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Participative Leaders

This style involves the leader and one or more employees in the decision-making process (determining what to do and how to do). However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority. Using this style is not a sign of weakness; rather it is a sign of strength that employees will respect.

This is normally used when leaders have part of the information, and employees have other parts. A leader is not expected to know everything-this is when he employs knowledgeable and skilful employees. Using this style is of mutual benefit-it s them to become part of the team and allows the leader to make better decisions.

The democratic leader makes decisions by consulting his team, whilst still maintaining control over the group. The democratic leader allows his team to decide how the task will be tackled and who will perform which task.

A good democratic leader encourages participation and delegates wisely, but never loses sight of the fact that he bears the crucial responsibility of leadership. He values group discussion and input from his team and draws from of his team members’ strong points in order to obtain the best performance from his team. He motivates his team by empowering them to direct themselves and guides them with a loose reign.


Democratic style of leadership has the following benefits:

(a)    Psychological involvement: The followers contribute to organization goals not only because
         they are committed to do so but also because they are mentally and psychologically involved
         in attainment of these goals.

(b)    Motivation: When leaders invite suggestions from follower, it increases their motivation to
         participate in the decision-making processes.

(c)    Responsibility: Though the leader has ultimate responsibility for the, he shares it with his
         followers. Followers assume personal responsibility of r the activities assigned to them and
         feel motivated to perform them successfully.

(d     Increase in power: When followers bestow confidence into heir leaders, leaders’
         Expert and referent power increases which further increases social
         interaction   between the and their followers.

(e)     Increase in job satisfaction and cooperation with management:
          Employees’ contribution to organizational goals makes them committed to their
          jobs and reduces inter-personal conflicts. This increases job satisfaction and
          Cooperation of employees with the management.

(f)      Reduction in employees’ turnover and absenteeism: On-the-job satisfaction makes the
          employees committed to their jobs and they enjoy working with the organization. This reduces
          the rate of employee turnover and absenteeism.

(g)     Improved communication: Constant interaction and participation of leader and followers in
          decision-making processes improves communication amongst them.


This style of leadership suffers from the following limitations:

(a)    Consulting subordinates every time a decision has to be made is time consuming. Decisions
         may, the fore, be delayed.
(b)     Suggestions given by subordinates may sometimes may sometimes be better than what
          leader can think of. Leaders, in such cases, do not frequently invite suggestions.
(c)     Employees may not always be willing to offer suggestions.

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