The democratic leadership style is also called the participative style as it encourages employees to be a part of the decision making. However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority.
This style of leadership is more accepted and certainly encouraged in today’s work environment. People today are much more savvy and don’t take kindly to being told what to do and being part of a constrictive environment. However, they certainly are looking for direction and vision from leaders today.
Democratic leadership contributes to a culture of empowerment, innovation and growth. It can produce high quality and high quantity work for long periods of time. Many employees like the trust they receive and respond with cooperation, team spirit, and high morale. Typically the democratic leader:
· Provides constructive feedback based on clear and measurable performance expectations
· Allows employees to establish individual goals, complimenting business goals
· Encourages employees to grow on the job and be promoted
· Recognizes and rewards staff
· Provides a high level vision and direction for the business, engaging the team in developing the ‘how to get there’
· Invites discussion and ideas for business improvement and development
· Encourages innovation and creativity and two way feedback
Like the other styles, the democratic style is not always appropriate. It is most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems. Democratic leadership should not be used when:
· There is not enough time to get everyone’s input.
· It’s more cost-effective for the leader to make the decision.
· The business can’t afford mistakes.
· The workforce is unskilled
· Employee safety is a critical concern.
This style of leadership is, I believe, true and effective leadership.