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Famous Examples of the Democratic Leadership Style

Updated January 18, 2023 by Carl Lindberg

Here are some examples of famous people who used democratic leadership as part of their leadership repertoire. These examples of democratic leaders include business people and a former U.S. President with a military background. A good mix of democratic leader examples. First, a recap of this style from our democratic leadership article:

Democratic leadership is when an empowered team fully participates in the decision-making process. Any team member can bring forward ideas and suggestions, and there is a strive for consensus in decision-making. In the end, the democratic leader approves or makes the decision. Democratic leadership is an effective leadership style but can sometimes be too slow when fast decisions are needed.

Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) – The 34th President of the U.S.

Examples of democratic leaders

Eisenhower was the Supreme Command of NATO before he served two terms as the U.S. President. His military role came at a pivotal time in world history- World War II. One would have expected him to adopt an autocratic leadership style since that’s the common style of the military. However, Eisenhower knew that his team had to take on a more participative role if they were to succeed. He involved several people in the decision-making process and consulted many trusted advisors. 

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

Dwight Eisenhower

Click here for more quotes related to the democratic leadership style.

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) – Co-founder of Apple

Steve Jobs displayed at least two leadership styles when he led Apple. He began as an autocratic leader while he was building the company from the ground up. However, he was ousted from the company in 1985. The company began to decline, and he was asked to return in 1997. A more democratic approach became customary for him during this second phase of leadership, although he still had autocratic tendencies. Jobs understood how to adapt his leadership style to suit the needs of the company at various stages of growth.

Larry Page (1973- present) – Cofounder of Google and Former CEO of Alphabet Inc.

Page believes in leadership that makes a difference. He values innovation and allowing his team to have creative freedom. Efficient communication and management strategies are things he highly values. In fact, many would describe him as a transformational leader. He may just be a little bit of both. (Here’s our comparison, by the way: transformational leadership vs democratic leadership.)

Jack Dorsey (1976 – present) – Twitter CEO

Dorsey believes in developing and empowering team members while holding them accountable. He also believes in being open about weaknesses and doing whatever is possible to correct them. His leadership has helped Twitter become one of the most popular social media platforms.

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