The business environment is dynamic. The primary objective of every business is to turn and remain profitable. However, this isn’t possible without a good leader who inspires their employees and aligns business activities with organizational goals. Leadership could be authoritative, autocratic, transformational, etc. One type of leadership is participative leadership. This blog will briefly introduce participative leadership theory, participative leadership characteristics, and various participative leadership style examples.


  1. Participative Leadership Definition

  2. Participative Leadership Characteristics

  3. Participative Leadership Examples

  4. Participative Leadership Style Advantages and Disadvantages


Participative Leadership Definition

Participative leadership refers to leaders who employ a democratic approach to team engagement. Participative leaders give employees a chance to express their creativity by coming up with suggestions to tackle a situation. This is in stark contrast to authoritative leadership, where all decisions depend on the leader. Under participative leadership, the leader empowers their followers and makes them a part of the decision-making process. As a result, employees feel valued and devote themselves wholeheartedly to the organization. Participative leaders can motivate their employees and extract better performances from them. This leadership style helps achieve the company’s objectives efficiently and effectively.

Participative Leadership Characteristics


  1. Curiosity

    Participative leaders are curious, always looking for fresh and innovative ideas from their employees to improve the business. They realize that inputs from others can enable them to see the larger picture from various perspectives.

  2. Excellent Communication Skills

    Seeking inputs and suggestions from workers requires leaders with excellent communication skills. Communication is a significant factor in an organization’s success. Both upward and downward flows of communication are important. If feedback from the employees or leader is not taken seriously, the team could face chaos. 

  3. Ability To Empower Workers

    Authoritative leaders make decisions by themselves. Suggestions from employees are seen as a challenge to their authority. Participative leaders try to empower employees with decision-making responsibilities and active participation in the company. They want others to lead as well. Therefore, participative leaders provide knowledge and training to their employees to prepare them as leaders of tomorrow.

  4. Broad-mindedness

    Participative leadership calls for open-mindedness. Such leaders are always open to inputs, suggestions and advice from their colleagues and subordinates. They acknowledge that feedback from the workforce brings better results.

  5. Good Listening Skills

    Participative leaders are great listeners. They love receiving inputs from their employees. Therefore, they encourage employees to speak up. This way, employees also feel connected and devoted to the company. A participative leader realizes that high morale among the employees delivers better overall results. They also make sure to appreciate their employees for their work.


Participative Leadership Examples

A large number of successful leaders follow a participative style of leadership in their organizations. The following are a few examples of participative leaders:


  1. Bill Gates 

    The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is a true participative leadership example. He is known to take suggestions from colleagues and teams. He understands how imperative it is to value the knowledge and skills of team members.

  2. Indra Nooyi

    The Chief Executive Officer of Pepsico, Indra Nooyi, realizes the importance of teamwork. She communicates with employees regularly to know their feelings and thoughts. She has also written personalized letters to employees and their family members on some occasions. Such leadership style is one of the factors that led to the success of Pepsico.

  3. Carlos Ghosn

    The Chief Executive Officer of Renault & Nissan is another example of a leader who practices participative leadership. He knows the importance of employee participation in decision-making activities. He believes that employees are experienced and can provide valuable inputs to improve operations.



Participative Leadership Style Advantages and Disadvantages


The advantages of participative leadership are many. The participative leadership style examples discussed above show that these leaders can push their employees in the right direction to attain organizational goals. This allows for a scope of collective decision-making, which enhances the skills and capabilities of the entire team. However, the participation leadership theory has a few disadvantages too. This style can be time-consuming, it may not work with unskilled employees, and improper communication could cause conflict.


Now that you’re familiar with the meaning of participative leadership, you can agree that the conventional models of autocratic and authoritative leadership are now redundant.  The advantages of participative leadership allow businesses worldwide to enjoy continued success. These are times when democratic, participative leadership styles work best. Harappa offers various effective leadership courses. Join Harappa’s Leading Self  program now!

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