Leadership is essential in almost every area of life. From the field of education, to a corporate environment, to that of a hospital, and even in a household, the kind of leadership style that is prevalent defines the course of action of the members of the organization. When effective, this leadership style boosts growth, development and success.
There are six charted out leadership styles, of which, mentioned here is the effectiveness, pros and cons of the democratic leadership style.
What is Democratic Leadership?
In a setting that allows for democratic leadership, the decision-making process and overall responsibility among the group members is shared. No decisions are made without consultation from group members by the leader, so that the final result is an outcome of group effort and not individual choices.
Tasks are delegated to subordinates effectively, where the implementation of the task is entirely in their hands. Feedback is welcomed and every member is encouraged to function as a leader in terms of decision-making and execution of decisions.
The democratic leadership style can be used in a variety of fields that involve service such as nursing and health care, also, creative fields where brainstorming is essential to produce effective results and fields that involve consultancy so that various points of view help in arriving at the best decision possible.
Even in the field of manufacturing or any other organization for that matter, this style facilitates the process of arriving at solutions for say cost-cutting, improvement in product quality or improvement in the quality of customer service. This leadership style may also be applicable in the field of education in some cases.
This leadership style enforces a work environment where everyone is allowed to contribute to the decision-making process. This not only gives a certain amount of importance and authority to the group members but also makes them more responsible as the burden of executing the choices they have made rests on their own shoulders.
Involving more members in the decision-making process enables the group to get the best solution possible. Various viewpoints allows the group to deal with every challenge, analyse each perspective and provide solutions accordingly. This process permits creative thinking with a multitude of brains working to come up with innovative solutions for a project.
This kind of creativity is required and appreciated in any kind of setting. Finally, in such a setting, employees or group members learn to respect each others point of views, including that of the leader and vice versa. When this leadership style is implemented, a conflict of interest is less likely, since everyone is given an equal opportunity.
One of the biggest disadvantages of this leadership style as pointed out by many is that it is time-consuming. Since a green signal is awaited from every member of the group, it can take a while to reach the consensus. Later, the manager or leader may encourage group participation on important matters, but may eventually do what she/he thinks is appropriate.
This means the democratic leadership style is just a cover-up for autocratic leadership. While a conflict of interest may be less likely, it cannot be ruled out altogether. With so many minds at work and opposing viewpoints, the leader needs to ensure that the situation does not go out of hand and take a stand regarding acceptable idea or a point of view.
This participative leadership style is at its best only when carefully executed. In such a situation, it can actually promote the growth of the organization as well as that of the employees. In this process, the manager or the leader learns to take the apt decisions, ensuring that the reason for a particular decision being taken is clearly explained.
There is no need to be apologetic about the decision being taken since there is a valid reason for the stand the manager has taken. A good way to make this leadership style work is to remain focused on the topic of discussion and not allow it to veer into personal or uncomfortable zones as it may sometimes.
As a leader who follows such a style, will learn to master the art of doing so over time. There are a lot of critics of the democratic leadership style, but these criticisms can be proven wrong if the style is executed intelligently and responsibly.