Democratic Way of Leadership

DemocraticWay of Leadership


CanWe Build on Nannerl O. Keohane’s Work, Thinking about Leadership,and Thus Move from an Autocratic to a ?

Problem:Mostare the times when individuals find themselves at the hands ofineffective leaders. As exhibited in the movie OfficeSpace,GibbonsPeter found himself at the hand of eight diverse managers. All themanagers were ineffective, and this resulted to poor quality workperformed by employee. Initech underwent difficulties as a result ofthis. In the contemporary time, some leaders have not recognized theimportance of practicing effective leadership, an issue that hasaffected most organizations a great deal.

Workingwith an autocratic leader is not something to boast about. It takesan individual a lot of endurance and tolerance to stay in anorganization led by such a leader. This kind of a leader is extremelydifficult to deal with, and he/she believes that they are the onlydecision-makers and their orders should be followed without demur. Aspointed out by Nannerl Keohane in his book, Thinkingabout Leadership,autocratic leaders enjoy a substantial amount authority as command ishighly concentrated at the top. The main concern such kind of leadersis accomplishment of the job instead of the happiness of theirsubordinates. Also, these leaders have the tendency of maintaining asubstantial amount of social distance. Their way of motivationentails instilling fear through punishment instead of using rewards.As illustrated by Parry and Meindl in their book GroundingLeadership Theory and Research: Issues, Perspectives and Methods,autocratic leadership result in high staff turnover. No employeewants to stay in an organization in which they are not involved indecision making, there is no room for growth, and where they arerequired to obey all commands initiating from their leader. Those whochoose to stay with such leaders exhibit low performance andproductivity, low morale, and limited application of creativity.

Whatdoes this mean for an organization? The majority of organizationsunder autocratic leadership perform worse as compared to theircounterpart which use democratic type of leadership. Employees failto associate themselves with their workplace, besides failing toreference them to other persons who would wish to join. Suchorganizations part with large amounts of resources as they arecharacterized by hiring employees frequently.

Towardan interdisciplinary solution: Aspointed out by Keohane, moving towards a democratic leadership styleis the right solution to implement. An open communication is allowedby democratic leaders. Through this, employees are able to articulatetheir views regarding various issues concerning the company. However,making decisions on vital matters lie at the hand of the leaders.Democratic leaders are characterized by various principles includinginclusiveness, allow the subordinates to take part in decisionmaking, promote constructive corporate culture, allow opencommunication, empower employees, and they also haveself-determination. Employees are empowered, responsibility isdistributed, team work is valued, while the reward system isemployed. The majority of organizations which provide democraticleadership encompass those which encourage creativity and useeffective problem solving processes. It appears that democratic styleis the opposite of autocratic style. The former yields great results,the reason why Keohane advocates for its adoption.

Wecan learn to build on Keohane’s work that concerns thinking aboutleadership in order to assist organizations move from an autocraticto a democratic way of leadership.

Theblog has pointed toward evolution by stressing on moving from anautocratic to a democratic leadership style.


Keohane,N. O. (2010). Thinkingabout leadership.Princeton: Princeton University Press.