Autocratic Leaders

Tom  - reviewer of the lesson plan   Tom | March 23, 2023
Business English, Speaking Lessons, English for HR
Work, Leadership, Human Resources
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
First page for the ESL Lesson Plan about autocratic leadership

Lesson Overview

My way or the highway! In this lesson, students will discuss a boss-centered management approach and the advantages and disadvantages of such a style. This lesson features a video about an autocratic management style. Students will learn and practice vocabulary relating to the topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Listening: Through the provided video on autocratic management, students will improve their listening skills by comprehending and analyzing how this leadership style functions. They will listen for key phrases that describe communication dynamics and control in a workplace.

  • Speaking: Students will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working under autocratic leaders. They will engage in role-playing activities to simulate communication in a controlled, boss-centered environment and share opinions on the potential impact on team productivity.

  • Vocabulary: The lesson introduces vocabulary terms like "authoritarian," "compliance," "top-down," "legitimate authority," "centralize," and "high-power distance." These words are crucial for discussing leadership approaches, communication styles, and team management.

  • Cultural Awareness: Students will explore how different countries view authority in workplaces. They may discuss how generational shifts may influence future leadership styles.

  • Homework: Students will fill in blanks with vocabulary learned in the lesson, answer questions about their views on autocratic leadership, and analyze various management scenarios to determine where this style would be beneficial or detrimental. They will write T/F responses, complete multiple-choice questions, and provide detailed explanations. This will reinforce their understanding and application of the lesson concepts.


What is the best type of leadership style at work or in school? Is it the autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire approach? Watch this video to learn about the autocratic leadership style and the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches to leadership.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

my way or the highway [idiom]: said to assert the view that there is no alternative (apart from leaving) but to accept the speaker's opinions or policies
boss-centered management approach [noun phrase]: a type of leadership in which the manger has total authority to make decisions
autocratic [adjective]: relating to a ruler who has absolute power
assume [verb]: take or begin to have (power or responsibility)
centralize [verb]: concentrate (control of an activity or organization) under a single authority
democratic [adjective]: relating to the idea that all people should be treated equally
laissez-faire [adjective]: the policy of leaving things to take their own course, without interfering
sharp rise [collocation]: sudden growth or increase
morale [noun]: the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time
customary [adjective]: according to the customs or usual practices associated with a particular society, place, or set of circumstances
subordinates [noun]: a person under the authority or control of another within an organization
establish [verb]: set up on a firm or permanent basis; put in place
high-power distance [noun phrase]: a situation where there are clear boundaries and roles, and inequality is accepted and expected among members
control-compliance relationship [noun phrase]: a situation in which when a person usually defers to the wishes of another, even if that's what they wish to do
shut down [verb]: to stop; to make ineffective
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