8 Types of Management Styles

Whether you’re seeking someone to lead a department, a team, or an entire business unit, it’s essential you familiarize yourself with the different types of management styles. Understanding how management styles vary can help you determine which align best to your business needs, and ensure you’re selecting leadership candidates with the right skills and experience. Doing your due diligence will ensure you choose leaders who can provide a positive work experience for your employees and uphold the success of your business.

There are three things to consider when evaluating someone for a leadership position: their personality, their strengths and how well their management style aligns with your business culture. While different circumstances demand different methods of managing employees, the best leaders are those who are committed to meeting business goals and driving employee performance.

The goal is to be adaptable enough to know when to pivot or combine characteristics of multiple management styles.

Here are eight types of management styles to consider:

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1. Democratic management style

The democratic management style is rooted in collaboration. These types of leaders seek input from their employees before making business decisions or delivering solutions. They engage employees by remaining open to new ideas and experimentation, and granting employees the freedom to use their voices to share their opinions. This style of management can create strong bonds between employees and leaders.

2. Laissez-faire management style

Laissez-faire leaders are hands-off and maintain a high level of confidence in their employees. Leaders who adopt this management style don’t micromanage their employees and grant them freedom to work on their delegated tasks independently. The laissez-faire leadership style works best when managing highly experienced professionals. When these self-disciplined employees are given more autonomy, they often demonstrate greater initiative.

3. Autocratic management style

An autocratic management style is centered on results and efficiency, and usually devoid of employee collaboration and autonomy. An autocratic style leader believes in micromanaging employees to ensure they follow company policies and rely on authority to provide instruction. Some aspects of this management style may be useful in an emergency when unexperienced employees need clear, strict expectations to solve a particular problem.

4. Charismatic management style

Leaders who follow a charismatic management style are charming, highly persuasive and deeply committed to their cause. Charismatic leaders are also interested in building personal relationships and rallying their team around a common goal. This style of management is useful for helping employees feel supported, highly engaged and motivated toward achieving business objectives.

5. Coach management style

Leaders who use the coaching management style often possesses qualities similar to a sports team coach. They’re dedicated to their employees’ ongoing development and can quickly identify what motivates each employee to succeed. A coaching leader is skilled in recognizing each employee’s unique strengths and weaknesses and determining how to help them become better professionals. They often push employees to complete more challenging tasks that further develop their talents and improve their areas of opportunity.

6. Pacesetting management style

Leaders who practice the pacesetting management style often set high standards for their team and are especially concerned with speed and efficiency. These leaders are always seeking new ways to become more productive and expect the same of the employees they manage. This management style can help build trust among employees who recognize their manager adheres to the same standards they set for their team, but can also make employees feel overwhelmed by demands.

7. Bureaucratic management style

Leaders who adhere to the bureaucratic style of management focus on assigning specific duties to employees within a well-defined hierarchy. They’re less concerned with collaboration and more interested in following rules and procedures. Bureaucratic leaders assign each employee a set of responsibilities and independent tasks, and all work is streamlined from top to bottom. This style of leadership is useful in heavily regulated industries, but less effective in creative environments.

8. Transactional management style

Leaders who follow a transactional management style enhance employee performance with positive rewards like bonuses and incentives, and respond to negative outcomes with disciplinary action. They often act as mentors, and provide explicit instruction to help increase performance and ensure employees consistently meet expectations. This style of management is highly effective in helping teams hit sales and revenue goals, but less useful for leading teams or departments focused on driving innovation.

Ultimately, identifying the best management style for each leadership role within your organization requires careful observation and consideration. And remember: great leaders are flexible and can pivot towards whichever management style will be most effective in meeting the current needs of their team and the organization.

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