Management Styles: Different Management Types Explained!

management styles

Before you started your own firm, you’ve probably worked with a variety of managers, some good and others not so good. Also, you’ve most likely picked up a few of their abilities along the way.
There are no one-size-fits-all management styles, and different personalities will manage people in different ways. However, it is critical to adopt a management style that suits you and gets the most out of your employees, because how you manage them may make or destroy your organization. Management styles are classified into three basic categories: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire. The different categories of management styles also have different types. Let’s go over the different types of management styles in this article.

What is a Management Style?

A management style is a method by which a manager works to achieve their objectives. So a manager’s management style involves how they plan, organize, make decisions, delegate, and manage their workforce.

It varies greatly based on the organization, management level, industry, nation, and culture, as well as the individual.

An effective manager is someone who can change their management style in response to changing circumstances while remaining focused on meeting goals.

Both internal and external factors influence management styles.

Internal factors include the following:

  • The company’s overall organisational and corporate culture,
  • policies,
  • priorities,
  • employee involvement,
  • employees’ skill levels

In general, higher-skilled employees require less supervision, and lower-skilled employees require more monitoring to consistently fulfill their goals.

External factors include the following:

  • employment regulations,
  • the financial system,
  • competitors,
  • suppliers,
  • consumers.

These are variables that are outside the organization’s control, yet will have an impact on both managers and personnel. Let’s see the types of management styles in the next section.

Types of Management Styles

Management styles are classified into three basic categories: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire.

Within each of these categories, there are unique types of management styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Autocratic Management Styles

The autocratic management styles take the top-down approach, with one-way communication from leaders to employees.

The autocratic style is the most commanding of the management styles, with management making all workplace decisions and wielding complete power.

In autocratic management styles, employees are like drones, to be closely monitored as they perform within well-defined boundaries.

Also, the autocratic management styles don’t encourage and in some cases deliberately discourage the employees, from asking questions, submitting ideas, or sharing their thoughts on how to improve systems.

The types of autocratic management styles are authoritative, persuasive, and paternalistic.

#1. Authoritarian Management Styles

Managers in this style prescribe exactly what their subordinates must do and punish those who do not comply.

Employees are to follow directions, not question management’s authority, and also complete their responsibilities, in the same manner, each time.

Managers actively watch their employees’ performance, micromanaging it, without trusting or believing that their staff can achieve their goals without direct and ongoing monitoring. So, these types of supervisors believe that if they do not closely monitor their staff, they will fail.

  • This management style promotes speedy decision-making and well-defined responsibilities and expectations.
  • Setting clear and strong expectations with unskilled workers or large teams can allow workers to perform without uncertainty.
  • Productivity will increase when the manager is present, but only when the manager is present.

The disadvantages of an authoritative management style include increased employee unhappiness, which leads to increased turnover, resentment, a lack of professional development and employee engagement, and the establishment of a ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality between employees and management.

It hinders innovation, and inefficient procedures will persist.

When to employ this management style: When decisions must be made and implemented fast, such as during an organizational crisis, this management style can be effective. Otherwise, avoid it.

#2. Persuasive Management Style

Managers in this style use their persuasive talents to persuade employees that the manager’s unilateral actions are in the best interests of the team, department, or company.

Managers that use this style would invite questions and explain the decision-making process and rationale behind rules rather than simply directing people to fulfill duties. So, this can help employees feel that they are a more trusted and valued member of the team and that they are participating in crucial company decisions, resulting in fewer levels of resentment or friction between management and staff.

  • Management may build more trust between themselves and their staff, and people will be more willing to accept top-down decisions.
  • Employees respond more favorably to logic and reason than to the prospect of punishment, and they may feel less constrained than those managed in an authoritarian style.

Employees will continue to chafe under the constraints imposed on them, becoming unhappy that they are unable to provide feedback, generate solutions, or upskill in a meaningful way.

When to use this style: When you have more experience on the subject than the team you are heading to, utilize this style. You are the expert in those situations.

While it is beneficial to clarify your thought process, you are ultimately the greatest judge of your own abilities. It can also be beneficial while managing up.

#3. Paternalistic Management Style

The manager in this style acts in the best interests of their subordinates.

Typically, the organization will refer to its personnel as “family” and seek their loyalty and confidence.

This management style will make unilateral decisions but will explain to employees that the decision-makers are acting from a position of competence and thus legitimacy. Employees are informed of decisions, but there is no room for participation or questioning.

  • A paternalistic boss is concerned with the well-being of their employees and bases their judgments on what is best for them.
  • Employee education and upskilling are appreciated, resulting in happier, more skilled, and more productive employees.
  • Employees may become overly reliant on management, resulting in a lack of inventiveness and problem-solving skills.
  • There is a good probability that this style will develop animosity among employees who do not believe in the concept of the “company as a family.”
  • Employees may perceive this style as patronizing and infantilizing.

When to employ this style: The use of this style varies greatly depending on the culture. Employees in Western countries are less tolerant of the idea of a benevolent leader since they are less reliant on hierarchical institutions. This sort of leadership may work well for smaller businesses, but it should be avoided by larger corporations.

Democratic Management Styles

Managers in this style encourage employees to provide feedback during the decision-making process but are ultimately responsible for the final decision.

Communication is two-way, top-down and bottom-up, and team cohesion improves.

This procedure allows for consideration of a wide range of viewpoints, skills, and ideas when making judgments. We have three types of democratic management styles, they include:

#1. Consultative Management style

Managers use this style to solicit their team’s opinions and thoughts, consulting the perspectives of every member of their team.

The manager will make the final choice, but they will take into account all of the facts provided by team members before doing so.

So, this style is frequently employed in specialist fields where personnel are experts and management requires their input to make educated decisions.

  • This style fosters a stronger link between employees and management and fosters trust within teams.
  • Management evolves alongside the team, learning from the ideas, opinions, and experiences of the employees they manage.
  • It encourages innovation and the expression of one’s thoughts, which leads to greater problem-solving.
  • Staff consultation can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive procedure.
  • If a manager is not adept in the time management element of this procedure, they will quickly become stymied.
  • Employees may grow bitter and sceptical of the manager if there is a perception of favouritism or superiors who do not listen to their thoughts.
  • Excessive reliance on this style may cause employees to lose trust in their employer, as they will begin to wonder why they often call on them to help solve problems rather than management managing it as part of their job.

When to apply this style: When managing teams with specialized talents or when the manager does not have as much familiarity with the subject as the team has, this style should be employed.

A manager, for example, appointed to lead a of developers developing a new SaaS would want to interact with their team frequently to benefit from their knowledge.

#2. Participative Management style

Managers and employees are all active participants in the decision-making process under this style.
Employees are provided more information about the organization and its aims, and they are encouraged to come up with creative solutions.

Management solicits staff views, ideas, and opinions, collaborates with staff to make decisions, and then acts on them.

  • Employees will respond with higher motivation and productivity if they believe they are valued by their management team and the firm as a whole.
  • The more people understand and relate to the organization’s aims, the more engaged they will be. The rate of innovation is increasing.
  • This can be a gradual process, and there is a potential that workers with larger personalities could steamroll less forceful staff members, resulting in conflicts and resentment.
  • Allowing employees access to sensitive information in industries with trade secrets can be dangerous.
  • Employees who do not wish to be part of this form of decision-making may grow to resent supervisors who use this style.

When to adopt this style: When executing big changes in a company, particularly one where employees are reluctant to new concepts or methods, increasing employee participation will result in a more favorable outcome and less resistance to new policies.

This style will be beneficial to organizations that wish to drive innovation, such as technology corporations.

#3. Collaborative Management style

Management in this style creates an open forum thorough exploration of ideas before making choices based on majority rule. Also, employees have the authority to take ownership of outcomes, which can lead to more engagement, innovation, and creativity.

  • All levels of management trust, value, and listen to their employees.
  • They have the motivation to do their best work, develop collaborative solutions to challenges, and fully participate in the process.
  • Because of open communication, they can easily resolve workplace conflicts before they become serious problems.
  • When employees are engaged, turnover decreases, and varied views frequently lead to better solutions and outcomes.
  • This approach, like other democratic management styles, can be time-consuming.
  • The majority rule is not always the best option for an organization. So if they make a decision that is not in the best interests of the company, management will have to intervene and reverse it, which can engender anger and mistrust.

When to use this style: Usage of this style is when a company wishes to stimulate creativity, drive cooperation, and engage people.

Any organization that wishes to improve involvement and trust, particularly in the face of significant changes within the organization or industry should consider this style.

#4. Transformational Management Styles

This management style is agile and growth-oriented.

Managers spend their efforts on encouraging their employees to achieve greater things, pushing them out of their comfort zones regularly, and continually motivating their teams to raise the bar for achievement.

So, managers collaborate with their staff, motivating them to work harder by exhibiting their own work ethic.

  • Employees are more adaptable to change, disruptions, or difficult tasks as they increase innovation.
  • The greater flexibility of the personnel encourages creative thinking, and problem-solving and product creation will profit from it.
  • This style, if not used appropriately, will lead to staff burnout.
  • Staff may become overworked, exhausted from constantly pushing themselves, and unable to keep up with the pace.

When to apply this style: This style is most suited for firms who operate in fast-paced industries or are preparing for a period of transition within the industry, organization, or department. This style will assist teams in becoming more agile, flexible, and imaginative when responding to external or internal factors.

#5. Coaching management style

Managers in this style regard themselves as coaches and their employees as valued members of their team.

The manager’s role is to develop and guide their team, putting professional development at the top of their priority list. Long-term development is prized over short-term failures in this style, and the management wishes to foster workplace learning, upskilling, and growth.

  • Employees that feel appreciated know that they will learn and grow in their roles, and they are more likely to be engaged.
  • Managers form close bonds with their employees, who are more likely to give their all for their ‘coach.’
  • As employees compete for favored roles and development opportunities, this style can create toxic situations.
  • Too much emphasis on long-term development can leave short-term projects unsupported.

When to utilize this style: When an organization wants to promote and develop talent from within, this style is effective. This style would assist industries with competitive job markets, as it might take time and money to find the ideal people.

Laissez-faire Management Styles

Management adopts a hands-off attitude to leadership in this style.

Staff is trusted to do their jobs without monitoring, and they are given the authority to make decisions and solve problems on their own.

Management is present during the delegation and delivery stages of work, but otherwise takes a step back and lets employees determine their own workflow and outcomes. Management only comes in during the process if the staff asks it. The types of laissez-faire management styles include:

#1. Delegative Management Styles

The manager is simply present in this style to assign tasks, but they are still responsible for job completion. Once the assignment is allocated, the employees are free to carry out their responsibilities as they see fit.

After the task is completed, the manager returns to examine the work and offer suggestions for future tasks.

  • This method encourages innovation and creativity, particularly in businesses with highly qualified staff.
  • Staff are allowed space to manage their own difficulties and will work together to solve them, which strengthens problem solving and teamwork.
  • Those who seek autonomy in the job may find it easier to be satisfied at work.
  • Productivity may deteriorate if there is no leadership.
  • Teams might suffer from a lack of concentration, direction, or uniformity.
  • Conflicts that are poorly managed can erupt and develop animosity.
  • Some employees may grow resentful if they believe that management is not contributing to the team’s success.

When to employ this style: This style works well in firms with more decentralized leadership and where the team is far more skilled in the tasks than the manager. If the manager, for example, has no prior expertise developing new cloud management software, they can take a step back, give their team the flexibility to create, and offer assistance as needed.

#2. Visionary Management Styles

Managers in this style lead by encouraging their employees.

Leaders describe their goals and the reasons for them, persuading their teams to work together to carry out their vision.

Team members are inspired by their management and then given the freedom to complete their jobs with minimal supervision. Managers will check in regularly, but they are confident that their common vision will keep employees on track and create positive results.

Managers provide a lot of critical feedback to their staff both throughout and after the process, and they lavish praise on them.


  • Staff is more engaged because they believe in what they are creating and are motivated to execute tasks to the best of their abilities.
  • Employees are happier, motivation is higher, and turnover is lower.
  • The level of innovation is higher and problem-solving can occur quickly within teams.


  • Not all bosses are capable of really encouraging others.
  • This is not a style that can be imitated; personnel must be inspired to perform properly.

When to use this style: This can be a wonderful style for digital companies attempting to disrupt industries, organizations looking to innovate new solutions to problems, or businesses with a strong sense of purpose. An organization that wants to foster innovation can use this style to motivate its employees.

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