Management Styles

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There is no single management style that fits every situation. However, there are some of the  management styles that tend to dominate the workplace:

  • Autocratic or Authoritarian
  • Participative or Democratic
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Transactional Leadership
  • Management by Facts
  • Coaching
  • Contingency Approach

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these different approaches will allow you to choose the best approach for your team.


Authoritarian Style

This is the most common management style in organizations today. It involves giving orders and expecting people to follow them without question. This style is very rigid and inflexible. The leader sets goals and expects everyone else to meet those goals. If they don't, then they may punish the person. Authoritarians believe that obedience is a virtue. They expect their employees to be self-disciplined and responsible for their actions. The problem with this type of management is that it can lead to low morale among the workers.

  • Decision-making power is concentrated in the manager.
  • The manager does not ask for any suggestions or opinions from employees.
  • Decision-making is fast but does not help build faith/relationships with employees.
  • This "might" work well:
  • In case of a crisis
  • When employees are low skilled (not all agree with this statement)


Participative Style

In participative management, the goal is not just to make sure that goals are met; it's also to get input from all organization members. People are encouraged to share ideas and opinions. In addition, they are expected to listen carefully to others' suggestions. The participative style promotes teamwork and cooperation.

  • The manager shares the decision-making power with employees
  • Employees feel empowered.
  • During transition or challenging times, this approach can help engage all employees towards a common objective.
  • One example of the participative style is Management by Walking Around (MBWA).


Transformational Style

Transformational leaders inspire followers through vision and values. Transformational leadership is based on the idea that people need to know what they stand for before working effectively together. Transformational leaders encourage followers to develop their potential. Transformational leaders are interested in others' development as much as their own. Leaders who use transformational techniques focus on helping individuals grow personally, becoming more effective at working together.

  • Leaders work with employees to create and share an inspiring vision with them.
  • Inspires and motivates to achieve a higher level of performance.
  • Challenges followers to take bigger roles to achieve the common goal.
  • Leaders set high expectations for performance.
  • Transformational leadership takes time to build trust between the leader and staff.


Transactional Leadership

Transactional managers focus on getting results. Transactional leaders are concerned only about how tasks are performed. They do not care about why things are done. A transactional leader doesn't have time to spend on relationships because they must keep focused on ensuring that everything gets done. Transactional leaders focus on efficiency rather than effectiveness.

  • Unlike Transformational Leaders, Transactional Leaders are interested in maintaining the status quo.
  • They achieve it through rewards and punishment systems.
  • Managers hold people accountable for the results they produce.
  • Results are important to the leader.


Management by Facts

Managers use facts to control the situation. Managers using this style use facts like statistics, numbers, information, etc., to make decisions. When using this style, the manager focuses on data. They use this data to predict future events.

  • The manager communicates in terms of facts.
  • The manager uses numbers to support their decisions.
  • The manager does not deal with emotions.
  • Decisions taken by managers are not based on "That is the way we do it here," "gut feeling," or the person with the loudest voice.
  • Performance measurements include:
    • Customer satisfaction performance
    • Product, and process performance
    • Competitive performance
    • Supplier, workforce, partner performance
    • Cost and financial performance
    • Governance and compliance outcomes


 Coaching Style

Coach leaders help others improve their skills and abilities. Coaches focus on assisting people to reach their full potential. Coaches motivate others to perform better by giving positive feedback and encouraging effort. Coaches provide clear direction and goals. The coach makes suggestions but leaves the final decision up to the individual.

  • Hierarchy and command control is replaced with collaboration
  • Management help employees grow
  • The focus is on long-term success. It is acceptable to have short-term failures.
  • A leader who uses coaching techniques helps others learn new ways of doing things.
  • Leaders help people understand themselves.
  • Encourages followers to think critically and creatively.
  • Provides guidance and encouragement.


Contingency Approach

Contingent management involves responding quickly to changing conditions. Contingent leaders rely heavily on information and the current situation instead of intuition.

  • This style requires flexibility and adaptability.
  • Also known as situational approach
  • There is no single best style. The most appropriate management style depends upon the situation.


Avoid Authoritarian and Transactional Leadership

When selecting a leadership style for you, I suggest avoiding authoritarian and transactional leadership. These two styles might produce quick short-term results, but these could be detrimental to the organization's long-term success.

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