The Advantages of Participative Leadership Theories

Written by don rainwater
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The Advantages of Participative Leadership Theories
"Participative leadership" employs communication between employers and employees to facilitate change. (Michael Hitoshi/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Participative leadership theories encourage participation from employees on the decision-making process with organizational management. Sometimes the democratic style of leadership allows the employees to give suggestions on how a corporation operates and on decisions that facilitate change. Advantages of the participative theories include better employer and employee relationships, the discovery of future leaders, motivation, team spirit and employee productivity.

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Employer/Employee Relationships

Most employees want to feel like they are wanted in the workplace. They want meaningful work and want to be a part of the decision-making process. Under participative leadership theories, employees are empowered to step out of their normal role as labourers and become a part of the decision-making process. This eases tensions between employees and employers and creates a sense of team. Productivity will rise and the employees will be happier with the relationship.

Future Leadership Discovery

When employees participate in the decision-making process, current management has the opportunity to see who is stepping up to the plate and who is coming up with ideas. This is just another tool for management to evaluate employees for promotion. When employees are promoted from within a company, less outsiders are brought in, and the employees are more motivated to do a good job. Many companies with defunct leadership practices often miss opportunities to promote from within. A new leader found within the company will be a valuable cornerstone for teamwork.


All employees feel the need for motivation. Motivation is the key concept for change. People are naturally resistant to change, and leadership needs to find the proper theory to help people make the transition. Communication is the most important facet of motivation. If employees feel out of the loop, then they are less likely to concentrate on the main goal of the team or organisation. With participative leadership, the employee has more information and will stay more active in the change or decision process. Employers must initiate the communication as a show of faith to their employees.

Team Spirit

Since employees have a position and input in the decision-making process, the sense of involvement is not just felt individually but is felt as a team. If potential negative circumstances are involved in the decision that is to be made, team-centred involvement will allow the leadership to be informed more fully of the pros and the cons. Communication is still important. When the leaders finally make a decision, the team is prepared for it; and with its participation, the stress and resistance to change is diminished. If negative perceptions of the change is noticed, the team can diffuse the situation without leadership becoming involved.

Employee Productivity

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between participative leadership and productivity. There is a suggestion that through communication and participative leadership high-quality performance can be obtained. Leadership that practices the participative model have higher ratings as managers than leaders who manipulate their employees. Participative leadership begins a cycle of productive leadership and productive employees. This cycle increases company profitability and allows for internal growth. More promotions are possible and the progress of productivity increases across the company as the team grows.

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