There are many different styles of management, one of which is democratic management, along with autocratic management, laissez faire management and paternalistic management it is one of the four widely accepted and discussed models of management used in organizations around the world today. Each style of management has its advantages and disadvantages, knowing these can help you apply the correct style of management to the relevant situation in the workplace.
What is Democratic Management?
Democratic management is very different to the previously discussed autocratic management style, in a democratic setup, major decisions are agreed upon by the majority. The management will include the staff in the decision making process during group discussions, votes and staff meetings. This model of management is common in modern day business. The manager will not give direct instructions or orders to the staff, instead meeting are held to gauge the opinions of employees and harvest ideas, the manager will still have to make the final decision, but it will be based on the majority opinions.
Advantages of Democratic Management
Encourages group discussion, which can lead to greater communication throughout the business, whether it’s between employees or between employees and management.
Employees are encouraged to convey their opinions to the management staff regarding important issues; this makes the employee feel significant to the company. Making the staff feel valued can increasing morale and productivity.
Management can harness the ideas from front line staff who are involved in the day to day inner-workings of the business, allowing the management to take action on issues the staff feel are holding the company back
Because decisions are usually decided by the majority, it reduces the chance of conflict, either between employees or between employees and management.
Disadvantages of Democratic Management
If a vote or meeting takes place when every major decision has to be made, the whole process can take along time. Management may struggle if asked to take quick and decisive action, something an autocratic manager would strive under.
The decided decisions may not be in the company’s best interest, because they are decided upon by the majority, with the majority being the workers, decisions could lean towards their best interests and not the company’s.
Another disadvantage of democratic management is when the staff is not knowledgeable about the discussion, this can lead them to make an incorrect vote or portray a mistaken vision for the business.
We have talked about the advantage of reduced conflict as a result of democratic management, but it can also increase conflict in certain situations, if one group are opposed to a decision, it can create friction between the people who are for implementing the new ideas.
When Should Democratic Management be used?
A democratic style of management can be extremely useful if the manager is struggling for ideas, it enables management to gather a large group of people together and gather new ideas to move the business forward. The manager can also adopt a democratic style when new to the job; this allows the new manager to gain quick popularity and confidence from the staff.
Democratic management seems much more popular than the autocratic style, but it does have its drawback, especially when under-pressure decisions are asked of the manager, sometimes there is no opportunity for calling a meeting or vote. On the other hand, a democratic environment seems much happier with the staff feeling valued and assured that their ideas and opinions are at least listened to. Advantages and disadvantages will occur in any style of management, so it’s important to be flexible and well rounded, being able to adapt your style to certain situations.