What Personal Management Style is right for you?
Updated: Jul 25
What exactly is a management style? “A management style is a way in which a manager works to fulfill their goals… the way that a manager plans, organizes, makes decisions, delegates, and manages their staff.”1 It is important to not only be a manager with the right technical expertise, but also to ensure the best management style for your organization’s needs is being used. Using the wrong management style for your team can result in lower productivity, increased turnover, lower quality work, and ultimately reduced revenues. In other words, the wrong management style can result in demotivated employees, which in turn can hurt the entire company’s success. Identifying your management style allows you to adapt to changes in the work environment, engage your employees, and identify your own weaknesses and how to improve them.
Types of Management Styles
There are numerous different management styles, so I have narrowed it down to the 5 major types:
1) Command and Control: Also known as autocratic or directive, this style manages through clear direction and control. The manager has strong authority, total decision-making power, and expects obedience with no questions asked. It requires clearly defined roles and strict hierarchies and structures in the organization. This is the management style predominantly found in the military.
Works well in environments with many new or inexperienced employees, or in countries with traditional work cultures where superiors hold more power
A manager being in full control allows them to be in the loop as to progress at all levels of a project
Valuable in times of crisis or tight deadlines
Micromanagement can create negativity and low morale in the workplace
Requires a lot of time and effort when trying to control large projects and can become exhausting
Can cause poor working relationships
Promotes very little learning as employees lack the ability to innovate and are rather made to do as they are told
2) Democratic: Also known as consultative, participative, collaborative, or affiliative, this style manages with the idea that two heads are better than one, and that every employee deserves a say no matter their position. It encourages idea sharing and participation by everyone. The manager still holds final decision-making authority but will take their team's ideas into account. Essentially, this is a “majority rules” style of management.
Employees feel valued, heard, appreciated, and trusted, thereby boosting morale
Encourages employees to solve their own problems and innovate and therefore they take on more responsibility of outcomes
Cooperation and multiple ideas coming together create better solutions than trying it alone
Allows the whole organization to feel aligned and understand how a decision was made
Allows managers to better understand their employees by collecting feedback regularly to gain insight on any frustrations they may have
Time-consuming and therefore can be more costly
Can lead to “Group Think” and sometimes people are influencing decisions where they have no experience or expertise
Can slow the decision-making process and delay important items from being completed
Employees can become resentful if their ideas are never taken into consideration
3) Visionary: Also known as inspirational, strategic, transformational, this style manages by conveying the company’s vision to the team, providing motivation and alignment, and entrusting the team to handle the details. It requires a high level of emotional intelligence, willingness to take risks, and the ability to lead and manage change.
Motivates employees to work toward a common goal while the manager provides feedback on their performance
Helps divided teams get back on the same page and provides a focus and clear direction of what to work towards
Gives more flexibility to both the manager and employees
Increases employee self-esteem by allowing them the space to work autonomously while also getting recognized for it
Lack of focus on the details can cause issues for newer teams or employees becoming complacent and going outside of the vision
If the manager can’t get buy-in from the team on the purpose/vision before they execute, they may be uninspired or not follow through
4) Laissez-Faire: Meaning “let you do” in French, this style allows employees to do what they will with little to no interference or oversight. This style is for self-directed teams where the manager only is involved if absolutely needed and at the beginning and end of the work process. It is a very hands-off approach to management.
Gives employees the freedom to work on what they are passionate about and be able to get creative with new ideas, which boosts innovation
Works well in a team of highly skilled professionals
Higher job satisfaction and productivity with employees who enjoy autonomy
If a team is not self-motivated, highly skilled, or have poor time management, this management style can cause poor quality work and missed deadlines, which is risky for large projects
Employees may feel overworked without a clear sense of direction and productivity may suffer without leadership and structure
5) Coaching: Also known as Servant leadership, training, or mentoring, this style manages by focusing on supporting employees as an advisor rather than a rule enforcer. It requires strong coaching skills and the ability to build a mentoring relationship. There is a strong emphasis on the professional and personal growth of employees.
Creates a bond between employee and manager; builds trust and collaboration
Helps people learn from their mistakes and work on improving their performance
Encourages the desire for further learning and development, which ultimately benefits the employees and the company as a whole
Sometimes focusing on learning opportunities and improvement can take away from the importance of a high-quality output
Can become time-consuming to one-on-one coach all employees
Constant coaching and new career opportunities being offered can potentially create a competitive work environment
How to Pick One?
Decide which one best aligns with your team’s needs. Are they mostly new and still learning? Or a team of experienced professionals?
Look at your own experience, skillset, and personality and determine which feels most natural for you.
Ensure the style you select fits the company’s culture and vision, and the volume of work that needs to get done.
You may need to change up styles depending on the answers to these questions. It is important to note that the answers may change from project to project or team to team, which requires a change in management style. For example, a new team/company may require a more Authoritarian style at first, but once they learn and become more experienced, you may need to switch to a Laissez-Faire or Visionary style. The key to utilizing management styles is to assess each situation and team separately to determine which style will work the best for your situation.
Types of styles resources: