Leaders of the past believed that they had to take every decision individually to stay relevant. They believed that involving more people in the decision-making process will reduce their appeal. However, in the status quo, the mindset is changing. Democratic leadership, a popular style of leadership, requires leaders to be inclusive and involve a diverse group of people in the decision-making process.
By being a democratic leader, you are changing your mindset as well as your vision. You are accepting that your position as a leader does not make you morally or intrinsically superior to others. You are also accepting that people who work for you can also come up with brilliant ideas that can help you in your decision-making process.
If you want to enjoy the many, many perks of democratic leadership, give this article a thorough read.
What Is Democratic Leadership?
Democratic leadership is also known as participative leadership and involves leaders allowing a plethora of diverse people to participate and contribute to the decision-making process. Although less common in the past, democratic leadership is getting traction in the 21st century. You can now see it being practiced in schools, businesses, and governmental organizations.
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What Are the Characteristics of Democratic Leadership?
1. The Distribution of Responsibility.
A common misconception that exists within the marketplace is that workers do not appreciate it when they are given tasks or responsibilities. However, in reality, the situation is quite contrary. Receiving tasks and the acknowledgment that comes with them is essential for the growth of any employee.
Democratic leadership ensures that the distribution of responsibility happens effectively. This means that they will think hard before they decide how to delegate tasks. Additionally, they will also ensure that this distribution happens fairly and by equitable means.
2. The Empowerment of Others
Once a democratic leader assigns tasks to individuals, the next thing they do is empower others and gives them the necessary pep talk. By motivating individuals they can complete a task successfully, these democratic leaders also ensure long-term sustainability for the company. They ensure that the individuals can work to their full capacity and generate good results for the entire team.
Another way to empower others is to let them know that the leader trusts them completely and utterly. Let them know that this trust is unconditional and is not removed when these individuals make a mistake.
3. The Aiding of Decision-making
More often than not, employees who are unable to make quick and effective decisions are employees who do not believe that the company they work in or their leaders have their back. This is where democratic leadership is different from others. Democratic leadership ensures that individuals within a company can make the best decisions for themselves and their company.
Moreover, democratic leadership also ensures that once employees or a team have made a decision, they are respected and given liberty and freedom to execute their plans.
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What Are the Pros and Cons of Democratic Leadership?
|Ensures inclusivity where individuals who are affected by the decision are made part of the decision-making process.||Is time-consuming as leaders need to involve a plethora of people in the decision-making process.|
|Develops trust in leadership because leaders who involve others are respected and revered more.||When people expect to participate at every turn, they may get resentful on occasions they are not involved in the decision-making process|
|Makes people more accountable as they realize that their word has more meaning and can impact the company.||Lack of expertise may overburden the leader and prevent them from making timely decision.|
|Attracts more people to the company because they realize that there contributions will be validated.|
|Democratic leadership ensures shared ownership of responsibility which makes it easier for everyone to be more diligent.|
5 Steps to Become a Democratic Leader
Adapting to the democratic leadership style may seem easy, however, it requires conscious effort on your part. From changing your mindset to adjusting your behavior, here are the 5 things you need to do to become a truly democratic leader.
- Let go of your biases
- Become an inclusive and participatory leader
- Invest in training
- Maintain neutrality
- Take ownership
1. Let Go Of Your Biases
Every individual, whether they belong to a conservative or a progressive society or community, has some biases that reflect in their behavior. From influencing their hiring decisions to influencing how they delegate tasks, these biases can be counterproductive to everything that a leader is and everything a leader does.
To become a truly democratic leader, one who is free from any internal or external prejudices, one has to make a conscious effort to let go of all their biases. This requires leaders to delve deeper into their thoughts and deeply analyze whether the decision they are taking is objective or influenced by subjective means.
2. Become an Inclusive and Participatory Leader
Inclusivity is essential, not just because it is the morally and ethically right thing to do, but also because inclusivity helps a company or an organization grow. Democratic leaders are inclusive and go out of their way to remove any toxicity from the environment. From ensuring good HR policies to creating a welcoming and positive environment, they ensure that the workers get to work to the best of their abilities.
Additionally, democratic leadership is also participatory which means that it ensures employees working in the company listen too. Moreover, these individuals are also made part of the decision process. This ensures that any decision that is made reflects the consensus of the team.
Also Read: Inclusive vs Transformational Leadership- Are they the same?
