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An authoritarian leadership style is being used when a leader who dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals are to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by the subordinates. This leader has full control of the team leaving low autonomy within the group. The leader has a vision in mind and must be able to effectively motivate their group to finish the task. The group is expected to complete the tasks under very close supervision while unlimited authority is granted to the leader. Subordinate's responses to the orders given are either punished or rewarded.
Authoritarian leaders are commonly referred to as autocratic leaders. They provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is also a clear divide between the leader and the followers. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group. Authoritarian leaders uphold stringent control over their followers by directly regulating rules, methodologies, and actions. Authoritarian leaders construct gaps and build distance between themselves and their followers with the intention of stressing role distinctions. This type of leadership dates back to the earliest tribes and empires. It is often used in present day when there is little room for error, such as construction jobs or manufacturing jobs. Authoritarian leadership typically fosters little creativity in decision-making. Lewin also found that it is more difficult to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than from a democratic form to an authoritarian form of leadership. Abuse of this style is usually viewed as controlling, bossy and dictatorial. Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group discussion.
A common belief of many authoritarian leaders is that followers require direct supervision at all times or else they would not operate effectively. This belief is in accordance with one of Douglas McGregor's philosophical views of humankind, Theory X. This theory proposes that it is a leaders role to coerce and control followers, because people have an inherent aversion for work and will abstain from it whenever possible. Theory X also postulates that people must be compelled through force, intimidation or authority, and controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to accomplish the organizational needs.  In the minds of authoritarian leaders, people who are left to work autonomously will ultimately be unproductive. “Examples of authoritarian communicative behavior include a police officer directing traffic, a teacher ordering a student to do his or her assignment, and a supervisor instructing a subordinate to clean a workstation.” 
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Engelbert Dollfuss, chancellor of Austria from 1932 to 1934, destroyed the Austrian Republic and established an authoritarian regime based on conservative Roman Catholic and Italian Fascist principles. In May of 1932 when he became chancellor, Dollfuss headed a conservative coalition led by the Christian Social Party. When faced with a severe economic crisis caused by the Great Depression, Dollfuss decided against joining Germany in a customs union, a course advocated by many Austrians. Severely criticized by Social Democrats, Pan-German nationalists, and Austrian Nazis, he countered by drifting toward an increasingly authoritarian regime. 
The Italian leader Benito Mussolini became Dollfuss' principal foreign ally. Italy guaranteed Austrian independence at Riccione (August 1933), but in return Austria had to abolish all political parties and reform its constitution on the Fascist model. In March 1933, Dollfuss’ attacks on Parliament culminated that September in the permanent abolition of the legislature and the formation of a corporate state based on his Vaterländische Front (“Fatherland Front”); with which he expected to replace Austria’s political parties. In foreign affairs he steered a course that converted Austria virtually into an Italian satellite state. Hoping therewith to prevent Austria’s incorporation into Nazi Germany, he fought his domestic political opponents along fascist-authoritarian lines.
In February 1934 paramilitary formations loyal to the chancellor crushed Austria’s Social Democrats. With a new constitution of May 1934, his regime became completely dictatorial. In June, however, Germany incited the Austrian Nazis to civil war. Dollfuss was assassinated by the Nazis in a raid on the chancellery.
Adolf Hitler was extremely authoritarian. He required the population of the Third Reich to accept everything that he said as absolute law, and was able to impose a death sentence on anyone who failed to do so. Hitler was obsessed with being in control, and with being the alpha male in a rigid male dominance hierarchy.
Martha Stewart constructed her empire through her own special attention to every detail. She was meticulous, demanding, thorough and scrupulous. She flourished in her ventures and in using her authoritarian leadership style. 
John F. Kennedy had a vision to change the space program forever - by sending a man to the moon and to return safely. This type of vision and idea came to light through his constant motivation of the U.S. to see his vision. This shows he was an authoritarian leader due to his motivation and direct contribution to how it was going to be accomplished. 
Autocratic leadership style works well if the leader is competent and knowledgeable enough to decide about each and everything. Authoritative is considered one of the most effective leadership styles in case there is some emergency and quick decisions need to be taken. Bill Gates adopted this style and has steered Microsoft toward great success. According to Bill Gates, he had a vision when he took reins of the company and then used all the resources available to make that vision a reality.In the personal computer workplace, many operating conditions call for urgent action, making this style of leadership effective. While Gates does not exhibit this style consistently, his success can be judged by his decision making process and the growth of the computer industry in the world.