Management Styles: Ultimate Guide

By: | Updated: July 19, 2022

This is a guide to management styles.

Managerial styles are the many methods a leader employs to plan and organize teams to accomplish objectives. The way a manager forms, plans, takes decisions, delegates, and manages their team is part of their management style. For example, persuasive, transformational, and coaching styles.

Understanding these concepts is important because it helps the manager know when to adjust their management style to fit various conditions while staying on track with the business goals. A good management style enhances team collaboration and efficient delegation.

These styles often appear in books on management. These concepts help managers master team building management and be good leaders. Manager styles are similar to management skills, leadership styles and coaching styles.

This guide includes types of management styles and tips for improving management styles.

Here are the basics.

Types of Management Styles

A good manager knows how to handle a wide variety of scenarios in the workplace and how to lead a diverse group of people. Every manager has a management style, yet various styles can be appropriate in different scenarios. Many factors decide the management style, including industry, the company, management level, culture, and the manager’s personality. Here are the basic management styles.

1. Autocratic style

Autocratic management, often used interchangeably with authoritarian management, deals with decision-making with minimal or zero contribution from subordinates. The manager’s knowledge and experience serve as the guide for completing tasks. Employees receive clear instructions on projects and must complete tasks accordingly without exception.

An authoritarian management style works best when existing tasks require quick and efficient completion. Autocracy may be an extremely efficient management method since there is little to no space for compromise. In the military, leadership often takes an authoritarian style. Commanding commanders issue commands that subordinates must follow to the letter. Autocratic management also works in the kitchen, where the head chef expects the staff to prepare meals according to the restaurant’s standards.

2. Consultative style

Consultative management involves seeking the team’s opinion on matters and getting regular feedback before making decisions. Team members have the chance to provide their manager with feedback on likes and dislikes about assignments. The manager makes the final decision and sets the course for the team’s approach. With this kind of management, individual workers realize the importance of their contributions and can fully succeed in tasks.

Consultative management style is a great option to motivate team members and help employees understand their incredible impact on the company. For instance, such managers often hold weekly meetings to get critical or personal feedback on current projects. Even in cases where time is not a problem and teamwork is essential, this style can be a practical option.

This management approach is best suited to teams with specialized skills and talents. This style is also preferable when the manager lacks the same depth of knowledge about the issue as the team. For example, a manager who has to supervise a group of software engineers working on a new SaaS and wants to use their collective wisdom might employ consultative methods.

Consultative managers might use employee feedback surveys.

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3. Democratic style

Under a democratic management style, every decision goes to a vote, which means every employee participates in the decision-making process. Rather than depending on one person to make the choices, this technique encourages a group’s thoughts, emotions, views, and ideas. Employees need to understand the company’s and team’s demands to make excellent choices.

Democratic management has long-term advantages. Due to the transparent approach, this style makes employees feel appreciated and important. Managers who adopt this style can boost team collaboration and engagement and reduce employee turnover rate.

Companies with democratic management styles can use each team member’s unique skills and experience. Individuals with expertise in respective fields contribute to decision-making.

There are times when a manager needs the input of highly specialized team members, and democratic management comes in handy. For example, this style can work in a retail store, where a manager can moderate decisions concerning store layouts, marketing initiatives, and customer service operations.

4. Laissez-faire style

Laissez-faire in French means “to let something run its course.” In this management style, managers hardly interfere in operations and allow staff liberty to make judgments and take necessary action. In this model, workers get more flexibility and autonomy. Laissez-faire management also encourages innovation in the workplace and fosters a greater feeling of accountability and responsibility among workers. Team members can adopt work techniques that best fit their abilities and personalities.

This management approach works well in organizations with a flat structure or without a strict hierarchy. When employing this style, make sure you have a team of highly motivated and capable workers comfortable with little management control. Such managers must prepare to resolve conflicts when their staff lose focus or disagree.

Laissez-faire managers are available to answer inquiries and provide the necessary help. However, hands-on management is minimal. Managers in the music business, for example, may let artists develop their work with few recommendations since these leaders know independence fosters creativity.

