Establishing an effective decision-making style requires an evaluation of workplace dynamics and the types of personalities which are present within the team. For the colleague who was interviewed, she recognized that members of her team have voices that they would like to be heard and have valuable input that may improve the group. Therefore, she strives to create a democratic or participative approach to leadership because she recognizes that other members have strong perspectives and opinions that should be heard. In the nursing profession, this is particularly relevant to direct patient care because nurses have a significant role in this process as the primary care providers and must demonstrate strong and steadfast ideals and strengths in supporting exemplary patient care on a regular basis (Yoder-Wise, 2014). A democratic approach to decision-making is the optimal choice because it provides an opportunity to promote team member engagement and support the continued development of a strategy which will have a positive and lasting impact on the team and its long-term goals and objectives.

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Barriers or Obstacles
In some cases, there are barriers or obstacles in support of a democratic decision-making strategy because it may backfire in cases where team members may not believe that they have a valuable contribution to make and are put “on the spot” in meetings or discussions to make a statement, even at their displeasure (Yoerger, Crowe, & Allen, 2015). This requirement may have the reverse effect and may not lead to the desired outcomes, nor does it provide any real benefits in advancing the team and its decision-making to the next level. In some cases, employees may feel threatened or less than satisfied if team leaders require them to provide input during meetings or discussions where they have nothing to contribute, and this may lead to poor engagement and less than satisfactory results (Yoerger et al., 2015).

In addition, there may be cases involving meetings which are poorly planned or organized and which waste valuable resources, thereby making it difficult for members to obtain the desired benefit from the meeting and may lose productivity as a result in other areas (Yoerger et al., 2015). These efforts require an effective understanding of the key factors which contribute to the team dynamic and how to overcome these challenges by engaging in team discussions only when necessary. Furthermore, they require the development of a set of ideas and principles which support team-based goals and objectives, rather than focusing on the individual needs of each person who participates in the team experience.

Strategies to Increase Effectiveness
Increasing the effectiveness of a democratically-led team requires a high level of involvement from team members to produce improved engagement and overall job satisfaction, as employees are likely to feel as if they are part of a team and an environment which truly expresses care and concern for their input and wellbeing (Boxall & Macky, 2014). At the same time, the pressure of employee engagement should not be so high that it disrupts the work-life balance and limits the productivity and contributions of employees when they are stretched too thin (Boxall & Macky, 2014). Therefore, it is important to develop a greater understanding of the challenges of the democratic decision-making approach and how to improve the effectiveness of this process by obtaining critical yet relevant feedback and supporting an environment in which there are important learning opportunities to support. The effectiveness of this strategy is contingent upon the development of a framework which engages individuals to be the best possible version of themselves and to make contributions based upon their individual skillsets to improve the team and make decisions more effectively.

An effective approach to democratic decision-making also requires the development of a strategy which is focused on the creation of new opportunities for the team to achieve optimal growth through expanded human and social capital to promote inclusion and integration among team members (Jansen, Curseu, Vermeulen, Geurts, & Gibcus, 2011). Under these conditions, human and social capital are instrument and must be aligned to ensure that all participants within the team experience have a voice and can share their knowledge and expertise in a productive manner (Jansen et al., 2011). Decision-making should not be an individualistic concept within an organization; rather, it requires a strong team effort to demonstrate the importance of each contribution to the process and how they support the desired objectives (Jansen et al., 2011). Decision-making requires a strong understanding of the key factors which contribute to a productive work environment, and this includes the development of markers which will lead to a practical and appropriate decision to best manage the needs of the team and of the organization.

A democratic leadership style within nursing practice requires a group of individuals to provide important feedback and guidance regarding the issues in question and to make a difference by utilizing their core strengths and skills in an effective manner that will positively contribute to the nursing work environment in different ways. The contributions of team members are important to a democratic decision-making approach and requires individuals to contribute and improve their performance in the process. In the nursing work environment, this is particularly useful in addressing some of the key decisions that must be made and how to best overcome any risk factors which will impact patient care and expand the involvement of nurses who provide direct care to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and treatment under the circumstances.

  • Boxall, P., & Macky, K. (2014). High-involvement work processes, work intensification and employee well-being. Work, Employment and Society, 28(6), 963-984.
  • Jansen, R. J., Curşeu, P. L., Vermeulen, P. A., Geurts, J. L., & Gibcus, P. (2013). Information
    processing and strategic decision-making in small and medium-sized enterprises: The role of human and social capital in attaining decision effectiveness. International small business journal, 31(2), 192-216.
  • Yoder-Wise, P.S. (2014). Leading and Managing in Nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences.