Democratic leadership

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Democratic leadership is a way of managing a team that involves subordinates' participation in making decisions.

According to the concept of Blanchard's situational leadership: "Every managerial style should be adjusted to the level of knowledge, competence and maturity of employees." In the majority of young companies that do not have experience in managing, managers choose an authoritarian style of leadership, which slowly turns into a democratic leadership. This is related to the shaping of the company's structure and the increase of competences among employees and management.

The democratic leadership works well in enterprises where there is no need to have an outstanding manager. Instead, a good moderator - a manager is needed. After some time, when the employees become very independent and gain higher competences, the democratic leader can focus on consulting and coaching instead of spending time on managing.

Characteristic features

A very characteristic feature of democratic leadership is the fact that a leader will make a final decision. However, before making a choice, this person will also encourage other group members to take part in a decision-making process. Such way of leading can improve team members' job satisfaction due to they know about current affairs. Another important advantage of democratic leading is possibility of improvement employees' professional skills. Team members feel that they can affect on their potential promotion and because of that fact they work harder and are motivated. Although participating in the decision-making process is time-consuming, its final results are often satisfying. This way of acting should be considered in case of necessity of team working.

The size of the group that he or she works with does not have to be large - a team is small. However the level of its motivation is high. Employees who work with leader who uses democratic leadership methods do not feel tension which is related with their job to a higher degree than employees under autocratic leadership.

An acceptance of subordinates is relevant. Leader listens to the opinions of his or her co-workers. Employees can speak freely. The choice of the method of work depends on employee's preferences. Proposing their own ideas is welcome. Leaders try to implement subordinates' ideas into a practice.


(M. Z. Hackman, C. E. Johnson, 2013)

Leaders who use democratic methods are getting involved in supportive communication. Due to that interaction between leader and subordinates is possible. Employees are encouraged in participating in arrangement of purposes and procedures. Subordinates are believed that able to make an aware decision. Providing suggestions by followers is not received as intimidating but as a possibility of improving general quality of decision making process.

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Author: Justyna Kulesa