Leadership Styles

Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership, also known as participative leadership or shared leadership, is a type of leadership style in which members of the group take a more participative role in the decision- making process.1 This type of leadership can apply to any organization, from private businesses to schools to government.

Everyone is given the opportunity to participate, ideas are exchanged freely, and discussion is encouraged. While the democratic process tends to focus on group equality and the free flow of ideas, the leader of the group is still there to offer guidance and control.1

The democratic leader is charged with deciding who is in the group and who gets to contribute to the decisions that are made. Researchers have found that the democratic leadership style is one of the most effective types and leads to higher productivity, better contributions from group members, and increased group morale.1

Characteristics –

Some of the primary characteristics of democratic leadership include:

– Group members are encouraged to share ideas and opinions, even though the leader retains the final say over.

– Members of the group feel more engaged in the

– Creativity is encouraged and

Good democratic leaders possess specific traits that include honesty, intelligence, courage, creativity, competence, and fairness. Strong democratic leaders inspire trust and respect among followers.

These leaders are sincere and make decisions based on their morals and values. Followers tend to feel inspired to take action and contribute to the group. Good leaders also tend to seek diverse opinions and do not try to silence dissenting voices or those that offer a less popular point of view.

Pros and Cons of Democratic Leadership –

Pros –

  • More ideas and creative solutions
  • Group member commitment
  • High productivity

Cons –

  • Communication failures
  • Poor decision-making by unskilled groups
  • Minority or individual opinions overridden


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Organizational Behavior by Icfai Business School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.