What is Style of Management? Definition, Types, Styles, and Pros/Cons

What is Style of Management?

Management style refers to the unique way in which a manager leads and manages their team or organization. It involves their behaviors, attitudes, and decision-making processes in achieving goals. A manager’s style is identified through their interactions, communication, decision-making, values, and leadership traits.

There are various styles of management, such as autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, bureaucratic, servant leadership, coaching, charismatic, transactional, transformational, and situational.

Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, and its effectiveness depends on the team and the situation. Understanding and adapting one’s management style is crucial for creating a positive and productive work environment.

12 Styles of Management: Defining

There are many management styles as there are many types of managers. Let’s look at the 12 most common management styles with their pros and cons and applicability.

Autocratic Management Style

An autocratic management style is a rigid approach where managers make decisions without involving team members. They have full control and authority over projects and teams, and employees are expected to follow instructions without question.

This style is suitable in situations requiring quick decision-making or when a leader possesses specialized knowledge. For example, in emergency response scenarios, autocratic leadership ensures swift and decisive actions.

Related: Top-Level-Management

Pros of autocratic management include rapid decision-making and clear role expectations. However, it can create a negative “us” versus “them” dynamic, lead to employee dissatisfaction, and hinder innovation and feedback.

Autocratic leadership should be used occasionally, as it may limit employee empowerment and growth opportunities in the long run. A balance of leadership styles is crucial for maintaining a motivated and engaged team.

Democratic Style of Management

Democratic management style is characterized by a collaborative and inclusive approach, where team members have a voice in decision-making. This leadership style values input from all stakeholders and encourages open discussion and debate.

It is appropriate to use when team members possess diverse perspectives and expertise, and their input can lead to innovative solutions. For example, during brainstorming sessions or team projects, democratic leadership fosters creativity and engagement.

The pros of democratic management include building collaborative relationships, boosting morale, and promoting innovation. However, it can be time-consuming and may lead to conflicts between individuals with differing viewpoints.

It is important for managers to strike a balance between seeking input and making timely decisions. By leveraging the strengths and ideas of the team, democratic management can create a positive and empowered work environment.

Laissez-Faire Style of Management

The laissez-faire style of management is characterized by a hands-off approach, where managers provide minimal guidance and control to their team members. In this style, employees are entrusted with decision-making and problem-solving, while the manager assumes a supportive role.

Laissez-faire management is appropriate when team members are experienced, self-motivated, and capable of working independently. For example, in creative industries or research teams, where individuals thrive on autonomy and freedom to explore ideas, this style can foster creativity and innovation.

The pros of laissez-faire management include increased employee satisfaction, enhanced problem-solving skills, and the potential for greater creativity. However, it can be challenging for newcomers or those who require more structure and direction.

Without active management, productivity may suffer, and there can be a lack of focus or consistency within the team. Effective communication and occasional check-ins are crucial to maintaining clarity and ensuring progress.

Bureaucratic Management Style

The bureaucratic style of management relies on established rules, procedures, and policies to govern the decision-making process and guide employees’ actions. Managers following this style prioritize adherence to protocols and standard operating procedures, often emphasizing consistency and efficiency.

It is appropriate to use the bureaucratic style in large organizations or government institutions where maintaining uniformity, compliance, and accountability is crucial. For example, a government agency that deals with sensitive information might require a bureaucratic approach to ensure transparency and avoid favoritism.

The pros of bureaucratic management include streamlined communication, clear expectations, and standardized processes. However, it can also lead to excessive red tape, stifling innovation and adaptability. Employees might feel constrained by rigid rules, and a lack of flexibility may hinder problem-solving.

Effective implementation of a bureaucratic style requires regular evaluation and adjustment to prevent unnecessary bureaucracy and accommodate individual circumstances and needs.

Servant Style of Management

The servant style of management prioritizes the needs, growth, and well-being of employees above all else. Managers following this style adopt a mindset of service, aiming to support and empower their team members. They actively listen to their employees, provide guidance and resources, and advocate for their development.

