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  • Writer's pictureDel Chatterson

Maybe autocratic leadership is better. Democracy doesn’t work.

Maybe autocratic leadership is better

(This article is based on extracts from Uncle Ralph’s Random Ramblings in DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY - 2020 Edition)

As we observe political leaders around the world getting their way, dictating arbitrary policies, behaving badly and revising the rules of play, it would be easy for business leaders to conclude that autocratic dictatorship is a better way to manage.

Democracy doesn’t work

These cult-like leaders seem able to persuade their fanatical followers to believe whatever they say, forgive every failure and do whatever is demanded of them, even against their own self interest. “Stick a fork in your eye to prove your loyalty to the cause.” Yes sir! Absolutely.

And democratic methods are so cumbersome, inefficient and difficult to manage to the conclusions we want. Even if the majority wants the same thing. Democracy is too easily manipulated by corrupt politicians and the people behind the scenes spending enormous amounts of money to protect their power and privileges.

Don’t be fooled

You will not be a more successful leader as a dictator and your business will not do better because of it. But I don’t recommend democratic decision-making in your business either. The misinformed, disinterested, angry or unhappy employee or customer is not likely to vote for the right solution. It is always more complicated than it appears and requires the right combination of knowledge and experience with rigorous analysis and good judgement. You’ll still be wrong often enough.

I do recommend participative management. An Enlightened Entrepreneur will involve the management team, staff and front-line employees in the decisions that affect them, as they have a vested interest in getting it right. They also may know more than the owner or the senior managers about the specifics of the problems and the planned solutions and can make a valuable contribution to the process of doing better for themselves and the business.

The downside of cult-like leadership is that it attracts followers who are not willing to accept responsibility for their grievances and or more willing to do as they’re told than to make a contribution to making things better.

Don’t be a dictator.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph

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