The six basic management styles are:
- Autocratic Management Style
- Consultative Management Style
- Democratic Management Style
- Laissez-Faire Managment Style
- Persuasive Management Style
- Transformational Management Style
Between these styles of managerial approaches, you’ll be able to identify a solid cross-section of business leadership.
There isn’t one “right” style of management, and it certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation to be a perfect manager. Different types of organizations require different management approaches.
Some may even require a mix of two different styles, and you might find that while one style of management fits perfectly for one employee, it might not work for another.
Let’s talk about the common types of management styles and how they present themselves in a workspace.
Autocratic Management Style
The Autocratic management style functions as a “top-down” approach which means that communication tends to flow in one direction only: from the “boss” to the employee or subordinate.
This management style is very much a power-focused leadership style that tends to view employees as “worker-bees” who should be following instructions sans complaint or feedback within clearly designed limits.
Power is concentrated with management leaving very little (if any) room for positive feedback, critique, or discussion amongst the workforce. This can be a very controlling level of management.
Under an autocratic manager, job satisfaction can be low and it is not always a style that is conducive towards inspiring employee well-being.
This style can also be interpreted as being old-fashioned and antagonistic. One would be cautioned for its use in the modern-day workspace with an increasingly high emphasis on employees’ rights and well-being at work.
However, the one upside to this management style is that highly independent employees will thrive. Unlike some more relaxed management styles where employees have to determine what is expected, this style encourages clear communication.
Talented employees clearly understand what is expected from them. They don’t need to be told what to do, and at times, doing so may negatively impact their workflow.
Consultative Management Style
As the name indicates, this participative management style is a lot more open than its autocratic predecessor.
This is a visionary management style where managers ask for and value their teams’ thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Managers will spend time asking for the individual viewpoints of each team member, and even though the buck ultimately stops with management, team member participation in the process is highly valued.
You’ll often find the consultative management style in industries or services where a high degree of specialization is required as constructive feedback from various experts is needed to empower decision-making. This collaborative approach takes a specific type of manager who is willing to take criticism and is open to new ideas.
A consultative management style inspires a much greater level of employee engagement. Still, leaders should be sure to make effective time management a built-in component of this leadership style to avoid time wastage caused by over-consultation.
Democratic Management Style
Open two-way communication is one of the hallmarks of this management style. Employee or team member contributions are not just valued but actively encouraged.
Though, like consultative management, the final decision will ultimately be made by management.
This leadership style allows for greater autonomy and employee productivity amongst the workforce while still ensuring that overall leadership rests with the executives. A collaborative management style fosters innovation and involvement from employees and is a sign of a successful manager.
Democratic management styles allow for a greater diversity of ideas and skill sets that ultimately lead to higher productivity as well as improved department and company efficiency.
However, as with consultative management, democratic leaders need to ensure that all of that communication does not come at a cost to deliverables and efficiency goals.
Laissez-Faire Management Style
When you have an organization or department where team members are highly skilled in their duties and functions or highly qualified for that matter, management may consider employing a more hands-off approach to leadership.
This is because staff can be trusted to bring high levels of innovation, dedication, discipline, and compliance to the workplace.
Here, managers tend to assign tasks, check for time efficiency, and make themselves available when executive decision-making is required. But the day-to-day running of the workflow is left to the staff.
This type of management style is generally not suited to most working environments as most people need high levels of motivation and direction. But self-sufficient teams or creative teams can find it to be advantageous.
Persuasive Management Style
If you know that you, as a manager, hold the ultimate skillset in your division or business, you might find this management style compelling.
Persuasive management invites questions, feedback, or even critique from team members and helps staff feel like they are part of the decision-making process. Ultimately, the final decision rests in the hands of the leadership team.
However, with this leadership style, some employees can feel as if they are labored under a leadership team that has them execute functions instead of carrying out those functions.
But combined with intelligent and creative management, persuasive management can feel like collaborative leadership and inspire greater feelings of well-being amongst team members.
Transformational Management Style
This is very much a “leadership by example” style of management as managers work alongside their team members to demonstrate their commitment to harder and smarter working. Team members are encouraged to think outside of the box and innovate by leading from the front.
Teaching employees leadership skills can be beneficial because they will use these skills to keep their team on task and naturally become team leaders.
In organizations that work to strict deadlines and with tight deliverables or a high demand for innovation and cutting edge outcomes, you could find this style particularly beneficial as it removes the “power structure” from the team. This eliminates archaic or hierarchical operations that could waste time when decisions need to be reached fast.
Examples of companies that have been very successful with this type of leadership include Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and Intel.
Pros And Cons Of Each Style
While it could at first seem as if this style of management is stifling and restrictive, it can work well in environments where decisions have to be made quickly and decisively with little room for error. If a team is not overly skilled or trained in appropriate specialization, this approach could also be helpful.
However, this style also typically leads to issues with retaining staff as there isn’t much room for growth or self-improvement. Whether or not this authoritative style will work for your company comes down to your business objectives, company goals, and employee base.
Individuals who don’t function incredibly well under tight control and direction could feel frustrated and undervalued, which will directly impact productivity and service standards.
These managers tend to enjoy high levels of employee well-being and satisfaction as team members feel valued and heard. You may find that as a result of greater management visibility and team connection, management and their teams “grow together” and in a unified direction.
Creating a learning culture that prioritizes your employees' long-term development can have a positive impact on employee performance and overall business goals.
On the other hand, this democratic style of leadership can be laborious and time-intensive. If not executed correctly, employees could feel bogged down by the constant questioning and discussions taking place when all they want to do is just get on with it.