Democratic Leadership Style

The democratic leadership style is thought to be one of the better ways to lead. Of course this leadership style works great with certain types of groups and providing you have time to seek the opinion of your group.

So what is this style of leadership?

Many refer to a democratic leadership style to one that before moving forward gets the “buy in” from whatever group they are the leader of. As an example if you were wanting to implement a change to a procedure or policy you would gather the opinions and suggestions from the entire group affected by the change. At some point the entire group would agree on what should be done and the leader would have the final say.

The down side to this style is it is very time consuming and can back fire if the suggestions and ideas are not good ones. When this happens you get people making comments like, “why do they even bother asking us, they will do what they intended to do anyway!” In these situations you would have been better off taking a different approach. Therefore, be calculated in when and under what type of situations you will seek the group’s opinions and ideas.

Another drawback to the democratic leadership style is it tends to put leaders in a position of little to no authority or trying to make everyone happy. If a leader is continually seeking everyone’s “buy in” it creates an environment whereby everyone begins to feel as though they must have a say in the process.

This turns a process that was meant to bring harmony into the group to one that begins to disrupt it.

On the flip side this style of leadership when used appropriately under certain circumstances is one of the best out there. Again, they key is that only under certain circumstances would you apply this style of leadership. It should be random and not the only style you use.

Typically when you have groups of professionals that are working as a team on various projects it pay’s huge dividends seeking feedback from the group as a whole. Many would refer this to “Green Light Thinking!” Green light thinking is where you present a challenge and seek feedback from those that may have knowledge of or are directly involved in the issue. During this initial process no idea is a bad one. At some point after all ideas have been thrown on the table the group begins to eliminate and narrow down the possible solutions. This is great but still requires someone to facilitate the process and takes way more time than you normally will have to resolve issues.

It is my opinion that leadership should never boil down to one style such as the democratic leadership style. Although a good one it is not an end all solution to being a great leader.

Having spent twelve years in the Marine Corps this style of leadership would only be effective under very limited conditions. In most cases a delay in making decisions and implementing necessary responses from a team could cost lives in the military.

Thank you and May GOD Bless You!

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