What Is Participating Leadership Style? Definition, Example Pros, And Cons

Mashum Mollah 8 May, 2023
Participating Leadership Style

As we move across different types of situational leadership styles, the leader starts to take a more passive approach. In the previous articles, we have discussed the telling leadership and selling leadership styles. Both of those leadership styles have a conspicuously active role for the leader.

But, in participating leadership style, the leader takes a high relationship approach and accepts more engagement from the followers. This leadership style can be applied to the employees who have excelled in performance and have completed their tasks effectively.

This article will go over different situations under which participating leadership style works, its objectives, advantages, and disadvantages. So if you are willing to learn about the same, continue reading.


What Is Participating Leadership Style?

What Is Participating Leadership Style?

Participating leadership style is another situational leadership style based on the Hersey-Blanchard model. It focuses on low-task and high-relationship behavior approaches. This leadership style allows the followers to take part in the problem-solving and decisions making process.

Leaders are more active listeners in this leadership style, and they are willing to collaborate with their followers. They share the decision-making process with the followers who have successfully completed their tasks earlier. Leaders need to have good communication skills, an inclusive mindset, and an attitude to share power among their followers.

If we shift away from the Hersey-Blanchard model, we can also view the participation leadership style as a democratic leadership style. But for that, we have to see it from the perspective of popular social psychologist Kurt Lewin ( 1930s).

What Is The Objective Of Participating Leadership Style

The objective of participating leadership style is to promote collaboration among team members and boost productivity. The model can make running a big corporation easier.

Participating in leadership can also build a sense of fraternity, unity, and collaboration among the team members. This leadership style can also promote the importance of the team’s opinion. It can also boost creativity, innovation, a good workplace environment, and develop problem-solving skills among the majority of the followers.

Participating leadership style was quite effective until the world started to switch to remote workspaces. The lack of candid conversations and spontaneous conversations hinder the effectiveness of participating leadership style.

Additional: What Is Leadership Styles?

Characteristics Of Participating Leadership Style

Here are some of the characteristics of the participating leadership style —

1. Encouraging Participation

Encouraging Participation

Participating leadership style encourages participation among followers. Team members are encouraged to offer their input in solving problems, making decisions, and offering creative and innovative ideas. 

2. Active Listening

Active Listening

Participating style of leadership shapes a leader with a high level of active listening skills. They develop the skills to listen to and value their followers’ opinions.

3. Risk-taking


The followers under this leadership style can share the authority of their leaders. They take part in making decisions for the organizations, hence, are allowed to take risks in favor of the organization. This can turn into both effective and futile results.

4. Praising Individual Efforts

Praising Individual Efforts

Under this leadership style, individuals are admired for their efforts, and their accomplishments are celebrated and congratulated.

When To Follow Participating leadership style?

Similar to all the other situational leadership styles under the Hersey-Blanchard model, participating leadership style also works under a specific situation. This is the best leadership style when –

  • This leadership style becomes helpful when the followers remain apprehensive despite their ability to perform and accomplish a certain task.
  • Sometimes the employees or the followers lack the motivation or courage to push forward and deliver their best. This is when participating leadership style can help build a sense of being included within them; resultantly, it can motivate the followers.
  • Participating leadership style can do wonders when employees are facing a regression.
  • When the employees are trying to accomplish something on their own for the first time, a participating style of leadership style becomes helpful.

How To Perform Participating Leadership Style?

When executing this leadership style, a manager can approach a tenured employee with years of experience. They can initiate a conversation about how a project is way behind its schedule this year. Then, they can wait and listen to the employee’s inputs and collaborate to solve the situation at hand.

However, doing the same with a recently recruited employee would not be the best idea. A new recruit is not associated with the way the organization works hence, they cannot offer inputs regarding necessary improvements.

Advantages Of Participating Leadership Style

Here are some of the advantages of the participatory leadership style –

  • Since the followers are encouraged to share their input, problem-solving becomes easier.
  • Trust and respect are enhanced under this type of leadership style.
  • Employees are collectively focused on organizational values.
  • This leadership style can build more leaders from followers.
  • Teams are more strangers and share a great bond.
  • Adaptive in making decisions.

Disadvantages Of Participating Leadership Style

Here are some of the disadvantages of the participatory leadership style –

  • The involvement of too many people in solving problems and helping in making decisions can make the process lengthy.
  • There is a high chance of conflict among teams.
  • Some leaders feel that this leadership style only reduces their power and authority.
  • There is a lack of receptivity.
  • The leadership style is not effective for emergency decision-making.

Bottom Line

Participating leadership style, although a situational leadership style, is followed in different organizations for a long period of time. Its ideas of providing a sense of inclusiveness make it a leadership style worth adopting. Active listening from the leader’s part and active participation from the followers make this leadership style a unique one. It is different from all the other styles of leadership mentioned under the situational leadership style.

However, before adopting this leadership method, managers and organizations also evaluate its efficacy within their organization and stay ready to switch if needed. However, if you need us to answer any further queries related to the same, you can contact us through the comment section.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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