A Guide To 10 Effective Management Styles (With Examples)
Updated 26 January 2023
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As a manager, the way you complete your duties has a direct impact on your team. Using the management style best suited to your needs, talents and work environment can help improve your managerial processes. Understanding the different styles of management can help you make informed decisions about which style you should apply to your organisation. In this article, we define management styles, discuss how to choose the best style for you and outline 10 of the most effective styles, along with a few examples of them.
Related: What Is the Role of a Manager?
What Are Management Styles?
Management styles refer to the specific methods and philosophies managers use when leading and supervising their teams. Examples of these styles include the way managers make decisions, plan and organise work, reward performances, perform disciplinary actions and exercise their authority. Using a style that suits your personality, talents, strengths and weaknesses is an important part of developing your effectiveness as a manager.
Related: Your Guide to The Functions of Management
What Is The Best Style Of Management?
The best style of management for you depends on your workplace, industry, existing processes, the size of your staff, personalities within your staff and your own strengths and weaknesses as a manager. Different styles may work differently depending on a variety of influencing factors. Determining the most effective style for you and your organisation is a process that takes careful consideration, experimentation and company-wide participation.
Sometimes, traits and features from multiple styles of management may be the most beneficial for your company. You may take philosophies from more than one style or apply different aspects of various styles to different situations. Creating a hybrid style of management with a few different management types may be the most beneficial option for a customised approach to leadership.
Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples
10 Types Of Management Style
Understanding some of the most effective styles of management may contribute to the success and impact of your management efforts. Here is a list of the 10 most effective styles:
In the authoritative style, managers follow a top-down approach to leading. In this style, managers handle independent decision-making with little opinion or input from other team members. They set clear and specific policies that everyone must follow, and they typically do not request feedback from employees.
This style may be the most useful in organisations where efficiency is important or in critical situations when it is necessary to make effective decisions quickly.
The consultative style describes managers who ask employees for feedback consistently and consider their opinions seriously. Organisations that use consultative styles often have an open-door policy that encourages employees to share their thoughts, feelings and concerns about the workplace. While consultative managers accept input from employees, they ultimately retain their decision-making power.
This approach to management often leads to higher employee engagement, stronger collaborative problem-solving and less employee turnover.
3. Democratic or participative
A democratic or participative manager uses a decision-making process that relies heavily on employee input. This style includes effective communication and openness through all levels of the organisation. Democratic managers work together with their employees to reach the goals of their vision. This style may be especially effective when making long-term decisions that impact the whole company.
The democratic style typically helps employees feel valued and empowered to contribute in meaningful ways. It also encourages them to optimise their performance through collaborative feedback.
In the laissez-faire style of management, managers act as mentors. They are available when employees need guidance, but they often encourage employees to make decisions on their own. While these managers monitor their employees and offer them assistance when necessary, they try not to become too involved with daily tasks or simple projects.
The laissez-faire style can provide self-motivated employees with the autonomy and space they need to be productive. This could be particularly useful in a creative environment or a workplace where employees have the power to make small, independent decisions.
Persuasive managers maintain control of decision-making, but they strive to help employees understand the reasons behind their choices. They often share their thoughts and decision-making processes with the entire staff in order to foster an inclusive and trusting environment. This style fosters openness of communication and can help build trust between managers and employees.
In the transformational style, leaders focus on creating an environment that supports innovation. Leaders with this style often motivate and encourage their employees to set and reach goals, even if it means adjusting their usual techniques. This style helps to promote adaptability, problem-solving and innovation. It can be especially useful for companies in competitive industries that evolve quickly, such as software development or technology.
Related: What Is Management? Definition, Functions and Levels
Collaborative managers often focus on working closely with their employees and assigning them to tasks that are best suited to their abilities and preferences. These leaders believe that when people feel personally and professionally fulfilled, they are more likely to perform to the best of their abilities. Because of their emphasis on employee satisfaction and teamwork, collaborative managers may be successful at achieving higher levels of respect.
This style may boost employee loyalty and productivity, improve employee development and decision-making, cultivate trust and create future leaders.
Transactional leadership focuses on the responsibilities of supervision, organisation and group performance. In a transactional style of management, leaders prioritise specific tasks and use rewards to motivate employees to perform at their highest level of ability. This approach to management works on the idea that employees perform their best with a clear and definite chain of command. These managers also believe that rewards for outstanding performance are a powerful way to increase quality, production and success.
In a pace-setting style of management, leaders set high standards for their employees' performance. Managers in this style often have high expectations for creating faster, higher-quality results. Managers in a pace-setting work environment often expect their employees to exceed demanding expectations with little to no supervision. Pace-setting styles of management often work best in workplaces that have:
A highly skilled team that requires little management or guidance
A skilled manager who is an expert in their field
A team culture that constantly strives for improvement
In a coaching style of management, leaders focus on bringing out the best traits in their employees. To do this, they implement a strategy of collaboration, performance evaluation and guidance. They also frequently pair their employees with tasks or positions that best align with their natural talents, developed skills and experience levels. When their employees face challenges, coaching style leaders provide support and encourage their teams to overcome obstacles. This style of management is effective at building trust between team members, encouraging growth and skill development and fostering a culture of collaboration in the workplace.
Examples Of Management Styles
Here are some examples of the different styles of management applied to real-life scenarios:
Example of an authoritative style
Many restaurants use an authoritative style of management. Diners come in expecting orderly service and quality food. Since most restaurants run on slim margins and suffer from even small mistakes, autocratic management works well to keep everyone focused on results and efficiency.
Example of a consultative style
A team leader of a project holds weekly one-on-one meetings with each of the other team members. The team leader asks them to share progress on their responsibilities, what they feel is going well and what they feel needs improvement. The team leader uses this feedback to set schedules, allocate resources and prioritise goals for the following week.
Example of a democratic style
Store managers often use the democratic style of management. They hire team members who can work together to complete store layouts, marketing campaigns and customer service. These managers act as a moderator to help their team move forward with their ideas and are available to answer questions.
Example of a laissez-faire style
Given the unpredictable nature of the fashion industry, allowing fashion buyers the freedom to choose their own products often works best. As long as they are knowledgeable and passionate, individual buyers are typically much more in tune with fashion trends than management.
Example of a persuasive style
Consider what happens when an outside expert, such as an independent consultant, comes in to analyse the operations of the company. Employees might be sceptical of what the consultant has to say and they might be reluctant to implement the suggested changes. Persuasive managers can convince employees that the expert's criticisms and recommendations are valid.
Areas Of Improvement For Managers (Examples And How-To Guide)
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