businessmen-152572_1280What is a participative leader? These unique leaders tend to involve employees in the decision-making process and lead the office as if it were a democracy, soliciting feedback and viewpoints from employees on a regular basis. Many believe this leadership style helps companies retain more engaged employees and reduce cut-throat competition that is so often found in the corporate world. Are you ready to take the necessary steps to become a participative leader? Here are five ways:

Hold focus groups.

A participative leader cannot function properly without the insight from his team. What better way to gain this valuable knowledge than holding focus groups with employees? Not only does this encourage the democratic process within your company, but it will also help you build a stronger relationship with each employee and allow them to see you in a different light.

Conduct surveys.

Participative leaders are concerned with the happiness of their employees, and go to great lengths to measure this trait. One way to do so is to conduct employee satisfaction surveys to get an accurate reading of how everyone truly feels about their job, leadership, and the company. Ask questions ranging from how employees feel about the vending machine selection in the cafeteria to how they think the new c-store distributors are performing. While there are thousands of companies that use this tactic, the participative leader not only conducts the surveys, but listens to the results, which is what sets these leaders apart from the rest.

Improve processes.

Systems that work too slowly or processes that are a waste of time cause many of the little headaches that come along with a job. Participative leaders identify these migraine-inducing problem areas and work on improving them for the benefit of their entire team. Implementing quality management techniques such as Lean Six Sigma will help leaders reduce errors, increase efficiency and boost employee morale.

Push employees to develop.

Many employees become frustrated with the lack of career development within corporations, and end up leaving for another job when they feel in a rut. Participative leaders not only encourage career development, but allow employees to identify their own areas of improvement and pursue the skills needed to close these performance gaps on their own. Employees will feel empowered when given the task of creating their own professional development plan without a manager breathing down their neck. Plus, this project helps employees take a better look at their own performance and provide internal feedback to improve.

Act as a facilitator.

Participative leaders don’t talk just to hear the sound of their own voice. When conducting meetings, act more as a facilitator than a host of the meeting and let your employees open up and do the talking. Prod employees with follow-up questions to get more in-depth answers that can not only foster creativity, but also give leaders valuable insight and understanding of the mindset of each employee.

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