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Participative Management Style Advantages & Disadvantages - HRDQ

Participative Management Style Advantages & Disadvantages

Every manager has a different method of leading their team. If you fall under the participative management style, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, so you can enhance your skills as a leader.

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What is the Participative Management Style?

Those who use a participative management style make decisions based on group feedback. While team input is highly encouraged, the ultimate decision is made by the leader rather than the group as a whole.

Participative managers are very involved with their employees and always ensure that they are thoroughly informed about any given situation. They place a high priority on employee development and offer subordinates plenty of growth opportunities. Participative leaders also are very in-tune with team morale. If they sense that morale is low, they hastily take action to ensure it’s improved.

Since participative leaders give their team all the information and skills needed to succeed, they feel confident in asking for input when decisions arise.

Advantages of the Participative Management Style

Here are the advantages of a participative management style:

  • Increase team morale. Participative leaders give every team member a voice. Because employees play an active role in the success of the company, they are more motivated and engaged with their work.
  • Promote collaboration. Employees are provided the flexibility to work together to reach goals, make plans, and help one another. Collaboration contributes to higher morale as well as improved communication between team members.
  • Uncover creative solutions. Since employees are encouraged to collaborate, there is a free-flowing exchange of ideas that often leads to innovative solutions.
  • Teams more readily accept decisions. Knowing that each team member contributed to the decision-making process makes employees feel more confident about the final outcome.
  • Improve employee retention. Participative managers foster an environment that makes people feel genuinely valued. They give employees plenty of development opportunities—showing that there is room for them to grow within the company—and offer them chances to implement their ideas. This significantly contributes to improved employee retention.

Disadvantages of the Participative Management Style

Here are the disadvantages of a participative management style:

  • Inhibit swift decision-making. Since participative managers want each team member to weigh in on the situation at hand, it can lengthen the decision-making process. When an urgent matter arises, this type of leader may take too long to reach a conclusion.
  • Increase the likelihood of conflict. When multiple people are voicing differing opinions, conflict is likely to happen. While conflict doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, participative leaders must be prepared to handle disagreements when they arise.
  • Diminish quality of expertise. If you have a specialist on your team with valuable insight regarding the decision, their knowledge may be drowned by the opinions of others.
  • Require employee participation. Participative management only works if employees are willing to engage. Employees may not want to voice their opinion for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are shy by nature, don’t enjoy group discussions, don’t have enough knowledge on the subject to weigh in, or are simply disengaged. In any case, managers won’t get the results they’re looking for without an active team.

When Does Participative Management Work Best?

The participative management style works particularly well in the following situations:

  • Organizations with strong company culture. When employees are invested in the company, they will take it upon themselves to stay informed to help make decisions and lead the business to success.
  • When urgent decisions don’t need to be made often. As mentioned previously, participative managers have a difficult time making swift decisions.
  • Creative job fields. Drawing upon a variety of unique perspectives often leads to out-of-the-box ideas, which is essential in creative job fields.
  • When multiple solutions are beneficial. There are often multiple solutions to a single problem. In some cases, employing a few different ideas can yield great results.

Improve Management with HRDQ!

As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to the participative management style. In order to grow as a manager, it’s important to thoroughly understand your leadership style and learn how to flex it to meet the needs of your employees and your organization.

To start leading your team even better than before:

Soon, you and your team will be working together flawlessly to increase productivity, efficiency, and communication.

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.