3. Invest in Training
There are two things to note here. Democratic leadership does not only invest in their training; it also allows other individuals to get the proper training they need to get ahead in the game. If you want to be a truly democratic leader, you will have to choose a program that is holistic and covers every aspect of your leadership training.
Moreover, through proper and extensive training, potential leaders can learn the many ways to let go of their biases and learn non-discrimination. Additionally, good training programs can enhance a person’s personality and make them stand out in the crowd.
4. Maintain Neutrality
As a leader, your job is not to play favorites. There will be many times when you will have to choose between different individuals or different teams. You may even be inclined towards one group because either your personal beliefs align with them or you have a slight hankering that this particular group may be in the right. However, democratic leadership requires you to maintain neutrality.
The above is crucial because leaders who get involved in office politics or pick favorites end up becoming a loose canon. They end up going through a slippery slope that ends up damaging their reputation and their credibility.
5. Take Ownership
Another characteristic of democratic leadership is that it does not put leaders on a pedestal. Democratic leadership ensures that leaders do not value themselves above everyone else and are not boastful. If you want to adopt the democratic leadership style, you need to show humility and compassion at every turn. You need to ensure that you do not treat people with remorse or do not try to instill fear in them.
When you make mistakes or take a decision that is not in the best interest of the company, do not be stubborn. Leaders are respected more when they take ownership of their bad decisions and accept their mistakes. Leaders who are stubborn and stick to bad policies, even after realizing that they are in the wrong, end up losing the trust of everyone in the organization.
How to Use Democratic Leadership
You can use democratic leadership to your advantage. Whether you are looking to take an everyday decision or you are looking to decide the fate of the company, make sure to involve all the stakeholders. Here is how you can use democratic leadership.
Step 1: Communicate your intentions well so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
Step 2: When a crisis hits, gather everyone around and discuss the issue with them.
Step 3: Ask everyone to come up with alternative plans.
Step 4: Discuss all the alternative plans and assess their pros and their cons.
Step 5: Reach a decision that is best for the company.
Become a Democratic Leader With the Best Diplomats
Best Diplomats brings participants from more than 85 nations every year and gives them a united platform where they can express their ideas. Through this, it inculcates a feeling of inclusivity and belonging in each individual.
More importantly, Best Diplomats gives participants opportunities to involve each other in the decision-making process and come up with ideas that are beneficial to a greater number of people. Through discourse and discussion, individuals can find commonalities among the plans devised by each party. They are then able to find the lowest common denominator: a solution that works for everyone.
By devising their training programs like this, Best Diplomats has vowed to inculcate democratic leadership skills in every participant that joins them.
Democracy was not an overnight concept. It took the world centuries to devise a system that works for the people. In much the same way, democratic leadership came about as a progressive idea where leaders realized how important it is to involve others in the decision-making process.
When leaders work in isolation, they do not realize the impact they are having. They also overburden themselves and take the entire brunt of a deal upon themselves. Being a democratic leader helps reduce the burden on the leader and makes the whole process of decision-making more participatory.
However, make sure you give yourself ample time to adapt to this new style. Democratic leadership is time consuming and often requires everyone to have the best intentions for the company. This is why a lot of people choose not to become a democratic leader.
Which Leadership Style Is Opposite to the Democratic Leadership Style?
The leadership style that is opposite to the democratic leadership style is Autocratic leadership style. The latter involves leaders using their authority to singlehandedly decide the fate of the country or organizations. A famous autocratic leader, someone who goes against all the values of democratic leadership, is Adolf Hitler.
Which Leadership Style Is Synonymous With Democratic Leadership Style?
Two leadership styles are most synonymous with the democratic leadership style. These include inclusive leadership and participatory leadership. Both require leaders to let go of their biases and involve as many people in the decision-making process as possible.
Who Are the Most Famous Democratic Leaders in the World?
Democratic leadership style was not present vividly in the past. It has just recently emerged as a valuable concept. In the past decades, the world has started to appreciate democratic leaders more and more. Here are some of the most prominent democratic leaders that have graced this Earth.
1. Dwight Eisenhower, The 34th U.S. President
2. Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
3. Larry Page, Co-founder of Google
4. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter
Why Is Best Diplomats the Best Platform to Learn a Democratic Leadership Style?
Best diplomats was formed by a group of people who believe that the true essence of democracy lies in inclusivity. These people believe that democracy should not be limited to governments, but should benefit every organization.
This is why Best Diplomats trains individuals to include as many people as possible in the decision-making process. Its extensive short term training courses bring together a diverse group of people that help teach you the beauty of democratic leadership.