8 Most Effective Management Styles

“New research suggests that the most effective executives use a collection of distinct leadership styles each in the right measure, at just the right time. Such flexibility is tough to put into action, but it pays off in performance. And better yet, it can be learned.”

That’s what Daniel Goleman says in his book “Leadership That Gets Results”. In this article, we’ll discuss what these management styles are all about and how you can use them to become the star manager at your organization.

1. Democratic Management Style

As the name suggests, a manager with democratic management style is all about “what do YOU think?” The manager involves his subordinates in decision-making and takes their opinion into consideration. This type of management facilitates communication, collaboration, and participation.

Democratic management style is suitable for those business environments where the team members are competent but not very motivated. Giving employees a chance to share their opinions can help boost morale, confidence, and ultimately productivity.

This management style is suitable when your team consists of capable employees who can provide valuable insights or when you need the consensus of your employees in order to implement a particular strategy.

Democratic management style is not suitable when you need to get something done quickly as it’s time-consuming.

2. Coaching Management Style

This is the style where the manager acts as a coach to his employees, teaching them new skills and improving their existing skills. Sometimes the employees don’t need directions, sometimes employees need counsel and this is when this management style shines. Though this style isn’t as common as others, it’s still important.

Coaching management style helps to create an internal pool of talent that can be used to handle large projects. Promoting competent employees is always less expensive and easier than hiring new employees.

3. Affiliative Management Style

The affiliative manager believes that the employees come first. They focus on keeping the team happy and consider themselves a part of the team and not one step above it. Affiliative managers use the power of emotional bonds to solve conflicts, rebuild trust, and bring together the team during stressful times.

They are more flexible and can change the rules if it means the team will be happier. If the need be, they will ignore or completely remove structures that limit the team’s ability to act as a group (for instance, strict formal communication channels).  

4. Pacesetting Management Style

The motto of a pacesetting manager is “follow my instructions and follow them now”. The pacesetting manager sets high standards for his team based on his drive to achieve bigger and harder goals. This style of management works well only if the team is highly motivated. Otherwise, the employees might not be able to see the manager’s goals and consequently, fail to achieve.

The pacesetting management style pushes the envelope and thus should be used only when a big challenge needs to be tackled quickly and you have a competent team. Continuously setting very high standards can lead to a negative environment.

5. Authoritative Management Style

Contrary to popular belief, an authoritative manager is not a coercive or pacesetting manager – they’re actually quite different. The authoritative manager is one who has a grand vision for his team/organization. These individuals are highly motivated and confident. Using the authoritative management style, a manager can show his ultimate plan to his/her team and how they’re going to accomplish that plan, together.

This management style should be used when a big change is needed in the organization, and especially when the plans are ambitious and the team is not sure of the viability.

The motto of the authoritative management style is “come with me”. Popular examples of authoritative managers include Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.

6. Coercive Management Style

Every manager will at some point in their career come across an employee who gives them a hard time. This is when the manager needs to opt for the “do as I say or face the consequences” style. It’s not ideal, but it is a necessary evil. Though it might bring down the overall positivity, it can help turn around the company from a slump or a rough patch, granted the manager is motivated and has the drive to achieve.

7. Laissez-Faire Management Style

Some managers like to give their employees an absolute free reign to complete their tasks. The manager doesn’t control his/her employees or tell them what to do but does give feedback once the task has been completed. Many managers doubt this style but it’s quite common and effective.

Organizations like Google are popular for their 20% Time where every employee is allowed to use 20 percent of their time to work on projects other than the ones assigned by their boss. Employees are free to pursue anything. This approach has led to some stunning innovations like Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Slack, and many more.

Of course, it will only work if your workforce is competent and everyone knows what they need to do. The aim of choosing such a style is to promote creativity, responsibility, and accountability.

8. Persuasive Management Style

As a manager, you’ll always be in power, always in charge. But sometimes managers face problems that cannot be solved with brute force. For instance, a new rule may be implemented in the organization and now you risk losing a part of your workforce. In such scenarios, the manager must use the persuasive management style in order to convey the benefits or the reasoning behind such as a decision to the employees.

This style of management can help keep peace and harmony in the workforce while also achieving organizational goals.

Choosing A Management Style for Effective Leadership

In order to effectively manage the workforce, a manager must switch from one style to another and with ease. No employee wants a strict boss who won’t ever listen to suggestions or a boss who’s so laid back that he won’t do anything on their own. The perfect balance is achieved when the manager is able to understand the work environment, what it’s lacking and what it needs to choose a management style that will help achieve goals in the most effective way possible.

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