What Are Disadvantages of the Democratic Leadership Style?

The primary disadvantages of democratic leadership are that it can take a long time to implement changes, it fails to satisfy the needs of all members of society and it often involves a large commitment of time and money. The democratic style of government, unlike other types of governance, essentially forms a two-way communication channel with the public. Citizens are expected and encouraged to voice their opinions and concerns, and ultimately participate in the lawmaking and rulemaking process to ensure they derive benefits as a result.

While people generally welcome the opportunity to play an active role in setting rules and standards that positively impact their lives, inviting the public to participate in democratic processes can be costly for local, state and federal governments in terms of time and finances.

Governments must listen to the concerns of all citizens, which involves a thorough and careful analysis of public comments and suggestions. That process can be lengthy when the majority votes in favor of certain changes, but can be extended even more when the public is divided on an issue. Sometimes, democratic leaders must make decisions that bring benefits to a small number of citizens or that are unpopular with the public. As a leadership style that seeks the input of all citizens, democracies must also entertain the opinions and suggestions of citizens with a variety of educational backgrounds and knowledge bases.