7 Effective Managerial Leadership Styles (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 August 2022

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.

Managers and leaders can employ different skills and qualities to direct an organisation and motivate its employees to achieve business goals. Managerial leadership effectively combines managerial skills and leadership qualities to improve the productivity, engagement and efficiency of an organisation. Knowing the different styles of managerial leadership and developing one that's best suited for you can positively impact the organisation and help to advance your professional career. In this article, we explain what managerial leadership styles are, discuss seven different types and show how they can benefit the workplace and organisation.

What are managerial leadership styles?

Managerial leadership styles are how a professional leads individuals or a group in an organisation. A managerial leadership style informs the way a professional manages, plans and directs the team. Professionals often develop leadership styles based on their personality and how well they work and communicate with others. Depending on the business environment, you can adopt a different managerial leadership style to resolve a conflict or manage a situation.

Related: What Is Leadership? (With Key Elements of Leadership)

Why are managerial leadership styles important?

It can benefit aspiring managers and leaders to know why leadership styles are important. Familiarising yourself with the different leadership styles can help you identify the various characteristics or attributes that you can improve to become a better leader. Adapting the right managerial leadership style to the professional setting can enhance organisational effectiveness and increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. Selecting the right managerial leadership style can lead to the following benefits:

  • higher quality of work

  • lower employee turnover and absenteeism

  • higher profit margins

  • higher levels of productivity

  • greater self-awareness

  • better teamwork

Related: Leader vs. Manager: 8 Key Differences Between Both Roles

7 types of managerial leadership styles

Here are seven styles for your consideration:

1. Strategic

Strategic managerial leadership emphasises actions and strategies to help the organisation achieve long-term success. Leaders who adopt this style focus on planning the overall vision and direction of the company and developing macro-level strategies that support its growth and business objectives. As the organisation's top-level executives, they communicate their plans, processes and goals to mid-level managers and leaders, who can coordinate and align employees to execute tasks accordingly. A strategic managerial leadership style can help an organisation to better deploy resources and set clear benchmarks to track goals and outcomes.

Related: Change Leadership Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Transactional

Transactional managerial leadership is a common style that rewards employees based on their performance. These rewards can include monetary incentives, cash rewards or bonuses to motivate employees to master their work and achieve objectives. For instance, a transactional managerial leader can award bonuses to the sales team if they achieve their monthly sales targets. This style is conducive to encouraging employees to achieve short-term goals or complete certain urgent tasks. To ensure a managerial leadership style increases employee productivity, it's important to align these incentives with the organisational values and long-term business objectives.

3. Transformational

A transformational managerial leadership style is also commonly referred to as visionary or inspirational. Transformational leaders use their charisma, energy and praise to articulate the vision of a team, project or company. This style is effective in helping to energise and empower employees to complete tasks and accomplish their goals. Transformational managerial leadership focuses on a growth mindset and they desire employees to develop new competencies, explore ideas and improve their work. This may involve assigning them new tasks and setting more urgent deadlines and challenging goals that can help them grow professionally.

Read more: What Is Transformational Leadership and Why Is It Effective?

4. Participative

A participative managerial leadership style believes in workplace democracy and values the input of employees and team members in the decision-making process. This helps them to feel more appreciated and builds a stronger relationship between the leader and the team. A participative managerial leader is confident in their team and actively encourages employees to take on new responsibilities at work. They welcome others' opinions and hold discussions to share ideas and learn new perspectives, which can benefit the company.

Teams led by a participative leader are often more engaged at work and report higher job satisfaction as each individual feels included. Although they respect the ideas and feedback of team members, leaders who adopt a participative managerial style still have the final say in major decisions that affect the team.

Related: What Is People Management? (Plus How to Develop Your Skills)

5. Results-oriented

A results-oriented managerial leadership style is more focused on outcomes that are aligned with short and long-term goals. These leaders work to motivate teams and employees to achieve results that support the company's growth and objectives. They're adept at performance measurement and focus on maximising results and meeting requirements. They emphasise employees' development and performance and try to link them with accomplishing organisational goals like reducing costs and increasing profitability or sales growth. Leaders who adopt a results-oriented managerial leadership style instil confidence and inspire trust because they set clear goals and provide direction for the rest of the team.

6. Delegative

Delegative or laissez-faire managerial leadership affords autonomy and freedom to employees and team members. These leaders exemplify their confidence and trust in employees by letting them decide how they want to perform their job and complete their work. They implement minimal policies and believe that employees perform best when they're free of constraints. This type of managerial leadership style pairs best with employees who are independent and capable to manage tasks and responsibilities on their own. It also allows the leader to direct more attention towards the overall strategic direction and operations of the organisation.

7. Servant leader

Servant leaders adopt a coaching mindset and place others first by focusing on their welfare and growth. They use their strong interpersonal and coaching skills to mentor and guide employees' professional development. A servant leadership managerial style encourages employees to enhance their capabilities, reinforce their strengths and help fellow team members succeed. This managerial leadership style enables a company to nurture and build productive and resilient teams. Servant leaders can implement strategies that complement their teams' strengths and help them to achieve success.

Tips to develop a managerial leadership style

If you aim to become a more effective leader, follow these tips to develop a managerial leadership style:

Understand your strengths and weakness

Every managerial leadership style has its own advantages and disadvantages that are applicable in different professional settings. Effective leaders consciously work to improve on their strengths and weaknesses. You can learn more about your personality traits and positive attributes by speaking with fellow managers and leaders in your organisation. There are also different leadership assessments and aptitude tests that can help you learn more about the managerial leadership style that's best suited for you. This knowledge is crucial in helping you find your own personal style and develop the characteristics to improve.

Commit to leadership roles in your personal life

As a leader, your personal and professional growth are closely related. Committing to leadership roles outside of work in your personal capacity is an opportunity to develop key skills and traits like confidence, communication and empathy. For instance, you can volunteer to lead charity outreach programmes or mentor at-risk youths. These experiences allow you to experiment with different styles, which you can evaluate to determine what you're most comfortable with. You may also see your natural style emerge through these activities and learn new perspectives about how you can become a better leader.

Related: How to Improve Leadership Skills: Guideline and Tips

Set clear professional goals

Sometimes, you can discover which managerial leadership style works best for you by actively pursuing new goals and overcoming challenges in the workplace. Setting performance-based goals as a leader can help you grow and achieve more. Through your struggles to manage challenges and conflicts, you may gain a better understanding of the leadership skills you require. Well-defined goals that are realistic and achievable can motivate you to strive for constant progress. This helps to shape your development as a leader and also provides clarity on the type of managerial leadership style you can apply to those settings.

Be open-minded and flexible

Remember that leadership styles aren't rigid but may have similar traits and characteristics. Studying and experimenting with one particular style can help you develop related managerial leadership skills and abilities. You may also select essential qualities and attributes from each style to integrate into your own personal technique. It's important that you be open to new ideas and continuously improve your leadership abilities. Be deliberate in seeking out unconventional methods of management and leadership and try to learn from your experiences, which can help you become more proficient at managerial leadership.

Display honesty and humility

Leaders who are honest and humble can make themselves more relatable to team members and employees. This can help them improve their soft skills like empathy and collaboration, which are essential elements of many leadership styles. Being transparent in terms of setting clear goals and expectations also causes you to find effective ways to improve the team's performance. Extending this honesty to your employees and soliciting their feedback can help you formulate your own style that's effective and true to your personality.

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