Five Styles of Leadership: Participative Leadership

A participative leadership style takes into consideration the opinions and thoughts of the subordinates before making a decision. This type of leadership style is useful in situations where the leader needs to tap on the expertise and talent of the team members.

Robert Kiyosaki, bestselling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, said that he would always surround himself with people smarter than him. He illustrates the best strengths of using participative leadership: by having an expert from each field give their unique perspective to the same situation.

Robert Kiyosaki understands the importance of adopting participative leadership when consulting with his team. He understands that he’s not the smartest in the room and there are people under him who can give him better advice.

A board of directors functions in a similar way. Directors of a company are often people who have a wide array of experiences and are able to offer a value-added viewpoint on a company decision.

The Value of Participative Leadership

group discussion

As both examples have illustrated, this form of leadership is powerful because you can help an organization grow bigger than your education, expertise and experience by tapping on others.

You may not be a lawyer, accountant or land surveyor, but by having these people on the team,  you’ll find that your collective wisdom is far greater than if you were consider an issue yourself.

They will offer you perspectives with regard to the law of the land, the industry practices as well as the decision in light of the current environment. They will clear your misconceptions and prevent you from making amateur mistakes.

By listening and valuing feedback from each member of the team, you give them personal ownership in the decisions of the organization; thereby increasing their motivation to do their best as well.

Of course, it takes a great deal of security for a leader to do so, for it means trusting the perspectives of the team, and that means uncertainty for the leader. Any leader with an ego will find it hard to submit his own views to the views of others.

Facilitating Participation

Having a culture of participation and openness starts off with the organization culture and by extension, the leader’s willingness to listen to new viewpoints.

The leader must possess facilitation skills; to ask the right questions and to resist giving answers in order to do it  well. The leader must learn to draw out honest opinions from the team and encourage healthy debate.

These are all skills that need to be learnt and practiced, but the rewards for creating that culture are huge.

Bass and Colleagues Five Styles Of Leadership

» Directive leadership style
The directive leader tells his followers what to do, and how to do it exactly. He specifics standards required of his followers and exercise firm authority over them.

» Consultative leadership style
The consultative leader seeks the counsel of the whole team before making a decision on what the team should do. He is also task oriented, but he seeks the opinion of his followers as well.

» Negotiative leadership style
The negotiative leader employs a more political approach to leadership. He has a personal interest in his decisions and he uses incentives to entice his followers to do certain things.

» Delegative leadership style
He takes back seat toward decision making, and allows his team to take their own course of action. He only sits down together with the team to discuss possible decisions that could be adopted.

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