Participative Leadership Style

By Your Query Staff

Published on November 27, 2021
Updated on December 17, 2021

Most importantly, the participative leadership style is the best way to get your employees engaged and motivated. In fact, it will increase productivity and overall efficacy. You may point it out as the practice of creating an environment. Here, all the employees are engaged in contributing to the organization's mission and vision.

You know what; this style is more than just listening. It is about challenges and people to get them to embrace change and innovation. Actually, participative leaders inspire and empower their employees to engage in solving problems and providing input for improvement. That is why; this article will aim to enlighten you on this leadership model.

Participative leadership definition

The definition of participative leadership is quite simple but not easily explained. Essentially, it's the leadership style in which the leaders are focused on creating an environment where people can work together to create an impact. This approach enables leaders to delegate more power to their employees so that they can be more involved and collaborative.

On the other hand, a participative leader is one who listens to people and uses their ideas to develop better ideas. In fact, it is not a glib job. Most importantly, it requires the ability to listen and consider other people’s opinions. Sometimes, these leaders give up their point of view and follow their team members’ suggestions.

However, the purpose of participative leadership is to create a culture of innovation, creativity, and collaboration. Besides, this culture teaches how a person can transform himself into a participative leader.  You know what; such a leader empowers the employees to take the initiative and think outside the box. 

Participative Leadership Style


Participative Leadership Characteristics

What are some of the most improbable characteristics that make a participative leader? How can a leader encourage more participation in their organizations? If these questions ever float in your mind, then this phase is for you. Here, we will elaborate on the most improbable characteristics of participative leadership.

We have explored several characteristics of participative leadership. You know what; this leadership style has become more productive by containing these characteristics. Thus, we can easily identify potential leaders with the right character traits to lead in an era of mass collaboration. So, let’s have a glimpse in the following lines.

•    Communication:

Communication is an essential tool for business leaders to be effective. Actually, successful business leaders are skilled communicators. They actively listen to their employees and work with them towards a common goal. Besides, they focus on interpersonal relationships, encourage diversity of thought and encourage employee participation in decision making.
You know what; effective communication in a leader is often more than just communicating with others. Besides, it is all about being able to listen, understand, and empathize while using non-verbal cues to get your point across. That is why; communication is a major trait of participative leadership.

•    Collaboration:

A leader is not just a person who can get things done. A good leader must be collaborative, cooperative, and always open to new ideas. You know what; collaboration plays an improbable role in the leadership of today's business leaders. That is why; it is a crucial aspect of this leadership model.
On the other hand, collaboration is a major concern for leaders in a globalized world. New technologies have made it feasible to edify a fruitful relationship between leadership and its people. Leaders who use collaborative techniques are recognized as more effective leaders.

•    Encouragement:

In the participative leadership style, the employees usually get huge encouragement from the leaders. Thus, the workers feel pathos to engage them in achieving the ultimate goal of the organization. You know what; this leadership inspires employees to work as a team.

It means that employees are not just informed about the mission of the company but also about its future direction. For encouraging them, a leader is usually required to understand their employee's needs and perspectives. After that, he can bring out the dedicated output from them.

•    Quality Decision Making:

Quality decision-making is a very critical aspect of participative leadership. It is based on the belief that decision-making is based on an understanding of the whole facts. Obviously, the decision will not come from one point of view. Therefore, the organization gets the benefits of quality decision-making.
On the other hand, the leaders are answerable for making high-quality decisions in their companies. Besides, they must understand the role of participative leadership. That is why; they should develop an approach that seeks to involve all employees in setting company goals and values.

•    Approachable:

In participative leadership, however, the leader is approachable and always available for questions. They believe in allowing everyone to have a voice and work towards creating a collective vision for their organization. You know what; the work of the leader is to build team spirit.

For this reason, the leaders need to show that they are approachable. Besides, they must care about the people they lead. A simple way to do this is by asking questions: why, what if? If you want your team to feel like they can talk to you and you’ll listen. In addition, you should ask questions and take time for feedback.

•    Empowerment:

Empowerment is a major part of participative leadership. It involves an individual’s sense of responsibility for his or her own growth and development. Thus, it ultimately leads to personal fulfillment. Here, the participative leaders empower their team to achieve the organizational goal.
In fact, an empowered team provides the best work. Besides, its members feel that they are part of a great organization. However, this fact distinguishes a great leader from a good one. You know what; the deep sense and trust of a leader can create an empowered workforce.

Participative Leadership Advantages and Disadvantages


In many cases, advantages and disadvantages of authoritarian leadersip change their places in participative leadership. The world of work is changing rapidly. New leadership styles are taking hold, and traditional ways of leading are being challenged by new ideas. You know what; participative leadership is almost a new trend. Here, it is all about the collective work of the leader and employees in the organization to make decisions.

Moreover, the participative leadership style focuses on interpersonal relationships and the participation of stakeholders. Here, we can observe many advantages of participative leadership techniques. Undoubtedly, it is really effective in today’s highly competitive workplace. However, it comes with some disadvantages too. In this phase, we will explore those advantages and disadvantages further.


