Advantages and Disadvantages of Democratic Leadership Style
Democratic leadership can be defined as a leadership style where the participation of employees in the decision-making process is encouraged. The following are the notable advantages and disadvantages of democratic leadership.
Advantages of Democratic Leadership
Below are the main pros of the democratic leadership style:
More Accurate Decisions
One of the advantages of democratic leadership is that it enables the making of more accurate decisions. It states that when making decisions two heads are always better than one head.
Since employees and managers i.e. leaders are involved in the decision-making process, a better decision can be made by analyzing all their ideas and opinions.
In an organizational setting, making decisions and policies is not enough, they should be accepted by the people who are responsible for implementation.
In democratic leadership, making different plans, policies, decisions, and even procedures is done with consultation and suggestions from subordinates. As such, in democratic organizations employees easily accept those plans and policies.
Democratic leadership also promotes creativity in the workplace. Democratic leadership encourages “think out of the box”. It is even said, in a democratic organization, there are more heads and more solutions.
Every participating member is encouraged to show their talents and skills and new ways to conduct the regular activities. The team members work together mutually to solve problems generating new and innovative ideas.
Related: Participative Management Style
Can Solve Complex Problems
Solving complex problems in the organization is not always possible by the individual leader. It is common that whenever complex problems arise in the workplace a group of employees or executives is formed to generate solutions.
Similarly, democratic leadership generates new and creative ideas through group discussion which is supportive to solve the unique and complex problems arising in the workplace.
Usually, democratic leaders have the intention of working in groups. They are good team players. They encourage teamwork within the organization. They create a common goal for a group of people and bind their collective efforts toward the achievement.
Another notable advantage of democratic leadership is that it increases employee motivation in the organization. It encourages the use of positive motivation tools while directing, commanding, and giving instructions to employees.
Since democratic leadership values all subordinates’ presence and contribution, they feel more satisfied and motivated. This motivation encourages them to give their best which results in greater performance and productivity for both employees and the organization.
In democratic organizations, employees are more adaptive. They easily accept the change in the organization. As such, change management becomes easy in the democratic leadership style.
Democratic leadership also promotes succession planning in the organization. Succession planning can be defined as the strategy companies use to train their lower-level employees for higher positions within the organization.
Better Relationship Between the Leader and Followers
In democratic leadership, the leader and followers regularly meet, interact, and create solutions. Since it follows two-way communication the feedback, suggestions, and ideas are easily communicable between them. As such, the provision of two-way communication in a democratic approach strengthens the relationship between the leader and followers.
Related: Autocratic Leadership Style
Disadvantages of Democratic Leadership
Despite many advantages, the democratic leadership style also has some disadvantages. They are:
Delay in Decision-Making
One of the cons of democratic leadership is that it causes delays in decision-making. Since employees also participate in the decision-making process, the diverse ideas of managers and subordinates take more time to finalize. Often they require more time to come to a consensus.
Chances of conflict
Group discussion always has the potential to create a conflict. While in democratic leadership, diverse employees have different attitudes, there is a chance that such attitudes conflict among group members. In addition to the conflict between the group members, there can also be a conflict between the individual team’s goals and the overall organization’s goals.
Reluctancy of Leaders
All leaders easily do not accept the democratic leadership style. Many leaders, in practice, do not want to follow this leadership style as they think the subordinates may be smarter than them if they are involved in decision-making.
For democratic leadership to generate effective results certain skills from both sides leaders and subordinates or followers are required. Leaders should have good team-playing skills and be able to motivate subordinates. Similarly, subordinates should be highly competent and experienced.
Not Suitable For Money-Focused Employees
In democratic leadership, normally leaders use non-financial motivational tools to motivate their subordinates. As such, employees who only feel motivated when given financial incentives do not like this leadership style.
All Opinions Can Not Be Counted
Although the democratic leadership style states valuing the opinions of every subordinate. Usually, in group discussions, the decision is made with the majority of votes. And, it is not always guaranteed the majority’s decision is right. As such, the more unique, accurate, and creative opinions might not be counted.
Read Next: Pros and Cons of Autocratic Leadership