Democratic leadership style: Advantages, disadvantages, and typical examples

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Managers apply democratic leadership style to manage human resources, promote autonomy and positive contributions from all members of the organization, thereby creating breakthrough and creative solutions to the problems that need to be solved.

The democratic leadership style is a concept attracting the attention and research of many leaders and managers. This is a form of management that managers often use when interacting with and motivating the team under their management in the business. Let's explore this issue with Navigos Search in the article below for further insight into this concept.

1. What is democratic leadership style?

Democratic leadership style is a leadership style in which every member of the group participates in the decision-making process. This method can be applied to all organizations, private businesses, schools, and government agencies.

The democratic leadership style promotes discussion, debate, and efforts to reach a consensus among group members. Democratic leaders always appreciate the individuality and contribution of each member, considering it a critical factor in making accurate and effective decisions. They focus on building positive relationships between members and creating a motivating work environment.

With democratic leadership style, leaders do not use their power to dominate and influence others. Instead, they guide and support the group to achieve common organizational goals.

Find out the concept of democratic leadership style

2. Typical example of democratic leadership style

Below are a few examples of leaders with famous democratic leadership styles:

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is often regarded as one of the greatest presidents in this country's history. He is known for his leadership in the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Abraham Lincoln believed in democracy and worked tirelessly to guarantee that all citizens had equal rights.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. The leader was known for his inspirational speeches and leadership during one of the darkest periods in  British history. Churchill was a strong advocate of democracy and fought fascism and despotism throughout his lifetime.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is an American businessman and inventor. He wholeheartedly involves employees in the decision-making process. He only guides and coordinates the discussion to listen to new opinions and ideas from members about the product. However, after a while, he began to embrace an autocratic leadership style, which led to his resignation. However, after rejoining Apple, he regained power and promoted his democratic style.

People that Steve Jobs invited to work are encouraged to give opinions and develop themselves. He is willing to let his teammates agree and implement important decisions while he supervises and provides advice when necessary.

3. Characteristics of democratic leadership style

Democratic leadership style has the following characteristics:

Encouraging creativity and collaboration

Democratic leadership style encourages diverse views and opinions. They enable all members to participate in decision-making by using communication skills and creating openness. This promotes creativity and positive interaction within the group.

Setting collective goals to solve problems

To achieve success, people with democratic leadership styles frequently focus on creating common goals and solving challenges. They regard this as a critical aspect in ensuring productive and efficient work. Furthermore, those who adopt this style foster an environment that encourages conversation and the input of ideas to find the best solution to the problem.

Focusing on results

This leadership style always puts focus on results as the top priority. These leaders are continually looking for methods to improve performance and meet objectives. They are accountable for their team's outcomes and frequently establish precise goals and expectations to keep everyone on track.

High flexibility

Democratic leadership is highly adaptable. These leaders are always transparent and share vital information with members to ensure that decisions are based on correct and trustworthy information.

They are willing to change direction if it can produce better results, and they are always open to new ideas and different perspectives. They understand that no single leadership style is appropriate in all situations and that flexibility in decision making is critical for achieving the greatest results.

Outstanding characteristics of democratic leadership

4. Advantages and disadvantages of democratic leadership style

Democratic leadership style has distinct advantages and disadvantages, specifically as follows:


  • Creating inspiration and a cooperative spirit: The democratic leadership style promotes solidarity in the group, making members feel more connected and encouraged to share thoughts and ideas. This creates a sense of comfort and encourages collaboration.

  • Using diversity and expertise:  Democratic leaders seek a diverse range of viewpoints from its members. As a result, leaders can use their members' skills to create the most comprehensive and objective operating plans.

  • Boosting morale and motivation: Everyone on the team feels as if they are working toward a common objective, and democratic leadership boosts team morale, motivation, and dedication.

  • Many opinions and solutions: Contributions in this style provide many great business solutions. Although the review and selection process will take time, the final option will be the most efficient solution.

  • Suitable for many business environments: The democratic leadership style is suitable for many types of business environments, helping to promote development and success in different organizations and businesses.


  • Indecisiveness: If too many individuals are involved in a decision, democratic leadership can lead to indecisiveness. The conversation and decision-making process can be time-consuming and inefficient.

  • Conflict in the group: Conflict in the group is possible when members hold conflicting viewpoints on an issue. This diminishes productivity and creates a tense work atmosphere.

  • Taking advantage of the situation: Some employees may attempt to manipulate leaders into making decisions that are detrimental to the team or business. When making judgments, this might lead to ambiguity and even failure.

  • An experienced staff is required: When the staff has equal experience and abilities, democratic leadership works well. If members lack skills or awareness, the solutions presented may fail to solve the problem.

  • Requiring a lot of time: This style requires a lot of time because people need to discuss and debate to get a final decision. Therefore, democratic leadership is unsuitable for contexts requiring quick and timely decision making.

  • Some members feel frustrated: Some team members may feel disappointed if their ideas are not accepted or if the final decision is not the greatest answer in their perspective.

Advantages and disadvantages of leadership style

5. Advice for people following the democratic leadership style

Below are tips to help you apply a democratic leadership style effectively:

Determine whether the democratic leadership style is suitable for the actual situation

The democratic leadership style is not a suitable solution for all members and all situations and circumstances. There will be cases when appointing democratic leaders is not the best approach. Therefore, leaders must ensure the application of this style when they grasp the current situation and have the ability to create more value for the business.

Be open and transparent

If a leader decides to apply this leadership style in a given scenario or challenge, they should make every effort to maintain open communication with all team members. Collaboration in the establishment of processes, communication of information, and proactive problem-solving will help to strengthen the efficacy of the democratic leadership style.

Make sure everyone is committed to doing it

Leaders must make an effort to create conditions to encourage people's participation in the planning process and commitment to carrying out assigned work and for them to understand that they are responsible for the final results achieved. 

Review, evaluate, draw lessons

After applying the democratic leadership style, business administrators should observe to draw lessons from similar situations and problems in the future by asking questions such as:

  • Which method has brought the best results?

  • What factors played a decisive role?

  • Is there another better method?

By answering these questions, leaders can learn and improve their leadership process better in the future.

The secret to applying democratic leadership

6. When should democratic leadership style be applied in the workplace?

Democratic leadership style should be applied when every team member possesses the skills to contribute quality ideas and has sufficient time. Setting a deadline ensures that the collected opinions are responded to promptly for application when numerous people offer their opinions. Furthermore, this style is also appropriate when the information does not require confidentiality, is not private, and needs to be discussed by everyone to reach a final decision.

7. Is democratic leadership the best leadership style?

There is no optimum leadership style because each style has advantages and cons based on the leader's capacity. However, democratic leadership can be an effective leadership style, particularly where creativity and innovation are prioritized.

When leaders encourage everyone to participate in decision-making, they promote cohesion and harmony among team members. This leads to higher job satisfaction and makes each team member feel happy and satisfied with their work.

No leadership style is perfect for every situation

The above Navigos Search article provides critical information regarding the democratic leadership style, including concepts, traits, and typical examples, as well as how to properly apply this style. We hope you have received additional handy information to implement in your business.  Always actively improve your leadership skills and choose the most suitable style for each situation. Wishing you success and increasingly bringing your business stronger in the market.

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