The servant style is appropriate to use when building strong relationships, fostering employee engagement, and creating a positive work environment. For example, a manager who focuses on the servant style might regularly check in with their team members, offer mentorship opportunities, and provide resources for professional growth.

Also Read: Middle-Level Management

The pros of servant management include increased employee satisfaction, improved team cohesion, and enhanced motivation. However, a potential drawback is that managers may need to balance employee needs with overall business objectives.

Additionally, a servant style can become ineffective if it neglects the achievement of critical goals or lacks assertiveness in decision-making.

Coaching Management Style

The coaching style of management focuses on the professional development and growth of employees. Managers adopting this style act as coaches, providing guidance, feedback, and resources to help their team members improve their skills and reach their full potential.

They encourage employees to take ownership of their work and support them in achieving their goals. The coaching style is appropriate to use when working with individuals who have the potential for growth and development, such as new employees or those seeking to enhance their skills.

For example, a manager using the coaching style may regularly meet with their employees to discuss progress, provide constructive feedback, and offer training opportunities.

The pros of coaching management include increased employee engagement, improved performance, and enhanced retention. However, a potential con is that it requires time and effort from the manager to provide ongoing support and guidance. Additionally, the coaching style may not be effective for employees who prefer a more hands-off approach.

Charismatic Management Style

The charismatic style of management relies on a leader’s personality and energy to inspire, engage, and motivate employees. Managers with this style possess contagious personalities, easily make connections with others, and capture attention effortlessly.

They have the ability to convey information in a way that resonates with each team member and can uplift the mood of a whole room. The charismatic leader is skilled at delivering critical feedback in a manner that leaves employees feeling motivated and encouraged.

This style is appropriate to use in situations where inspiration and positivity are needed to drive team performance or during times of change and uncertainty. For example, a charismatic leader may rally the team around a challenging project, using their energy and enthusiasm to ignite passion and foster a positive attitude.

Also Read: The 14 Principles of Management

The pros of the charismatic style include inspiring and motivating employees, creating a positive team environment, and making employees feel valued and liked. However, a potential con is that it can be challenging to sustain high levels of charisma, and relying solely on charisma may overlook practical considerations or result in a superficial approach to problem-solving.

Transactional Style of Management

The transactional style of management operates on a system of rewards and incentives to motivate employees. Managers who adopt this style set clear expectations and goals, and employees are rewarded when they meet specific milestones or objectives.

This approach relies on a structured exchange between the manager and the employee, where performance is closely monitored and rewards are given in return for the successful completion of tasks.

The transactional style is appropriate to use in situations where employees are motivated by tangible rewards and have well-defined roles and responsibilities. For example, sales teams often thrive under transactional management, as they are driven by commission-based incentives tied to meeting sales targets.

The pros of the transactional style include motivating competitive employees, setting clear expectations, and streamlining communication. However, it may be demotivating for employees who are not driven by extrinsic rewards, and it can create a transactional relationship that overlooks the holistic development and growth of employees.

Transformational Style of Management

The transformational style of management focuses on inspiring and motivating employees to reach their full potential and exceed their own expectations.

Managers who adopt this style are visionaries who communicate a compelling vision and purpose to their team members. They encourage creativity, innovation, and personal growth, and they lead by example, setting high standards for themselves and their team.

The transformational style is appropriate to use in situations where change, adaptability, and growth are crucial, such as in rapidly evolving industries or during organizational transformations.

For example, a CEO who inspires and motivates employees by sharing a bold vision for the company’s future and empowering them to contribute their ideas and talents.

The pros of the transformational style include fostering employee engagement, enhancing creativity and innovation, and developing strong team bonds. However, it can be challenging for managers to balance big-picture thinking with day-to-day tasks, and not all employees may be receptive to constant change and pushing beyond their comfort zones.

Situational Style of Management

The situational style of management is characterized by adapting one’s leadership approach to fit the specific needs of the situation and the individuals involved. It recognizes that different circumstances require different leadership styles, and effective managers are able to flexibly adjust their approach to meet the demands of the situation.

This style is appropriate to use in diverse teams or complex projects where different tasks or team members require varying degrees of guidance and support. For example, a project manager may use a more directive style when working with inexperienced team members and a more participative style when collaborating with experienced and skilled individuals.

The pros of the situational style include increased adaptability, improved team performance, and better alignment between leadership and the needs of the situation. However, it can be challenging to determine the most appropriate style for each situation, and inconsistency in leadership approach may lead to confusion among team members.

Also Read: Esprit De Corps Principle: Definition and Benefits

Consultative Management Style

The consultative style of management is characterized by seeking input and feedback from team members before making decisions. It involves valuing the opinions and expertise of employees and considering their viewpoints in the decision-making process.

This style is appropriate to use when you want to foster employee engagement, promote collaboration, and leverage diverse perspectives and knowledge within your team. For example, a manager may gather input from team members during a project planning phase to ensure that all relevant insights are considered.

The pros of the consultative style include improved team morale, increased buy-in and commitment, and the promotion of creativity and innovative problem-solving. However, it can be time-consuming and may result in the need for managers to address potential dissatisfaction if the final decision does not align with the majority’s opinions.

Visionary Management Style

The visionary style of management is characterized by leaders who have a clear and inspiring vision for the future of the company or team. They communicate this vision to their employees and motivate them to work towards it.

This style is appropriate to use when a strong sense of direction is needed, and when leaders want to inspire and engage their employees. For example, a CEO who envisions transforming their company into a global leader in sustainability may inspire employees to develop innovative and environmentally friendly products.

The pros of the visionary style include creating a shared sense of purpose, fostering employee motivation and satisfaction, and promoting innovation. However, it can be challenging if the vision is not effectively communicated or if employees are not genuinely inspired, leading to a lack of performance and progress.

Also Read: Lower-Level-Management

How To Choose Appropriate Management Style?

Choosing the appropriate management style is crucial for effective leadership. Here are five points to consider when you make that decision:

Assess the Team

Understand the dynamics, skills, and preferences of your team members. Consider their experience levels, work styles, and their need for guidance or autonomy. This assessment will help you tailor the management style to best support their needs and maximize their potential.

Evaluate the Situation

Analyze the project or task at hand. Is it a routine operation, a complex problem-solving endeavor, or a creative innovation initiative? Different situations call for different management styles.

For example, a bureaucratic approach may be suitable for ensuring consistency and compliance, while a democratic style may be better for fostering innovation and collaboration.

Consider the Organizational Culture

Take into account the existing values, norms, and practices within your organization. Aligning your management style with the prevailing culture can promote better integration and acceptance among employees.

Also Read: Equity Principle of Management: Definition and Benefits

Focus on Communication

Effective communication is essential in any management style. Consider how you prefer to give and receive information, provide feedback, and encourage open dialogue. Choose a style that allows for clear and consistent communication with your team.

Be Adaptable

Recognize that the most effective managers are adaptable and can adjust their style based on changing circumstances. Flexibility enables you to tailor your approach as the team evolves, new challenges arise, or different individuals join the team.

Which Management Style is Best?

The best management style depends on the specific context, team dynamics, and organizational goals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

However, a situational management style is often considered effective because it allows leaders to adapt their approach based on the needs of the situation and the individuals involved. It enables managers to flexibly use different styles, such as autocratic, democratic, coaching, or visionary, depending on the circumstances.

This approach promotes flexibility, fosters employee engagement, and aligns leadership with the specific needs of the team and project. By considering the unique requirements of each situation, managers can effectively utilize different management styles to maximize team performance, promote collaboration, and drive organizational success.

Read Next: Management As A Profession

Management Styles: FAQs

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about styles of management.

What is Management Style?

Management style is the behavior and approach managers show while leading and managing their teams or organizations.

What are the Five Styles of Management?

Five styles of management include – autocratic, democratic, visionary, coaching, and servant management style.

Which is the Best Management Style?

It depends upon the situations and abilities of managers. However, the situational management style is considered best as it provides more flexibility to execute tasks.

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