2min Reading time

Authoritarian – cooperative – or what?

An article byUlrich zur Strassen

"I wasn't even aware of how authoritarian I really am in leading my employees..." summed up thoughtfully and affected a personnel manager during the several-day Seminar 'SITUATIVE LEADERSHIP'.

With "authoritarian" she associated terms like "from above down", "command and obedience" or "no discussion". Behaviors she tried to avoid.

Where in her self-image as a manager she always considered herself to be very collegial, supportive, team-oriented, open and concerned about everything and everyone...
It's exactly these characteristics that characterize a cooperative leadership style, isn't it?! And it was precisely their reflection on the most diverse work situations that allowed conclusions to be drawn about authoritarian leadership behavior?

A contradiction? Not at all!

We managers often carry within us a picture, consciously or unconsciously, of how we want to act and be perceived as superiors. Accordingly, we lead our employees.

Let's look at the original meaning of the words


- cooperative → working together
- authoritarian → self-centred

the dilemma becomes clear.

Leading to one's own inner self-image leads quickly to authoritarian, self-centered behavior.

And exactly in those moments when the personal leadership style no longer fits the situation or the work behaviour of the employees. Failures and/or frustrated employees up to the internal dismissal are often the result...

Link our attention to our employees and give the respective situation the appropriate framework such as


- clear structures and standards, close follow-up
- Creating understanding and comprehension in the employee
- Strengthen and support your back
- Allow free space for independent design

we motivate you to develop instead of overtaxing you or boring you. We strengthen interpersonal cooperation. Success can be experienced - for all involved.

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