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Overview of Autocratic and Democratic Leadership Styles


Discuss about the Comparison of Exceptional Business Leaders.

Leadership is the ability of a person to influence other people at work towards achievement of a particular objective. Influencing behaviour of people by motivating and inspiring rely upon the ability of the leader as well as the situations. The influence should yield the willing cooperation of the employees and not the imposed co-operation. Identical leadership approaches cannot always fetch the same result if the organization and environment is different. Good leader have the capability to convert a plan into reality with optimum utilization of available resources.  One has to modify or amend the style they implement to get desired results.  It is a continuous process towards achievement of a common goal by improving productivity and group cohesion. Further there is a comparison and contrast in the leadership style of Tim Cook and Martha Stewart.

Democratic leadership style is a participative approach that motivates team to actively take part by providing suggestions, ideas and feedback. The leader takes the final decisions considering team member’s proposition.  Delegation of responsibility to the employees with full authority is provided so as to initiate accountability as well as reliability. A democratic leader could achieve efficiency and effectiveness level if they are surrounded by skill full and intellectual sound people. Collaboration from leaders as well as employees is required in it. This kind of leadership usually has solutions for complex situations. It also encourages innovation and a creative environment to work. Its probable drawback is when there is less time as well as the roles and responsibility are not specified, as it will create communication gap between the members which will lead to delay in result. Tim Cook’s leadership style could be defined as the democratic style. As compared to the former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Cook adopted various leadership styles and blended them in a manner that it worked out well for the company (Investopedia, 2015). Cook have a very calm approach and work with an open door policy that provide employees comfortable environment to contribute more. Trusting the opinions of the team is one of the effective qualities that he adopts. This approach motivates employees to actively participate and to give innovative ideas. Under his leadership team members have built harmony and honesty is flourished as opinions of others are now taken into consideration.

Autocratic leadership is the authoritative style in which the power remained centralized to one person. Only orders are given to the subordinates and assignment of task is done without consulting. Leaders following this approach typically decide as per their own ideas and judgement and hardly accept advice from the employees. Taking all decisions alone could be hazardous in this phase of technology and could result in lagging behind.  Rules are on high priority for these leaders and they communicate the same to the employees timely. Autocracy creates dissatisfaction among the employees and supress the people with creative and innovative ideas. Hierarchy is highly structured and rigid in autocracy and employees are seldom trusted with important assignments or tasks. Team members under such leaders are motivated with the negative means such as threats and punishment. Despite of these downsides this kind of style works effectively in the case of emergency as manager tries to make as much decisions as they can on their own. It saves time, helps in taking quick decisions and helps to stimulates monitoring of the performance closely, relieving the stress to rely on someone else. Martha Stewart leadership style it totally autocratic and it worked out well for her. She built her business with personal attention to every detail.  In 1997 she bought the greater part of the telecom, by performing marketing functions like distributing, promoting and authorizing wanders bearing her name and blended them into one organization, Martha Stewart Living Omni media (MSLO). In 1999, the offer cost of MSLO was multiplied on the principal day of organization opening up to the world. Stewart saved most astounding number of offers in the organization, while being a President, Chairman and CEO (Gren, 2015). This kind of leadership works in the stressful situations where time is limited but in conditions that are less stressful, taking advice and debating on the topic gives improved result. Martha does a tremendous job by bringing out the contemporary sense of style. Her style is a classic instance of autocratic. She follows this approach but unlike the other centralized leaders all around, she is not empathetic in nature. Margaret Thatcher was an imperious pioneer and she regularly did not mind what her associates or gathering individuals accepted or needed however she was merciful towards her fellowmen and ladies. Martha Stewart has been condemned for not being compassionate towards her employees (Advise America, 2017). Notwithstanding of all the downsides she still holds a billion dollar company which is self-made and almost every American household uses her merchandise from little to vast.