•    Improve Morality:

Leadership is not just about giving orders. It is about working conjointly to attain something greater. The more people are ethically motivated, the more they can contribute and work together towards a common goal. In this case, participative leadership can be really workable.

You know what; these Leaders have a unique opportunity to build a culture that is based on virtue and morality. Several studies show that people must have a strong sense of justice. In this way, they will also have a stronger sense of well-being and can handle adversity better.

•    Lessens Competition:

Competition is an essential part of our society, but it can be detrimental to organizations. You know what; it may cause divisions between people and makes employees hesitant to share knowledge or work together. Therefore, the leader inspires the employees to work together for the good of the company.

In other words, he prevents unusual rivalry among them. A neoteric study by the University of California has shown that participative leadership can decrease competition in organizations. The leader usually does it through reward and a balanced level of control. When employees grope they have a say in their work and how it is done, competition decreases.

•    Increases the Job Retention:

Certainly, participative leadership has a significant impact on retention in an organization. In fact, it is directly correlated with increased job retention among employees. Besides, it indicates that managers who are more participative are more successful in retaining their workers.

That is why; participative leadership is really exigent for the betterment of the organization.  You know what; many studies show that employees who feel involved and heard at work are more likely to stay. In addition, this leadership style usually maintains a high level of employee satisfaction.

•    Ensures Accountability:

The true power of participative leadership lies in how it contributes to greater accountability. As opposed to traditional leadership, which can create a culture of complacency and distance, participative leadership is driven by collaboration. It aims to shift the organizational culture to promote greater levels of employee engagement.

Besides, when everyone is aligned with the same vision, there are no hidden agendas or reasons for inaction. Thus, the leader ensures collaboration and accountability. In addition, he also empowers employees with the ability to take more responsibility for their work.


•    Slows Down the Decision-Making Process:

The apt way to make firm decisions is to involve as many people as possible. Here, Participative leadership involves all the stakeholders in the decision-making process at various levels. But, if everyone is included in the decision-making process, then it could lead to a lot of disagreement and time wasted.
You know what; people love to participate in decisions. Most importantly, we need to take into account that everyone’s participation is not necessary. It often brings unnecessary friction in the decision-making process. However, it can create a crisis for the organizations.

•    Lessens Quality of Expertise:

Participative leadership often lessens the quality of expert knowledge. In fact, this leadership style has a direct negative effect on a leader's ability to identify and select high-quality experts. We believe this finding may have important implications for managers in both the public and private sectors.
However, it can create uncertainty because of poor expertise. Therefore, the organization can lag behind its goal. Sometimes, the leaders get into a dilemma, and the teams' overall performance starts to collapse. In this case, the leader must be alert while implementing and practicing this style.

•    Increases the Overall Cost:

In a participative leadership system, employees actively participate in decision-making. It means that instead of a manager making all the decisions alone, everyone participates in the decision-making process. Therefore, it can significantly increase the cost of working for an organization.

You know what; the rise of the cost may decrease the profitability of the organization. Besides, the organization may face some other financial crises as well.  Here, the leaders must be good mediators to solve this issue. Otherwise, this leadership style may increase capital investment and operational costs.

•    Enhances the Conflict:

The common trait of people is to be valued and accepted. But, this thing can be hurt in participative leadership. It is because; everyone cannot have an equal part in the decision-making process. In this case, some employees may feel offended. Consequently, it can create conflict within the organization.
Obviously, participative leadership can improve productivity and create a better atmosphere for teamwork. But, some evidence suggests that participants may get into conflict with each other. Thus, it directly falls down the productivity of the organization.

Participative Leadership Examples

In a participative leadership model, leaders listen to their employees and customers and build a relationship based on mutual trust. It allows the leader to have a greater influence over the organization's direction. The result is a more engaged workforce, more informed decision-making, and a better customer experience.

Let’s take the example of the supply chain in E-commerce. For instance, we can Name Amazon. After studying it thoroughly, we can observe the participative leadership practice in this organization. Here, Jeff Bezos is a perfect example of a participative leader. Similarly, we can Name Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They are the real icon of this leadership model.

What was the leadership style of Jack Welch as a CEO of GE? In a recent post on QUORA, a user asked this question to him. You know what; He was the Chief Executive Officer of this renowned organization. In his answer, Welch explains he practiced participative style. He believes that it was the reason why he could add value to the organization.


Well, we have learned an in-depth view of the participative leadership style. Obviously, it is an approach that inspires employees to take an active role in the organization. You know what; it is a process to drive the employees to a bigger goal. Most importantly, sharing a common objective ensures greater engagement and output from the employees.
However, this approach is often used by organizations that value teamwork over hierarchy and command-and-control structures. Besides, you may observe a greater rate of success in this leadership style. That is why; this model of leadership is being highly popular among the modern-day business community.