Knowing and adopting appropriate management styles is the foundation of better leadership and enhanced team performance.
Management styles are broken down into different types, and none of them is the ultimate one. It’s more about combining and balancing them to get the job done and maintain good relationships with employees.
Here are 7 most common management styles you should know and 4 tips to help you develop your management skills.
7 Types of Management Styles
1. Authoritative style
“I want it done, no question asked.”
Authoritative managers consider themselves the top of the power hierarchy. They assume most of the power in decision making and expect complete compliance from their employees. Authoritative managers emphasize quick, effective workflow and absolute control over it.
Authoritative managers are the best fit for jobs that require urgent decision making. Their decisiveness maximizes team efficiency and drives the team forward. Bill Gates, known for his high demands and control over employees, is a famous example of authoritative leadership.
An authoritative management style is necessary in some cases. Sometimes, it is not ideal. Managers who solely employ this style don’t tend to have the best leadership (Bill Gates, under different situations, adopt other styles accordingly).
Overusage of this management style can cause lack of communication and high assumption of power. This will lead to misunderstanding, resentment and frustration from the employees.
Moreover, with their fixed mindsets, managers are likely to be prevented from welcoming fresh and multi-perspective ideas from employees. Such restrictions may have a negative impact on team performance.
2. Persuasive style
“I decided we would go that way, because that is best for the team.”
Persuasive management works great for managers who possess high expertise in their field. Due to their expertise, they also assume power and make most of the decisions for their team, but they usually persuade employees into the belief that their decisions are the best options for the team.
Persuasive managers are not likely to incur much employee dissatisfaction thanks to their charisma. They enjoy holding the power to do things their way and establishing friendly relationships with their inferiors.
It’s easy to be persuasive though. It takes time to develop relationships with employees, and even more time to win their trust. For that reason, persuasive managers are constantly under immense pressure to do well. Unsatisfactory results will demotivate the team and destroy the trust they put in managers.
3. Consultative style
“Thanks for your input, this is my decision.”
Consultative managers encourage employees’ participation in making decisions and take their opinions into consideration. The ultimate decision still lies in the power of the managers, but such a decision reflects team contribution, and therefore more welcomed by the team members.
Consultative management allows more innovation and creativity in decision making, as managers can receive various opinions from their employees. There’s opportunity for mutual growth within the team, and better collaboration among members. Employees feel acknowledged and have more pride in their work, which increases their team engagement and work motivation.
The bond between management and staff may be wonderful, but there are times that collecting staff consultations can be a strenuous, time-consuming task that slows team progress down. More passive employees may also dislike being called on for contribution. In these cases, this style can be inappropriate.
4. Participative style
“This is my opinion, what are yours?”
A participative management style engages everyone into decision making in the workplace. Everyone has the right to raise their opinions. And decisions are made upon close consideration of all the opinions.
This management style puts much greater power in the team’s hands, and thus even arouses more self-identity and responsibility from team members than consultative style.
There are copious opportunities to take valuable contributions from multiple sources, and employees may learn from each other. Teams that possess highly-skilled and expert employees benefit the most from these two styles.
Great talents come with egos most of the time, so figuring out how to balance everyone’s opinions can be challenging to managers. Participative managers need to be masters at this to manage efficiently and prevent team conflicts.
5. Coaching style
“Great job, but I think you can do better.”
Managers who employ this management style resemble coaches in sports teams in that they use their power to foster employees’ self-improvement. Coaching managers are proactive in creating environments for learning and growing.
This environment encourages managers to give feedback and push employees to their full potential.
Coaching managers tend to focus more on long-term strategic thinking than short-term. Employees are empowered through managers’ support and become more self-confident, responsible, motivated and challenged at the same time. Staff and management can establish honest and trusting communications among each other.
The investment into nurturing and supporting employees takes a huge amount of sincere effort and dedication from the managers. Coaching is hard—the manager needs to be competent not only in work, but also in supporting others. Not many managers are cut out for coaching, but ones who can coach bring about excellent leadership to their teams.
6. Visionary style
“We’re going to achieve the best sale record this year so that everyone can have bigger bonuses.”
Visionary leaders set the goals and communicate to the team about the reasons and benefits behind their goals. They inspire team members towards their vision and give members the autonomy in executing it.
Employees are free to put their ideas and opinions, and thus can develop a great sense of responsibility and engagement to the team’s work. Managers enjoy escaping the burden of supervision as well, which allows them more time for other aspects.
It may sound ideal, not everyone can be visionary—to be a visionary leader takes foresight, which is not easy to gain, and a strong ability to inspire. Managers who employ this style are also likely to lack constructive feedback and monitor over the team’s work, which may be crucial to team growth and progress.
7. Laissez-faire style
“You can do what you think is best.”
Laissez-faire leadership is the most relaxed, passive, hands-off approach a manager can take. This style allows all members of the team to participate in making decisions and work in their own ways. Employees are encouraged to be the main characters in the team’s show, which may increase their self-satisfaction and engagement at work.
Autonomy allows ample room for growth and innovation. Employees are given the opportunities to get their hands on the real work and learn from it, their fresh ideas are appreciated and easily reflected by the team’s work. For industries where creativity and innovations are essential (music, film, arts, entertainment), laissez-faire is a great way to nourish employees’ contribution to the team.
Laissez-faire management can backfire in case of employees’ insufficient skills and low work ethics. Little supervision in such cases will lead to disorganization, stagnation and even serious mistakes when no one takes responsibility. To limit the risks from a completely hands-off approach, leaders are more likely to set some kinds of milestone rewards or some barriers to employees.
4 Tips to Improve Your Management Skills
1. Identify what your team needs
The best management style is one that suits the demands of the team. Team’s demands vary under different situations, which requires flexibility and appropriate adjustments from managers. Rather than sticking to one specific management style, you ought to identify the right style for each condition to pull your best performance.
2. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Understanding yourself is the foundation for success not only in management, but also in other aspects of your life. Knowing and developing your strengths, your weaknesses, and your preferences are crucial to a joyful and sustainable journey to building your management skills.
Find out more about your DISC personality type and management style on our blog post here.
3. Establish your network
“Who you surround yourself with, you become”. Surrounding yourself with like-minded, success-driven, passionate people makes sure you get the motivation and energy needed to keep up with your work. Connections with the right people can also be a source of valuable lessons that you can’t get anywhere else.
4. Get a mentor
No matter how good or successful you are, a mentor is always a necessity. Even elite business executives like Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google and former chairman of Alphabet), Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), and Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) turned to their mentor, Bill Campbell, for advice.
A good mentor helps you view your problems from different perspectives and provides you with immense personal and professional support. Establishing your connection with a good mentor fuels continuous growth and opens up many opportunities for yourself.
Did you find yourself in 7 types of management styles above? What are some of your favorite ways to improve your management styles and skills?
Want to learn more about different management styles based on the DISC personality test? Check out our post here.