Participative Leadership: Meaning & Significance

Scientists agree that success cannot be attained through bureaucratic structures in education emphasizing top-down relationships but through decentralized structures of authority. The optimum strategy, according to scientists, is participative management. The definition of participation or participatory leadership is the shared influence for decision-making between superiors and subordinates. From this vantage point, participatory management has strongly emphasized distributing power and making decisions. Active leaders inspire instructors to take advantage of new chances, produce fresh data, and excel. Therefore, participative leadership behavior may be claimed to influence change-oriented organizational citizenship behavior

Leadership Styles

The effectiveness of the organization's use of human and financial resources is significantly influenced by the leadership style employed. According to the literature, an organization's leadership styles can affect its corporate values, productivity, and performance. Daniel Goleman claims that organizations have six different types of leadership: coaching, pacesetting, affiliative, authoritative, and coercive. Coercive leadership entails forcing followers to carry out the leader's instructions. Authoritarian leadership is when a leader directs their followers by giving them instructions on how to carry out specific tasks. Affiliative leadership aims to develop cordial ties between a leader and their followers. Participative leadership entails allowing followers to participate in organizational decisions, which leads to greater commitment.

What is Participative Leadership?

Participative leadership incorporates a democratic procedure to motivate followers to commit to tasks and develop original ideas. To make wise decisions, leaders take their followers' suggestions into account. These leaders focus on their followers by soliciting feedback and fostering a welcoming environment. All members of an organization must feel as though they have a voice since this inspires them to put in more effort. Because they share decision-making authority, the leader and followers are on an equal footing. They help to create a cohesive team dynamic. Thus it is critical to choose proactive followers in the decision-making process. The decision-making process should be of excellent quality so that participants are happy and develop their skills. With communication, followers make wise judgments, and leaders typically go above and above to get followers involved. Leaders must develop trust for followers to feel comfortable speaking their minds and contributing original ideas. This style of leadership promotes bottom-up decision-making and fosters peace among businesses.

Qualities of a Participative Leader

It includes

  • Participating leaders get input from their workforce, consult with them, and consider their perspectives.

  • Participative managers encourage their staff to look for new opportunities and to educate themselves by collecting, sharing, and relating information.

  • Participative leaders play a part in fostering innovation and chances for corporate learning.

  • An excellent participatory leader is good at communicating and paying attention to the needs of their followers.

  • Participative leaders include their followers in setting achievable goals and communicating priorities to them.

  • They help followers develop their skills and give them the resources they need.

Advantages of Participative Leadership

The approach frequently wins praise for its capacity to boost employee engagement. Participatory leaders actively seek out and use follower feedback. When followers feel that the leader values their input and work, it gives them a great sense of worth and job satisfaction. Productivity rises due to participants in participatory leadership being more motivated and committed to achieving a goal. People usually feel valued by sharing their opinions when someone asks for guidance. People feel much more a part of an organization when they participate in decision-making than if they go there to perform a normal task. Making proposals for new products or improving existing ones helps people grow as thinkers. Getting feedback from followers may take some time, and decisions inside companies may be made slowly, but the likelihood of making the right choice is great. The motivation and dedication of the followers are increased. People who are aware that they are free to share their opinions typically find more creative solutions to problems and are better able to deal with challenges in life.

Disadvantages of Participative Leadership

Even though the participative leadership approach has numerous benefits, it has challenges. The style's human-centered approach needs to be revised, particularly its emphasis on soliciting feedback from followers. First, it takes much time to involve followers in decision-making. Leaders must take the time to explain the problem they are trying to solve or the options available to followers so that they have the knowledge they need to make wise judgments. Giving followers enough time to assimilate the information, develop ideas, and provide possibilities to the leader is important. It is also ineffective when followers need more skills, expertise, or information to contribute meaningfully. To make sure that followers can contribute, leaders may need to invest much time in assessing them and, if necessary, providing them with training. Maintaining harmony and cooperation among team members while working toward a common objective can take time and effort. Conflict can occasionally arise during group projects when people share and debate diverse views. The ability of participative leaders to make decisions may become too reliant on their followers


Organizations vary from one another based on the owner and employee behavior as well as their perceptions of the most effective leadership styles. Although most people favor democracy and participative leadership in their organizations, this does not necessarily translate into increased productivity. Since there is not something comprehensive, none of the leadership styles can be regarded as the best. Organizations are moving toward more participative leadership today. It is crucial to address people's demands if you want harmony in your workplace. People favor working in environments where they can showcase their talents and feel good about the job they produce. Evidence suggests that some leaders do not want to waste time attending to the demands of the workforce. They must be aware that connecting with them would save time and enhance their motivation to work hard, leading to a profitable business.