Autocratic Leadership vs Democratic Leadership – Difference and Comparison

What is Autocratic Leadership?

Autocratic leadership refers to the governing body in an established autocracy. Autocracy is a system of government in which the power is centralized around the leadership. The leadership is free to make decisions as per their preferences and choices. The people of the polity are not allowed to question or criticize the government.

In an autocracy, the leader is not elected by the people; instead, he is crowned on hereditary grounds. Moreover, there is no fixed tenure for the leadership. The ruler can stay in the government as long as he wants or as long as he lives. The administration represses every force that opposes its power in its kingdom.

Autocracy is also called dictatorship. In the history of mankind, there have been autocrats like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Gaddafi, et cetera. Cruelty, extrajudicial punishments, excessive use of authority, prohibition of free speech, class differences, and border tensions – are some of the features of almost every autocracy.

An autocracy is built around one single individual. He holds absolute power, and the leader enjoys popularity and approval among his people. Facts about State are often misrepresented to the public for collective manipulation of people.

What is Democratic Leadership?

Democracy is the people’s government, for the people, by the people. In a democracy, people elect their representatives through a transparent and rigorous process. The individuals from the public who want to compete in elections have to meet specific parameters to qualify for it.

In a democracy, democratic leadership is the executive organ of the State. The power is separated among different entities in the government to ensure a check on all constituents. The leadership is elected on the condition that it will dedicate itself to the service and welfare of its electors and will remain in the government for a specific time.

Under democratic leadership, every citizen enjoys some inseparable rights and can grow as a person and a member of society. The government strives to uplift the living standards of its people through economic and political means. The citizens are allowed to criticize the government and its policies.

The constitution is the pillar of democracy, and the leadership must ensure full compliance with the procedures and terms enshrined. If a democratic leadership fails to deliver, there is a constitutional way to dethrone and elect new representatives of the people. The pubic opinion holds the key value in every democratic process.

Difference Between Autocratic Leadership and Democratic Leadership

  1. In an autocracy, power lies with a single individual.
  2. In democracy, (actual) power springs from the people.
  3. In an autocracy, the law is what the ruler does or says.
  4. In a democracy, legislation is done by the will of the people.
  5. In an autocracy, rigidity exists; in a democracy, flexibility exists.

Comparison Table Between Autocratic Leadership and Democratic Leadership

Parameters of ComparisonAutocratic LeadershipDemocratic Leadership
Power StructureThe actual power is centered on one single person – the autocratPeople elect their representatives through polling
Nature of PoliciesPolicies and rules are rigid, oppressive, unquestioned, and draconianLegislation is done and revoked, keeping in view the public interest
Tenure of RuleAn autocrat remains in rule unless he dies or is dethroned by rebellionDemocracy sets people in power for a fixed period
Economic RelationsState authorities mostly own means of production People are allowed to own private possessions
Involvement of PeopleThere is the least involvement from the publicPeople directly/indirectly are involved in politics