A participatory (or democratic) leader encourages group discussion and decision-making. Participatory methods encourage collaboration and allow group members to contribute to decision-making.
Participative leadership gives team members ownership over an organisation’s goals and plans.
What are the pros and cons of democratic leadership?
Under this leadership, group members may feel valued, aligned, and linked. Their combined knowledge and drive shape their daily jobs and team success, so they must trust and know each other better.
The disadvantages of democratic leadership are that resentment may creep in. Collaborative decision-making is time-consuming. Team members can lose trust. There can be lulls where there is limited productivity. The team’s expertise may be insufficient.
How do you implement democratic leadership?
Democratic leadership makes sense in theory, but how do you implement it?
If group members are inexperienced with this method, leaders must develop the skills to lead and facilitate discussion.
Follow these steps to boost team participation:
Lead discussions: without a flexible leader, free communication and conversations might wander off track. Help your team brainstorm issues, solutions, and how to reach conclusions together. If the conversation veers off-topic, gently bring it back.
Deliver accurate data: leaders have a lot of power since they supply accurate data for group decisions. It’s vital to be as transparent and open as possible. This will increase teamwork and build trust.
Encourage sharing by helping team members share their opinions. A strong team has members with the expertise and perspective needed to make good decisions and find answers.
Summarise progress: note the group’s key thoughts and decisions or solutions. All team members should see this summary.
Encourage decisiveness: assist your team in reaching an agreement and ending a discussion. If they’re hesitant to make decisions, they may need to be pushed. Help them make a decision based on the information.
Take action: when a choice creates a new strategy or project, help the team break it down into tasks. Distribute each assignment or project area to the right team members so they can start acting by the deadline.
The key takeaways
Democratic leadership gives team members ownership over an organisation’s goals and plans.
Participatory methods encourage collaboration and allow group members to contribute to decision-making.
Leaders must develop the skills to lead and facilitate discussion.
Leaders must also supply accurate data for group decisions. This will increase teamwork and build trust.