The role of leadership in management is largely determined by the organisational culture of the company. It has been argued that managers' beliefs, values and assumptions are of critical importance to the overall style of leadership that they adopt.
Lewin, Lippitt and White were one of the first to categorize leadership styles in terms of behavioral characteristics.
The Democratic Leadership Style was first described Lewin, Lippitt, and White in 1938 along with the autocratic leadership and the laissez-faire leadership styles. The democratic style was also included by Daniel Goleman in 2002 as one of his six leadership styles.
The democratic leader gives followers a vote in nearly every decision the team makes. The democratic leadership style has the ability to quickly build flexibility and responsibility in the organization and can help identify new ways to do things. This leadership style is best used when the followers are knowledgeable about the organization's process and change is needed. For example, this style is used when the leader needs to introduce fresh ideas into the organization to help with an old process.
One good example of Democratic leadership in practice is the case of ‘Thai Carbon Black’, a firm engaged in production of Carbon for the industrial paints products and rubber coatings. It views all its employees as problem solvers and able positive contributors. This style of leadership inculcates ‘The can-do’ attitude in every employee of the firm. As a part of democratic leadership the company has positioned little red boxes all around the production facility. In these boxes the employees can put in their suggestions about any aspect of the process where they feel improvement is required. Also they are encouraged to put in their respective ideas and ways to achieve these improvements. As a result of this the firm receives some 600 productivity improvement suggestions per year. To discuss these suggestions,...