Participative Leadership

1582 Words Dec 21st, 2011 7 Pages
Participative Leadership: Strengths and Weaknesses
The simple act of making decisions is an essential task leaders must perform effectively to succeed. Behavioral theories of leadership focus on how leaders approach a situation and whether they dictate orders or involve others to encourage support. Research into decision-making behavior has identified three broad categories of leaders: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire (Changing Minds, 2011). This paper will focus on these behavioral theories of leadership, primarily concentrating on participative leadership.
An autocratic leader tells employees what to do and how to do it. On the opposite extreme, a laissez-faire leader allows employees to make their own decisions with little
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Theorists on participative leadership suggest decision making falls along a spectrum (Figure 1): 1. Autocratic Decision. At one end of the spectrum is no participation from others. The leader makes a sole decision without input from other employees or managers. 2. Consultation. The leader considers the opinions and suggestions of others, but ultimately decides alone. 3. Joint decision. The leader and team equally share the final decision. 4. Delegation. At the opposite end of the continuum, the manager entrusts decision making to another individual or group. The leader provides guidance but approval of the final decision by the leader may not be required (Yukl, 2010).
Even though a leader must use each decision making approach in the course of business, I believe the majority of decisions should fall in the middle of the spectrum, somewhere between consultation and joint decision. Involving others is important not only for the success of the leader but also has positive consequences for employees.
High influence by others
No influence by others

Figure [ 1 ]. Spectrum of Decision Making. Excerpted from Yukl, 2010.

Strengths of Participative Leadership
In the proposed scenario, the company is expanding and restructuring, which can be a time of stress and decreased productivity. However, studies show that participative leadership can help counter these effects during times of change. In addition, studies have linked