This leadership may lead to improved innovation, creativity, and productivity since there are no constraints on how people must work or think. The level of flexibility given to workers is an excellent way to develop a strong connection built on trust, much like the Visionary Management Style.

5. Persuasive style

Persuasive managers make decisions and explain the reasoning to team members. This manager ensures a timely and efficient work completion, establishes clear objectives, and develops a strategy to align their team with pressing goals. The persuasive manager ensures that team members understand the thoughts behind every management decision to keep stakeholders in the loop. The management style is less high-handed than autocratic management, yet highly effective.

A persuasive management style may be ideal when a company makes major changes and introduces new rules or processes. The manager employs persuasive tactics to convince employees that the management’s unilateral actions benefit the team, department, or company.

Managers use this approach to engage staff with questions and explanations instead of simply giving orders. This approach may reduce resentment and friction between management and workers. In turn, employees feel more trusted and valued and feel that the company considers workers when making big business decisions.

Managers who know topics better than the team can adopt this approach. Although explaining your thought processes helps expertise grants authority.

Here is a list of books on negotiation that can help develop persuasive skills.

6. Transformational style

Transformational management style gives employees creative freedom and encourages them to be innovative and forward-thinking. This style alters the conventional management role by giving employees the freedom and confidence to effect positive change inside a company. These managers tend to delegate more responsibility and decision-making power to employees based on faith in their abilities and judgment.

Transformational management is common in the technology sector as it fosters creativity and innovation. Companies can keep pace with market trends and customer requirements by employing this style. Businesses in fast-paced sectors or those expecting rapid changes within their industry, company, or division benefit most from this style. The company’s teams remain agile and innovative yet to adapt more quickly to external and internal pressures.

7. Collaborative style

A collaborative manager cooperates with the team members to make decisions and complete tasks. These managers promote an atmosphere where employees can exchange ideas freely. Managers can keep their team productive and ready to produce high-quality results by ensuring employees’ emotional and intellectual satisfaction. Collaborative managers emphasize staff contentment and cohesion and therefore enjoy their team’s respect and admiration. In general, these leaders are more prone to make judgments by consensus.

In these environments, employees take responsibility for assigned tasks. Small and big organizations alike may benefit from a collaborative leader. This style is more common in non-profit organizations. The collaborative style works when a company is looking to stimulate creativity, cooperation, and employee engagement. Such businesses can boost employee engagement even in the face of significant organizational or industry changes.

8. Coaching style

This management approach focuses more on workers’ professional and personal development. In this type of leadership, the leader commits to the team’s needs and takes on a mentor position rather than a typical “boss.” These managers are ready to offer advice and guidance and continuously seek ways to help their staff succeed.

For example, an employee might show interest and potential in lead conversion. A manager that uses the coaching management style will identify chances for this employee to engage in lead conversion initiatives, encourage the team member to attend relevant events, and offer the space and resources necessary to help them optimize the skills for success.

This coaching style shows employees that their managers care about their success and well-being. As a result, employees commit to creating high-quality work and confide in their supervisors about any concerns they encounter while working. This style also curbs cases where employees quit a firm without notice due to a lack of trust in their managers.

9. Visionary style

The hallmark of the visionary leader is the ability to articulate a company’s high-level strategic direction while also motivating the team to work toward that objective. A visionary manager creates a roadmap for the firm, and workers can use this map to navigate the road ahead.

However, the visionary management style is different from autocratic management. Although the leader is ultimately responsible for deciding on the company’s course, they form their vision based on what is best for the firm and its workers. Therefore, visionary leaders must have an open mind to take input from their workforce and make adjustments as necessary.

Instilling a sense of trust between the leader and the workforce is one advantage of this management approach. Under visionary leaders, workers play a key role in completing tasks and enjoy more autonomy. This style is an effective strategy to strengthen your connection with employees since many employees loathe micromanagement.

