes decisions; conversely, in democratic leadership, the decisions circulate in the team, mean the administration is decentralized.
  4. Autocratic leadership is oriented about the plans and direction of work; on the other hand, democratic leadership, the primary concern of people, is to develop a good relationship.
  5. Autocratic leadership defines the theory X, whereas democratic leadership defines the theory Y.
  6. Autocratic leadership impacts the assistants and has strict supervision of work while in democratic leadership, there is flexibility, and the control level is low.
  7. Autocratic leadership does not allow subordinates to work according to their desire; on the flip side in democratic leadership, the team members work according to their desires.
  8. Autocratic leadership is successful when the juniors are dutiful and not experts in the relevant field, whereas the democratic leadership is successful when the sub-ordinates are professional and have expertise in the work.
  9. Autocratic leadership points to the leader as a manager; conversely, in democratic leadership, the person who leads the team is the leader.
  10. Autocratic leadership is effective in achieving the future perspective for an organization, while democratic leadership brings the productive and creative work.
  11. Autocratic leadership harms the company as it declines the work efficiency of employees, whereas, in democratic leadership, the task remains incomplete.
  12. Autocratic leadership does not allow anyone except the manager to express themselves; on the flip side, democratic leadership gives the right to talk to every member.
  13. Autocratic leadership gives credit to the only person; on the other hand, in democratic leadership, the credit goes equally to all members.
  14. In autocratic leadership, the leader motivates the members both by punishment and reward, whereas in democratic leadership, the leader points out the change, and inspires the team to work.
  15. Autocratic leadership is applicable when there is a need for crisis decisions, whereas democratic leadership takes time for decision making cannot be applied in emergencies.


Autocratic Leadership and Democratic Leadership are both styles of leadership. In Autocratic Leadership, there is no freedom for the assistants to make decisions and express themselves. In Democratic Leadership, the leader allows all members to participate in decision making and express their ideas.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson