Have you ever worked in an environment where everyone seems frustrated, including yourself? If not, here’s an example where a leader shared their frustration with their current organization during a recent coaching session.

As we discussed the cause of their frustration, I realized there was a deeper issue going on. On the surface, the leader’s frustration resulted from their team members not supporting their vision. However, the root cause of their frustration was their leadership style.

The leader was replicating the leadership style of their previous leaders, which was very directive. This leader’s authoritarian style worked well, so they did what most emerging leaders do: they replicated their leaders’ style.

“Autocratic leaders typically make choices based on their ideas and judgments and rarely accept advice from followers.”

– Kendra Cherry

While there is a time and place for leaders to be directive, autocratic leadership will not inspire others to buy into their vision.

There are many different leadership styles, and the one you choose could increase your chances of success. For example, research shows that participative leadership is usually more productive than authoritative models.

What is participative leadership exactly? It’s a form of leadership that shares power and encourages input. Management studies show that it can enhance outcomes and increase job satisfaction and morale. It’s the difference between giving orders and building consensus.

Learning to be a more collaborative leader can help your relationships and your career.

Put these 5 techniques to work for you and maximize the advantages of participative leadership:

  1. Earn trust. For a participative workplace to flourish, colleagues need to trust their leader and each other. That requires confidence in each other’s character and abilities. Sincerity and transparency are essential.
  2. Pull together. Close communication draws a team together. As a result, team members are more likely to develop strong and healthy professional relationships and even socialize more outside of work.
  3. Increase engagement. According to recent Gallup polls, employee engagement is the lowest it’s been in 20 years. Fifty-four percent of employees say they are psychologically unattached to their work and do the minimum. Giving employees a greater voice can increase their commitment.
  4. Celebrate diversity. One of the greatest strengths of participative leadership is welcoming contributions from team members with various talents and backgrounds. Approaching challenges from many different perspectives usually create more effective solutions.
  5. Reward innovation. The free flow of ideas is another benefit. When you create a safe environment for discussion, team members are more likely to propose ideas that can help your business.

You can develop your participative leadership skills with practice. Then, use them to advance your career and make your work more meaningful.

Are you becoming a more participative leader?


Click HERE to listen to The MOORE Leadership Moment podcast and grow your leadership with experientially learned and researched-based leadership principles and best practices.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

Hi, I'm Kim, Your Leadership Guide. I equip aspiring leaders to lead with confidence, emerging leaders to expand their influence, and accomplished leaders to achieve significance!