From The First-Time Manager:
It is difficult to believe that we still see the old-fashioned autocrat in management today. You have to wonder why this is so. Partly it has to do with the fact that so many managers are given no training. They are left to find their own way, so they begin acting as they think they should. They think in terms of being a “boss.”
Autocrats also believe that if they take the softer approach, employees will take advantage. It is as though the softer approach will be seen as a sign of weakness.
Another possibility is that it takes more time to be a diplomatic manager. These managers spend time with people explaining not only what is to be done but why it’s done. The boss type doesn’t want to be bothered. This person’s attitude is “Do it because I said so.” The diplomat realizes that the more people understand of what and why, the better they perform.
The autocrat wants to make every decision and views the staff as making robotic responses to his or her commands. The autocrat pushes the buttons, the staff snaps to, and it happens. The diplomat knows that the time spent up front, getting everybody involved, pays off with huge dividends down the road.
The autocrat engenders fear while the diplomat builds respect and even affection. The autocrat causes people to mutter under their breath, “Someday, I’ll get even with this SOB.” The diplomat causes people to say, “He respects us and cares for us. I’d walk the last mile for him. All he needs to do is ask.”
The autocrat believes the diplomat is a wimp. The diplomat believes the autocrat is a dictator. The difference is that the autocrat uses authority constantly, while the diplomat is judicious in its display.
People working for the autocrat believe they are working for someone. Those reporting to the diplomat believe they are working with someone.