Being a good leader means being able to master multiple leadership styles according to the occasion. We have already seen the authoritative leader, the coach leader and the federate leader. Let’s see this time the democratic leader.
The democratic leader establishes a climate of trust and respect and, in this context, dedicates time to his collaborators to gather their feedback and to solicit their consent.
Certainly giving the team the opportunity to express their opinion on a decision that will involve them or the organization as a whole is a way to make it proactive and stimulate a strong sense of responsibility within the team.
The democratic style is ideal when the manager is not sure what the best decision is, but it is also ideal when the leader already has clarity about the path to take and wants to involve the team in their position, perhaps getting some innovative input from their staff.
But “democracy means government based on discussion, but it only works if it can get people to stop arguing,” said British politician Clement Attlee.
The democratic style has its limits if it translates into a whirlwind of endless meetings in which everyone proposes ideas in “blue sky thinking” mode without landing on a solution and perhaps updating each time to the next meeting.
Some leaders are not able to regain control of such a tread, others do not want to because they are affected by the same propensity that afflicted in ancient Rome the consul Quinto Fabio Massimo (called Cunctator or Timer) and deliberately take this road as a mere delaying technique.
The democratic style is also unsuitable when the team does not have the necessary skills to close the discussion on a reasoned decision.
Whether it is a lack of decision-making ability of the manager, a delaying technique or inadequacy of the team, the result is almost always frustrating for employees and leads to a snaky malaise if not open conflict.