Kenneth Blanchard, the management guru, once said: “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” This is the ultimate reason why consultative leadership style stands out for various business models. It is the very nature of this leadership style that enables the leader to instantly connect with the delegates and promote them with influence instead of authority.
What kind of leadership is best for your business? Do you believe in the classic definition of leadership? How are you planning to motivate and influence your employees to meet the organizational effectiveness and goals?
If these questions are popping up inside your mind, it’s time to find the most suitable answer!
Most leaders prefer a combination of different leadership styles. They pick which they feel comfortable with. On the other hand, consultative leadership style has shown a lot of benefits for various businesses, and this may be precisely what you have been looking for.
There are five different leadership styles:
- Consultative leadership
- Directive leadership
- Achievement-Oriented leadership
- Supportive leadership
- Transformational leadership
While we are here to talk about consultative leadership, it is okay to be drawn towards more than one style when you are ready to implement.
What’s Consultative Leadership Style All About
This is a task-oriented leadership style. With a slight difference in the approach, it focuses mainly on the end results. The method incorporates the participation and the opinions of the subordinates in the decision making. While the authority of making the final decision still remains with the leader, there’s more willingness to hear what the team members like to contribute.
The style focuses on including the ideas, experiences, and skills of the people involved. This technique is likely adopted mainly because the consultative leader may not be fully aware of the situation. They are in a position where he or she may require the opinions and viewpoint of the people who are closer to the project. This enables them to gather all the information before making a wise and an informed decision.
This is also a great way to create a bond between leaders and their subordinates. On the whole, it is a positive approach and a win-win situation for the leader and the team he or she is working with. It creates an attitude of involved pro-activity within the business.
The team member feels important and knows that they can voice their opinion and speak when required. They actively participate in decision making and problem-solving and also bring issues and concerns to managers so they can be pondered over and resolved.
Traits of Consultative Style
To the leader’s credit, the consultative style keeps them from making major decisions on their own. The most common characteristics of consultative leadership style include:
- Team building
- Involving team members in problem-solving
- Retains right for making the final decision
- Provides recognition where due
- Involve people in crucial activities
- Delegates without giving up the ‘veto ‘
When’s Consultative Style Appropriate?
The consultative style works for various business models because it focuses on developing a healthy relationship between the leader and his/her workforce.
This leadership style is appropriate when:
- You require a creative problem-solving approach
- You are training your team for leadership roles
- You are planning meetings for departments or the organization
- You are performing organizational tasks on a daily basis
- You need to make informed decisions
How to Become an Effective Consultative Leader?
First and foremost, you need to alter the culture of the organization and encourage your team to speak up when they have to. You need to create a friendly ambiance within the workplace so that your subordinates are not scared to voice their opinion.
If you have previously been following a different leadership style – let’s say directive – bringing this change is crucial to encourage your employees to participate more.
The only way you can ensure your employee’s participation is when they are sure they will not be looked down upon or criticized when they talk.
Therefore, it is highly imperative that you change the work environment where the employees feel comfortable in speaking up. By creating that culture, you will be taking your first step in improving the leadership trait and becoming a successful consultative leader.
The Benefits to Your Business
Consultative leadership can sometimes be a slower way of making a decision, but there are tons of other substantial benefits that it offers your business.
Since the decisions and general policies will be based on a general consensus, your staff will readily accept them without any hesitance. With less resistance, the implementation of new policies makes business operations more efficient.
Employees enjoy a personal stake in the success of the business as they are thoroughly involved in the decision-making process.
Employees feel more responsible towards the success of the business. Since they are given the voice, they feel more personal towards its operations and success. This keeps their morale high, and they look forward to achieving more appreciation as a part of the company’s decision-making process.
In short, you have a team of more efficient, motivated employees ready to derive amazing results.
When you ask for your employees’ opinion on issues, you get a variety of solutions to choose from. To be a part of the business’ decision-making process, the subordinates come with their possible input. This also empowers them to use their skills and creativity and come up with ideas that are favorable for the business.
A consultative leadership style is more of an opportunity for the employees to improve their skills as well as their financial benefits through excellent performance.
It gives the employees a chance to directly involve themselves in determining the success of the business. When the leaders offer growth in turn for their contribution, it keeps them from switching. As a result, a company cuts down on the turnover cost.
The consultative leadership style is a highly preferable one for different business models as it offers continuous development of its people and the business itself. It’s a sign of mature leadership, where the leader is willing to move away from the more authoritative and empowering role.