Effective leaders carefully assess a situation, consider alternatives and take actions that mitigate risk and capitalize on opportunities. Using the democratic leadership style, leaders may make all decisions but they consult the workforce before taking action. This typically leads to high rates of employee satisfaction and morale. On the other hand, using the transformational leadership style, you focus on inspiring subordinates but leave the details of decision-making to the workers themselves. By utilizing both leadership styles, depending on the situation, you can maximize productivity and employee retention.


Using the democratic or participative style of leadership, you ask for input from your subordinates. This requires collaboration and coordination so don’t use this style when you don’t have a lot of time to conduct focus groups, interviews, surveys and voting to understand the issues involved and get knowledge transferred. People tend feel empowered when they have the opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process so it's worth the effort if you want to improve employee morale.

Applying Democratic Leadership

Use this leadership style when you have an experienced team. When complex problems arise, these team members provide the skills, knowledge and expertise necessary to accomplish the task. Setting a vision without their input may lead to conflict and disagreements. Use this leadership style when you need to foster creativity, discuss options and investigate innovative approaches. To be effective, you need to use good communication techniques, such as active listening by paraphrasing what was said to demonstrate understanding. You also need to facilitate team discussions and prevent them from straying off course. Avoid pursuing too many alternatives. By promoting an atmosphere of respect and integrity, you can build a productive team.


Successful transformational leaders motivate and inspire their subordinates by describing how changes benefit the organization before the transition starts. They create a sense of urgency and overcome objections to help the company achieve its strategic goals. During periods of disruptive change, such as new technology, market conditions or ownership, effective transformational leaders can assuage fears and pave the way for a successful company transition.

Applying Transformational Leadership

Use the transformational leadership style when your subordinates will benefit from your passion, enthusiasm and vision. As a charismatic leader, you gather support from your subordinates to get work done. Ensure that your followers see the potential of positive outcomes, otherwise they will resist changes and morale suffers. For example, to transform your organization to focus on customer satisfaction, implement training programs to create awareness about the importance of providing excellent customer service. Lead these sessions yourself to promote your vision and convince subordinates to change their behavior so your company can achieve its strategic goals.