10 Characteristics of the Participative Leadership Style

Leadership has been constantly changing and adapting throughout time as new ideas and strategies have entered the workplace. One of the newer and more exciting forms of leadership that looks to reinvent the workplace is known as Participative Leadership. Let’s look at ten characteristics that make an effective participative leader.

1. Communication
So much of the participative leadership style revolves around the idea of communication. Communication between leaders and workers means that ideas are able to flow smoothly without friction of ideas and potential solutions to make a more effective workplace.

A leader who can lock in their communication skills will be able to come together with others to get their ideas across and receive ideas from others. Effective communication skills in an organization that is based on the sharing of ideas will ensure that you as a leader can manage and direct the ideas of others.

2. Open-Minded
Being a leader in any organization almost always requires you to be open-minded. An open-minded leader is open to suggestions and feedback that is able to help the business take off. Having the ability to take ideas from other workers and implementing them into your business will help boost morale.

Even if every idea is not implemented in your business, other workers will be pleased to see that you as a leader are willing to try out their ideas and adapt the business.

3. Outreaching
Not every member of your organization has the confidence to share their ideas, but those who are often the quietest have the most to say. It is your job as the leaders of a participative organization to make sure every voice is head to further the flow of ideas that have the potential to change your company.

Helping those who want to share but lack the projecting voice is the job of a leader. You can make sure their ideas are heard which will have the effect of empowering their work.

4. Curious
Leaders are always looking for new ideas and solutions to problems, so a sense of curiosity will help get you to the top. Neve leaving any idea unexplored and always looking for innovative ways to do things will keep your company on the winning side of history.

Asking questions and for input from your fellow workers will give you new ways to look at things and open up your ideas to what could be the next big thing.

5. Encouraging
Conversation and collaboration rarely happen on their own, so as a leader it is your responsibility to encourage conversation. Even if you just get a team together to run through hypothetical scenarios, you can get ideas and conversation flowing like never before.

Encouraging people as a leader is what makes workers feel comfortable sharing ideas on their own and giving new perspectives to the company. Being positive to ideas that you may not think will work will still get people talking and sharing productively.

6. Collaborative
Collaboration can often be the difference between an effective participative leadership strategy and one that creates unnecessary competition. Collaboration between workers and ideas creates a much more cohesive work environment where members feel like part of a team and not part of a competition.

A leader can use collaboration to bring together people and ideas in unique ways for different projects. Getting different views and experiences together will provide previously unachievable results.

7. Critical
The ability to think critically as a leader means that you are going to have to take responsibility and make decisions for a team. Having a leadership strategy that revolves around collaboration means that to get things done with execution, it falls on the leader to make the necessary decisions for the team.

Critical thinking can be a valuable skill in any organization and anyone who has the ability to bring ideas together with rational decisions. Your leadership will be judged at a time of crisis, and your ability to think critically and make the hard decisions will be part of your legacy of a leader.

8. Mindful
Normal organizations generally have most of the power at the top of the chain, but organizations with participative leadership are designed to get the ideas of everyone together. Being mindful of others and their ideas means that you as a leader can take others into consideration when making a plan.

A sense of empathy and understanding for others means that you are able to facilitate collaboration and make sure everyone feels involved. You make sure that nobody feels like their input is not part of the final product.

9. Receptive
Just because you have a leadership role in an organization doesn’t mean that whatever you think is automatically law. You need to be receptive to alternate ideas and ways of getting things done to keep everyone happy. Who knows, a new idea that you take into consideration may change the world.

Many people generally feel more comfortable with receptive leaders as they feel that their ideas will be better received by someone open to new ideas. Even if you don’t believe in or support a new idea, just taking the time to listen and give feedback is all that many people are looking for.

10. Self-assured
Last but not least, a leader needs to be self-assured in themselves before taking on the task of leading others. Being certain that you can make decisions for yourself means that when you need to make critical decisions for the company, everyone will trust you to do your part.

Participative leadership requires a team to get ideas flowing, but it takes a self-assured leader to pull the trigger and take action. Embodying these characteristics will make you that leader.


Participative leadership helps get new ideas flowing and gets the entire company feeling like part of the leadership process. By implementing these ten participative leadership qualities, you can be the driving force in your business to get everyone on the same page.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.