Additionally, this management approach is very adaptable. There is no single “correct” route to achieving a vision, which allows organizations to experiment with many approaches. Visionary management style benefits tech firms looking to make a wave in industries, NGOs wanting to develop ingenious solutions to issues or purposeful enterprises. Managers can use this style to inspire their staff to become innovative.

10. Paternalistic style

A paternalistic manager makes decisions for the team’s benefit. Such employers treat workers like family members and want employees to display a strong sense of devotion. The manager will make unilateral decisions and inform team members that each decision results from sound reasoning. However, employees cannot challenge those decisions. There is no place for contribution or questioning in the decision-making process.

You will often find the company referring to their employees as “family” to inspire loyalty and trust. Cultural factors determine the adoption of this management style. Employees in Western nations are less likely to embrace the notion of a benevolent boss due to a lack of hierarchical systems. This management style may work well for smaller businesses, yet it is inadvisable for large corporations.

11. Participative style

Team members influence a participative manager’s decisions. This manager encourages excellent communication and openness at every level of a business. Employees are knowledgeable about the company’s vision, strategy, and objectives. Encouragement of innovative problem-solving is a hallmark of participative management.

Furthermore, these managers encourage cooperation among the members of their group to meet the group’s goals. A participatory management style is particularly beneficial when making long-term choices for the team and the company. Managers need to include workers when adopting major changes in a company, particularly if the employees are resistant to new ideas or plans.

12. Conflict management style

Conflict management is all about resolving differences. Conflict management aims to help both parties reach a mutually beneficial agreement and find common ground.

A conflict management style refers to the varied ways to deal with conflict. There is no such thing as an “ideal” strategy for managing conflict. It is crucial to find a method that works for you and your team when dealing with conflict. Most individuals choose one of five typical conflict management methods, including accommodating, evading, compromising, competing, and partnering.

Here are lists of books on conflict management and conflict management activities.

Tips for improving management styles

The group’s total productivity will suffer if the management style does not fit the individual, the project, or the company’s requirements. Managers need to adapt their styles to the changing environment. Then, improving your management style is quite crucial. Here are some suggestions to improve your management style.

1. Identify the team’s needs

It is crucial to make sure your personality, talents, and experience align with the requirements of your organization before deciding on a management approach. Be sure to check if you have the essential tools to complete the job. Knowing your skills and limitations and what you need to do to succeed is essential. Make sure that your style aligns with the project’s requirements and keep track of the progress until successful completion.

2. Consult colleagues for guidance

If you are having trouble leading a group or getting the desired results, then the best course of action is to seek help. Your senior colleagues will happily provide a hand when in trouble and give tips to improve your skillsets. You may also improve your management style by asking your coworkers and staff for feedback. Many effective managers have this quality.

3. Adapt to the ever-changing conditions

To be a manager, you must embrace change and be flexible in your approach to leadership. Failure is imminent if you use the same approach for every scenario and project. Therefore, you must identify new ways to achieve your goals in an ever-changing workplace.

4. Learn about diverse management styles

You can learn about different management styles by taking courses or attending lectures and seminars. This training can equip you to address specific challenges, strengthen teamwork, or make choices using various methods. By training, you can explore and experiment until you perfect a management style that works best for you and your team members.


At the core of your management style should be a commitment to helping your business and its employees achieve objectives. There are advantages and disadvantages to each management style, and you should make your decision based on your own unique set of circumstances like the firm, objectives, and personality. Alternatively, you may discover that a blend of many styles works best for you.

Next, check out this guide to the differences between management and leadership and this collection of books for new managers.

We also have a guide to company core values.

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FAQ: Management styles

Here are answers to questions about management styles.

What are the most common management styles?

The most common management styles include visionary, autocratic, and participative styles.

How do you find your management style?

To find your management style, first, know your personality. You also need to discover your core values to choose who to trust and rely on in difficult times. As a manager, you must also be aware of your shortcomings and how they affect your work. Then you can find ways to improve those weaknesses.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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