Coercive Leadership: Everything You Should Know

coercive leadership

Coercive leadership is a style of management that has been proven to work in some circumstances but can also have disastrous outcomes. The definition, benefits, and warning signs of coercive leaders will all be covered in this article, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

What is Coercive Leadership?

A very direct style of leadership known as coercive or autocratic relies on giving clear instructions to subordinates and demanding strict compliance. It’s an authoritarian management style that demands performance and offers little room for error. Coercive leaders frequently exercise total control over their workforce, giving them little room for autonomy. With practically unlimited authority, they frequently collaborate closely with their staff.

Coercive leadership techniques are frequently used by businesses in sectors with strict operational or safety regulations. In order to keep workers safe and compliant with the law, coercive leadership is typically used in the manufacturing, banking, and medical sectors. For a brief time, newly acquired businesses or companies merging may require coercive leaders to ensure that everyone abides by the new rules. To better manage their teams, some leaders combine various leadership philosophies, including coercive leadership.

What Are the Key Concepts of Coercive Leadership?

Some of the common traits of all coercive leaders include:

Top-down Communication

Without consulting the workforce, coercive leaders make decisions on their behalf. These leaders examine each circumstance that arises and bases their decisions more on the information they gather than on what their team needs. Coercive leaders fully assume control over projects and the work of their teams.


All preferred work procedures and methods are set by managers who adhere to the coercive style. For their team, they create and carry out goals and plans, and they count on their staff to see them through. Leaders typically don’t involve their subordinates in decision-making.

Rigid Structure

Leaders who use coercion must use specific methods and procedures to complete the work they assign. These managers lay out exactly how they want the work to be done and count on their subordinates to do the same. Few coercive leaders permit departure from their intended organizational structures.

Rules and Regulation

Coercive leaders create and put into place extensive rules and regulations that, in their eyes, are essential for efficiency and productivity. They frequently establish rules that are stricter than those established by other types of leaders.

Does Coercive Leadership Work?

Yes, but only in the short run. When coercive leaders run out of threats, they are unable to accomplish their goals. Threats are effective if you keep stepping them up.

What Are the Advantages of Coercive Leadership in the Workplace?

The following list outlines some of the advantages earned by leading in a coercive style:

Increased Productivity

Leaders who use coercion lay out their goals and requirements for the tasks at hand. These expectations must be upheld by their team members or employees in the strictest manner possible. This leadership style encourages employees to closely follow their leaders, which boosts productivity despite heavier workloads.

Improved Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is increased when clear rules, guidelines, and procedures are in place, as well as when they are strictly enforced. Employees are more inclined to abide by the rules established for them, carry out their duties properly, and take preventative measures as needed. The manufacturing and construction sectors favor coercive leadership as a result.

coercive leadership

Decreased Employee Deviation

While many leadership philosophies permit staff to break rules when they discover a better working technique, coercive leaders strictly enforce rules and regulations. These rules are frequently established by coercive leaders to ensure that workers complete a specific type of work on time and safely, so they must be strictly adhered to. Employees are more likely to abide by rules when their purpose is made clear, which increases compliance.

Improved Rule Enforcement

When staff members break rules, businesses frequently use coercive leadership techniques. Teams always meet or exceed quality standards and guidelines thanks to the strict governance of these leaders.

Effective Small Group Management

Employees are more likely to break the rules or perform in a more casual manner when there isn’t a typical, larger group structure. In these situations, coercive leadership ensures that rules are followed, makes sure that work is completed by the deadline, and rigidly reorganizes the workplace.

Helpful for Inexperienced Or Unmotivated Workers

In some fields, people who are newly hired or in entry-level positions require more assistance as they become familiar with their new roles. Coercive leaders are excellent at laying out expectations and motivating their team to work harder and more effectively. To ensure that their work is completed, inexperienced team members frequently benefit from a more direct leader.

Should You Use Coercive Leadership?

This approach can assist in reversing a situation or getting things moving in a crisis. You probably won’t need to if you express your sense of trust and authenticity.

How to Use Coercive Leadership?

Here are several steps to using coercive leadership to manage your team:

Establish Clear and Effective Rules

Every great coercive leader and their management style are built on the foundation of establishing and enforcing clear and effective rules. Create guidelines that are best suited to and distinctive from your team’s work. Together with your team, create written rules that you can use for your personal use, the break area, and the employee handbook.

Provide Your Team With the Knowledge and Tools They Need

Your team needs more information about the work they do and the tools necessary, in addition to a clearer understanding of the rules. Make sure all workers are equipped with the skills necessary to operate any tools or machinery safely and comprehend how to produce the best product. A coercive leadership post is a training session to make sure your team knows what to expect if they need more assistance or clarification.

Remain Consistent in Your Coercive Style

Making sure that you enforce rules consistently is one of the most crucial steps in developing into a coercive leader. Maintain the standards you’ve set and, if necessary, enforce them with appropriate sanctions. Make sure your disciplinary measures are the same for all of your employees. A team’s respect is guaranteed by consistency, which also deters deviation.

Recognize Success

By rewarding your team, you can inspire them. Focus on the good work that your employees do as well, even though rule enforcement is still a top priority. Please let them know how well they performed if any employee, or group of employees, performs exceptional work over the course of a specific period. This motivates them to keep up their hard work and abide by your new policies. Your staff will benefit from knowing how your new rules will help them work more effectively.

Do you know more about coercive leadership? Coercive leadership is a very direct style of leadership known as coercive or autocratic relies on giving clear instructions to subordinates and demanding strict compliance. You can use it following the guide above.