Tim Cook - A Democratic Leader

In the leadership style of both business leaders there are various contrasting characteristics. Martha Stewart style is much of an authoritative style in which power is not vested to others whereas Mr Cook style is about delegation of authority and responsibility to maintain harmony in the organization. In her approach decisions are made by one person only whereas in his approach taking suggestions from employees is a way to involve them into the organization and to create a sense of belongingness. Mrs Stewart leadership style is more of an aggressive as compared to Cook’s calm approach. The main difference between autocratic and democratic is the way the leaders make decisions. In some of the situation autocratic style turned out to be beneficial for the organization and not for the employee but Martha Stewart managed to cope up with the approach and its consequences. On the other hand Tim Cook’s leadership qualities resulted well in terms of employee satisfaction but not for the company. However both the leaders are effective and efficient in their own way. The quality they possess is the reason why they have achieved so far and are still devoted towards the growth and innovating ideas of their company. From the above study it can be concluded that achieving targets with the unique way of leadership is the endmost agenda for Tim Cook and Martha Stewart.

A vast and expanding variety of theory is available to understand the basis and practice of leadership. In comparison to other theories the behavioural theories are providing new perspective. This theory is divided behaviour of leader into two categories; linked with the task and linked with people. On the other hand contingency theory was suggested by Fred Edward Fiedler (Austrian psychologist) in his landmark 1964 article, “A Contingency Model of Leadership Effectiveness”. According to this model there is no particular way of leading as one leadership style might not be equivalent effective in other situation. So characteristic of leader as well as favourable situation is required.

  • Leader plays a vital role to guide, motivate and to influence team members. The style and approach they adopt affects the productivity level and creativity of employees. Having a calm approach might help to open up the employees but to achieve the target a bit of aggressive approach is required. Good leaders set a good example instead of giving advices.
  • Using appropriate tools and techniques are important to achieve targets. And to build a good career benchmarking is important so that deviations could be analysed and rectified at the right time. The steps that should be performed are planning, organizing, collecting information regarding scope in my field and implementing the plan. All this will help me out to measure my career and to achieve my goal.
  • Opportunities- the data that I will collect going to help me for determining the scope.
  • Rationale- the goals should be appropriate and feasible to achieve.
  • Challenges- adapting a change is not easy ‘A habit is a shirt made of iron’
  • Strategies- having right way to achieve targets give better productivity and saves time.
  • Time frame- Setting goal with the time improves performance and prevents from being lethargic.
  • Measures- setting standard will help to measure and compare actual performance with standard performance.
  • Resourcing- optimum utilization of resources is required to avoid over usage.

Leadership Developmental Objective

The qualities and the potential that I want to develop is taking decisions calmly which is not in me. I am aiming to be a good decision maker by being patient to improve leadership skills and the time frame allocated by me will be between four months

Development Activities/opportunities



Strategic process involved


Basis and Measures


I want to analyse the exact areas where I am lacking and want to improve the same. For now instead of taking decisions without thinking is what I want to rectify.

The appropriate basis for fetching this opportunity is to observe other decision makers and to analyse the basis of what and why they have decided will give me reasonable approach to judge mine.

The obstacle that I might face is impatience. To learn a particular thing takes time so as to implement. And being an impatient person I might want to jump on a conclusion without thinking once again.

The more cases I will face regarding my problem, the better I will get to learn about being patient in decision making.

I think it will need one to two months to attain the leadership knowledge and skills and implement strategies.

The standard that I have set for myself will help me to identify my performance level.

To improve in any field one has to learn and implement what they learn. And to improve my skills learning process should be there.


Angus-Leppan, T., Metcalf, L., & Benn, S. (2010). Leadership styles and CSR practice: An examination of sense making, institutional drivers and CSR leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 189-213.

Chung-Wen, Y. (2008). The relationships among leadership styles, entrepreneurial orientation, and business performance. Managing Global Transitions, 6(3), 257.

De Vries, R. E., Bakker-Pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W. (2010). Leadership= communication? The relations of leaders’ communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes. Journal of business and psychology, 25(3), 367-380.

Hendriks, F., & Karsten, N. (2014). Theory of democratic leadership. P’t Hart & R. Rhodes (Eds.), Oxford handbook of political leadership, 41-56.

Maak, T., & Pless, N. M. (2009). Business leaders as citizens of the world. Advancing humanism on a global scale. Journal of Business Ethics, 88(3), 537-550.

Marques, J. (2008). Awakened leadership in action: a comparison of three exceptional business leaders. Journal of management development, 27(8), 812-823.

Advise America (2017). Martha Stewart Leadership Style.  Retrieved from

Investopedia (2015). What is Tim Cook’s Managerial Style. Retrieved from

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