Coercive Leadership: Concepts, Advantages and How To Use It

Coercive leadership is a command and control style. It relies on forcing people to do what you tell them, whether they want to or not. Does it work? Yes, however only in the short term. Threats work if you keep upping them; when coercive leaders run out of threats, they can’t get things done.

Coercive Power

Key concepts of coercive leadership

Some of the common traits of all coercive leaders include:

Top-down communication

Coercive managers make decisions for their staff members without seeking their input. Instead of considering the needs of their team, these leaders evaluate each situation that arises and make decisions based on the information they gather. Coercive leaders fully control the direction of projects and the performance of their teams.


Coercive management dictates all preferred work procedures and methods. They create and carry out plans and objectives for their team, and count on their staff to do the same. Employees with leaders usually dont take part in decision-making processes.

Rigid structure

Work assigned by coercive leaders requires specific methodologies and actions. These supervisors specify how they want the work to be done and anticipate that their staff will adhere to their directives. Few coercive leaders allow deviation from their designated work structures.

Rules and regulation

Coercive leaders create and put into effect numerous rules and regulations that they believe are essential for efficiency and productivity. They frequently establish more stringent rules than other types of leaders.

What is coercive leadership?

A very direct style of leadership known as coercive or autocratic relies on telling subordinates what to do and how to do it while demanding strict compliance. It is an authoritarian leadership style that demands performance and offers little room for error. Coercive leaders frequently have complete control over their subordinates, providing little in the way of autonomy. They frequently collaborate closely with their staff and have essentially unrestricted power.

Businesses that operate in sectors with strict operational or safety regulations frequently employ coercive leadership techniques. The majority of the time, coercive leadership is used in the manufacturing, banking, and medical sectors to make sure employees follow safety and legal requirements. Coercive leaders may be required for a brief time during newly acquired businesses or company mergers to ensure that all team members adhere to the new rules. To better manage their teams, some leaders combine various leadership philosophies, such as coercive leadership.

Advantages of coercive leadership in the workplace

The advantages of coercive leadership are outlined in the following list:

Increased productivity

Coercive leaders outline their vision and expectations for assigned work. These guidelines must be adhered to as closely as possible and without hesitation by their team or employees. This leadership style encourages employees to closely follow their managers, which boosts productivity despite heavier workloads.

Improved workplace safety

Safety in the workplace is improved by putting specific rules, regulations, and procedures in place and strictly enforcing them. Employees are more likely to adhere to the rules established for them, carry out their duties properly, and take preventative measures when necessary. Because of this, coercive leadership is a strategy that is preferred in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Decreased employee deviation

When an employee discovers a better working method, many leadership styles permit employees to break the rules, but coercive leaders strictly enforce the 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 closely followed. Employees are more likely to adhere to rules when they are made clear why they are necessary.

Improved rule enforcement

When workers deviate from the rules, businesses frequently use coercive leadership techniques. Teams always adhere to or exceed quality standards and guidelines thanks to these leaders’ strict governance.

Effective small group management

Employees are more likely to break the rules or work less formally when there isn’t the usual, larger group structure. In these circumstances, coercive leadership ensures that the rules are followed, makes sure that all deadlines are met, and rigidly reorganizes the workplace.

Helpful for inexperienced or unmotivated workers

In some fields, entry-level employees or new hires 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 more diligently and effectively. A more direct leader is frequently beneficial for inexperienced team members to ensure that their work is completed.

How to use coercive leadership

To manage your team through coercive leadership, follow these steps:

1. Establish clear and effective rules

Every great coercive leader’s management style is built on establishing and enforcing clear and workable rules. Create guidelines that are unique to your team’s work and most effective. Create physical copies of the rules with your team and distribute them for the break area, employee handbook, and personal use.

2. Provide your team with the knowledge and tools they need

Your team needs more information about the tasks they perform and the necessary tools in addition to a clearer understanding of the rules. Make sure all workers are knowledgeable about how to produce the best product and how to use any tools or machinery safely. If your team needs more guidance or assistance, hold a training session to make sure they understand what is expected of them.

3. Remain consistent in your coercive style

Consistency in rule enforcement is one of the most crucial aspects of developing into a coercive leader. Maintain the guidelines you’ve established, and when necessary, enforce them with appropriate punishment. Make sure your disciplinary measures are the same for all of your employees. Consistency ensures respect from your team and discourages deviation.

4. Recognize success

Motivate your team through recognition. Although upholding the law remains a top priority, pay attention to the good work that your employees do as well. Inform any employee who performs exceptional work over a certain period, or any group of employees, of their accomplishments. This motivates them to keep up the good work and adhere to your new policies. Your new policies are easier for your staff to understand and will help them work more effectively.


Why is coercive leadership bad?

Advantages of coercive leadership in the workplace
  • Increased productivity.
  • Improved workplace safety.
  • Decreased employee deviation.
  • Improved rule enforcement.
  • Effective small group management.

What is an example of coercive?

Why is coercive leadership bad? Only when an organization’s management uses it abusively is coercive leadership bad. It may result in the inhibition of innovation and creativity, a high rate of employee turnover, and increased costs to the company due to inefficiency.

What is an example of coercive power?

The act of persuading someone by using threats, coercion, or other coercive methods without taking into account the person’s wishes is known as coercion. Coercive behavior is displayed when your boyfriend threatens to leave you if you don’t buy him an extremely pricey gift.

What are coercive skills?

Fear of losing one’s job, being demoted, getting a poor performance review, having important projects taken away, etc. is a way to exert coercive power. This power is obtained through threatening others. For instance, the vice president of sales who pressures salespeople to achieve their targets or risk being fired

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