Corporate leadership styles have changed significantly recently. Leaders have had to evolve; leaders now need to seek discussion, input and listen to their employees, much more than ever before. Gone is the militant, authoritarian leadership style that simply instructed people to do things and they would listen. Now leaders must seek others' advice, engage them and include them in sometimes even inane and simple decisions.
For leaders today, input from others is key to getting things done. However, engaging others for their opinions and feedback takes a lot of time. How do leaders know when to make a decision on their own or to include others' input? I think it depends on the decision.
In situations of crisis, this is not the time to be garnering feedback. Leaders need to step forward and lead. For longer term decisions, like changes to break schedules or work schedules, leaders who make changes without the input of team members will cause great resentment.
Different decisions require different approaches. Each approach lends itself to a scale of autocratic decisions (no input from the team) to full input and discussion.
I was recently an inspirational speaker for a corporate event where a senior leader exclaimed he makes all decisions all the time, regardless of what the decision is. He went on to complain that seeking staff input takes up too much time of his time ... but he never got around to talking about the time it takes to replace uninspired subordinates or the effort required to smooth ruffled feelings or the time he spent wondering about what causes low morale.
The other inspirational speaker for the corporate event was the CEO who said his door was always open. He than explained that he will give you 2 minutes of his time and no more. I'm not convinced that his work force found his style to be motivational. No wonder the organization was having problems with morale!