Research has found that the democratic leadership style is one of the most effective and creates higher productivity, better contributions from group members and increased group morale. Democratic leadership can lead to better ideas and more creative solutions to problems because group members are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas.
The ten traits of a good leader compiled by the Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters Group are:
- Honest – Displays sincerity, integrity, and candour in all actions. Deceptive behaviour will not inspire trust.
- Competent – Bases actions on reason and moral principles.
- Forward-looking – Set goals and has a vision of the future which is owned throughout the organisation.
- Inspiring – Displays confidence in all that is done, so inspiring others to reach for new heights.
- Intelligent – Reads, studies, and seeks challenging assignments.
- Fair-minded – Shows fair treatment to all people.
- Broad-minded – Seeks out diversity.
- Courageous – Has the perseverance to accomplish a goal and display a confident calmness when under stress.
- Straightforward – Uses sound judgment to make good decisions at the right time.
- Imaginative – Makes timely and appropriate changes in thinking, planning, and methodology. Shows creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems. Is innovative!
Democratic leadership works best in situations where group members are skilled and eager to share their knowledge. It is also important to have plenty of time to allow people to contribute, develop a plan and then vote on the best course of action.