Howell Raines of New York Times
In the past, the New York Times ranks among the top companies with autocratic leadership. It had A. M. Rosenthal, a famous autocratic leader who presided over the company during the 1970s. While it was not easy to work under such an autocratic leader, the leadership style raised efficiency and contributed to bottom line growth in the highly demanding newspaper industry that requires some form of autocratic control to meet tight deadlines on a regular basis.
Howell Raines, the executive editor between 2001 and 2003 followed Rosenthal’s footsteps. His policy of “flooding the zone" or using all resources to cover what he deemed were important stories led to unprecedented success, with the company winning a record seven Pulitzers Prize in one year.
His autocratic style however led to charges of highhandedness and callousness. His drive to get things done made him contemptuous, dismissive, and sarcastic, even to senior journalists. He centralized decision-making, and killed stories at will. He disregarded all efforts and contributions before his arrival, assumed everyone as “lazy," and “lethargic," and divided the journalists into “stars," and “also-rans." All these however created distress and dissension among the staff, and morale fell, leading to a decline in both quality and quantity of information. Raines was fired after 21 months in the job.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Joe Shalbotnik