What is a participative leadership style? It is one that adds a bit of democracy into the chain-of-command. Instead of having a leader simply dictate the jobs that need to be done or the course of action that must be taken, the participative leadership style allows for a feasible amount of participation by those who are going to be affected by any decision that is made.
There are two basic methods of participative leadership that happen right now: representative participation and participatory management. In the representative form, a group of employees is directly involved in the decisions that an organization makes. In participatory management, a supervisor and their direct reports will work together to be responsible for certain decisions, but not necessarily the overall management of the company.
Why Choose To Use Participative Leadership?
Participative leadership styles focus on the concepts of sharing power. Because employees have more involvement in the decisions that are made, they are also more likely to take ownership of the work that needs to be done and complete it with a higher quality. It’s a motivation of growth through development because instead of having an employee try to eliminate errors, the employee is instead trying to produce positive ideas for change.
That’s where employees often grow stagnant. They become satisfied with their position and only do just enough to earn their paycheck every week. By investing in their creativity now, however, the participative leadership style is able to keep challenging employees in a positive way and this tends to create more cohesiveness in the working relationship.
Essentially the employee becomes a stakeholder in the participative leadership style. The power is redistributed from the bottom up, which means the most power is held by the entry-level employees. This allows them to protect their interests, but still receive guidance from leaders who have the experience and knowledge necessary to direct the group toward overall goals that reflect the mission of the organization.
What Holds the Participative Leadership Style Back?
The issue that comes up when using participative leadership styles is that decisions tend to come slowly. When there is a group of employees tasked with making a singular decision, it becomes nearly impossible sometimes to get controversial things done because there will be gridlock. Some will want to take a risk and others will not. This means the choice that is made is to not make a choice.
That’s why the participative leadership style is often introduced in specific areas of an organization where fast, emergency decisions don’t need to be made. In doing so, the front line employees end up getting some extra skin in the game. This helps everyone succeed a little more, develop individualized leadership skills, and ultimately do more good things every day.
When implemented correctly, participative leadership can change an entire organization for the better. It can lower employee turnover, inspire creativity, and create the investment that is needed for true change to occur. Used in conjunction with other leadership styles, it is one of the most powerful tools that you’ll ever have in your toolbox.