Pros and Cons of 10 Common Management Styles (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 25 November 2022
Published 13 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A management style describes a person's methods to manage an individual, meeting, project, group of people or organisation. A person's management style might inform how they organise work, make decisions and use their authority. You can use a variety of management styles in your professional life depending on the situation at hand. In this article, we discuss several common styles of management, when and how each style is most effective, and examples that may help you identify and improve your own style.
10 common management styles
There are a few styles commonly used to lead teams to achieve goals:
The coaching management style focuses on supporting and mentoring employees. This style requires the manager to be experienced in performing the tasks they expect of their employees so they can give advice and instruction. These managers also need experience advising people and building trust and admiration in their team.
Advantages: This style helps employees develop and advance professionally. It can create a strong bond between employees and managers.
Disadvantages: Not all employees are receptive to mentoring, so this style of management may not be successful for everyone. This style can also place focus on personal development over output or productivity.
Example: A coaching manager may set development goals for each employee and frequently advise and provide feedback to make sure that each employee meets their goals and develops professionally.
The collaborative management style focuses on the personal and professional well-being of the employees as the first concern of the manager. This management style promotes the belief that employees who feel satisfied and supported at work are more productive and dedicated to their work.
Advantages: This type of management style can boost productivity and loyalty. It can also improve individual performance as managers invest time in training and developing their employees.
Disadvantages: This is a more involved style of management that can require emotional investment and additional work for the manager.
Example: An employer can schedule monthly coffee meetings with their employees to provide a time to talk about concerns, questions or ideas for improvement in their careers.
Consultative managers ask employees for feedback consistently and take employee concerns seriously. They often have an open-door policy that encourages employees to share what is and isn't working in the organisation. While managers may consult with employees, they ultimately retain sole decision-making power.
Advantages: This type of management style often leads to higher employee engagement, stronger collaborative problem-solving and less turnover.
Disadvantages: A consultative management style isn't always as efficient as an authoritative style, since it involves more people in the decision-making process.
Example: A team leader of a project holds weekly one-on-one meetings with each of the other team members. Team members share progress on their responsibilities, what they feel is going well and what they feel needs improvement. The team leader uses this feedback to set schedules, allocate resources and prioritise goals for the following week.
A democratic or participative manager's decision-making process relies on influence from their employees. This style includes effective communication and openness through all levels of the organisation. Employees and managers work together to reach the goals of their vision. A democratic management style is especially effective for making long-term decisions that impact the entire company.
Advantages: This style typically leaves employees feeling valued and empowered to contribute in meaningful ways. It also encourages them to tap into their full potential at work.
Disadvantages: Like the consultative management style, it's also not as efficient. Decision-making often involves debates and consulting multiple parties, which can take time.
Example: Store managers often use the democratic management style. They may hire team members who can work together to complete store layouts, marketing campaigns and customer service. These managers act as a moderator to help their team move forward with their ideas and are available to answer questions.
Transformational management, or visionary management, focuses on identifying the company's purpose and promoting it to the rest of the team. This managerial style is more concerned with motivating the team with an inspirational attitude than focusing on the smaller day-to-day tasks. These managers rely on charisma and emotional intelligence to establish authority. They trust their teams to handle the details of meeting the goals they set and adhering to their stated purpose.
Advantages: This managerial style is inspiring for the team, and gives them a unifying sense of purpose. It can also be useful for unifying a team under one vision, which can be helpful when navigating a change in the business.
Disadvantages: Leaders may find it difficult to incorporate this style for introverted people or leaders who lack the necessary interpersonal skills. This style can lead to disorganisation for team members who lack the disciple or experience to direct themselves.
Example: Some technology startups have a charismatic leader with a unifying mission for their company. These leaders give engaging speeches based on the ideal future of technology and the good it can bring to everyday people.
When using the persuasive management type, managers focus on explaining management decisions that benefit the company. They rely on the employees' ability to understand the rationale behind decisions to convince them to work together and support company directives. The ideal outcome of this management style is an organisation with top-down decisions enforced and supported by the employee base.
Advantages: This style is preferable to more authoritative styles because it focuses on motivating employees and one-way communication. Taking the time to explain decisions to employees can make them feel more important to the company's overall structure. This can also be an effective leadership style for an inexperienced team, who need firm guidance, but can understand the reasoning.
Disadvantages: The one-way style of communication limits the amount of feedback that employees can give, which can lead to dissatisfaction and limit the potential for innovation.
Example: An independent consultant may analyse a company from outside the organisation, causing scepticism in employees. A persuasive manager can convince the employees of the consultant's expertise by providing the consultant's credentials.
Laissez-faire or delegative management style is when a manager does not get involved in the daily tasks of their employees and provides very few instructions or advice. They are available when employees need guidance, but rely on their employees to make their own decisions about how to move forward with projects.
Advantages: This style can be effective for self-motivated employees because it gives them the autonomy to be productive.
Disadvantages: This style may not be effective for inexperienced employees or people who thrive under clear instruction.
Example: Given the unpredictable nature of the fashion industry, allowing fashion buyers the freedom to choose their own products often works best. As long as they are knowledgeable and passionate, individual buyers are typically much more in tune with fashion trends than management.
This management style mirrors a paternalistic family structure, in that the manager presents themselves as a benevolent leader who makes decisions unilaterally with the assumption that they consider the best interests of the team members. This style typically uses familial-based incentives, like claiming employees are your family and asking for loyalty from employees.
Advantages: This managerial style has the manager focused on the welfare of their employees. It is also heavily culture focused.
Disadvantages: Some employees may not agree with the familiarity of the managerial style or the unilateral decision-making. It can also lead to a dependence on management for decision-making and a lack of innovation.
Example: A smaller family business, with an owner and employees who may be a part of the same family, can function as a paternalistic hierarchy. At this company, management values loyalty and familial obedience from their employees.
Transactional styles of management provide rewards as incentives for productivity. For example, a transactional manager may provide bonuses or stock options as motivation for improvement in an employee's performance.
Advantages: This management style can be effective for a short period. It can motivate employees to complete work that they don't feel internally motivated to do, so it is effective when there is a deadline coming up or an unpopular project that needs to be completed.
Disadvantages: In the long run, having employees rely on rewards to complete their work can negatively impact their motivation and desire to perform if the rewards are not present.
Example: A 24-hour call centre may offer additional pay for someone to work over holidays, a task that is usually unpopular.
An authoritative manager follows a top-down approach to leading. In this style, managers make decisions almost entirely alone. They set clear and specific policies for everyone to follow, and they rarely request feedback from employees.
Advantages: This style is useful when efficiency is important and in crises when it's necessary to make effective decisions quickly.
Disadvantages: New ideas rarely emerge in an authoritative management style and, when applied in the wrong circumstances, it can also lead to higher turnover.
Example: Many restaurants use an authoritative management style. Diners come in expecting orderly service and quality food. Since most restaurants run on slim margins and suffer from even minor mistakes, autocratic management works well to keep everyone focused on results and efficiency.
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