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Will Your Management Style Lead to Success?

Published on: August 9, 2021

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People with natural leadership skills will have an inherent management style, but will that management style lead to success or failure? Certain business types and corporate settings require particular management styles. Whether you plan on going into management or starting a business, you will have conflict at some point in your career. Your management style will enable you to deal with that conflict and how you and your team resolve it. You must be able to adjust your management style to your environment, which can change depending on where you work and the employees you manage.

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What Is a Management Style?

In short, a management style is how a manager makes decisions, manages staff, organizes, plans and delegates. Management styles can vary widely, depending on laws, company regulations, and the personality of the manager. Effective managers are able to adjust their management style as needed, whether to match an employee's personality, accept new laws and/or regulations, create an effective team, or react to changes to the economy, suppliers, competitors, consumers and more.

Why People Use Different Management Styles

Working with people, especially a larger group of people, means working with many different personalities. Some people react favorably to certain management styles, while others do not. Good managers learn to adjust their management styles to minimize conflict and exhibit next-level leadership qualities within the purview of the company's rules and regulations, as well as local, state and federal laws. Good managers must constantly evaluate internal and external factors and change their management style based on their current assessment.

Adapting Management and Leadership Styles in Different Situations

According to Gallup, companies find good managers only 18 percent of the time. That means that 82 percent of managers do not have the skills to be an effective manager. A good manager should be:

  • Motivational
  • Assertive
  • Accountable
  • Transparent
  • Make decisions based on productivity, not politics

While it is difficult to find a manager with all five qualities, leadership has a better chance of doing this by promoting the hidden talent in their teams rather than promoting someone who is good at his or her current position. While leadership should take into consideration job performance and knowledge, it should also look for the above qualities when promoting someone to management.

A person with the above-listed qualities can adapt management styles to different situations. Some employees might need additional guidance, while others have more confidence and take the initiative in their jobs.

Adjusting your management style to fit multiple personality types can boost productivity and increases profit for the business. Bad and “so-so” managers often inflict their negativity onto a team, causing productivity issues, low motivation (with staff doing just enough to get by), and introducing rifts to the team, often through company politics.

Adapting management styles based on your team's behavior and personalities allows you to manage your team better, increase motivation, and decrease conflict and other negative qualities. Managers can adapt their management styles by noticing internal and external factors, including the personality of each team member, knowing how to motivate each team member within company regulations and governmental laws, and knowing and minimizing which actions by management and team members are likely to lead to employee conflict.

Influence of Culture and Values on Management and Leadership Styles

Both culture and values affect a person's management style. Most people do not even realize the impact cultural norms have on their management skills and how their team reacts to them.

In addition to cultural norms brought to the job, the workplace has an internal culture based on eight factors: caring, purpose, learning, enjoyment, results, authority, safety and order.

Managers can mold culture and values to create a better work environment and increase profitability. For example, if the team is caring, the manager should also exhibit empathy. If the team is safety-oriented, the manager should adjust his or her management style to reflect planning, preparedness and caution.

If a team has too much empathy, it could affect how the team does its job, as they might be too worried about what offends another team member; or if a manager is focused on safety, the rest of her team will also adopt a safety culture.

Eight Modern Management Styles and Examples

A manager has several management styles to emulate and incorporate. With knowledge of each type of management style, the manager can adjust styles based on input from the team, company cultures and values, and external factions.

  1. Autocratic Management Style

The most popular management style, the autocratic management style, is also the least effective. Bosses tell employees what to do and do not take suggestions from their teams. Your boss tells you it's his way or the highway. The bosses treat the employees as a number and micromanage them, ensuring that they follow every rule.

Advantage: The autocratic management style is great for large groups and unskilled workers who need more supervision than employees who know what to expect.

Disadvantage: This management style leaves little room to evolve for the better, and employees cannot propose ideas to improve the company.

The authoritative management style is most effective when you need your decisions to be executed quickly, such as in times of crisis.

  1. Persuasive Management Style

A form of the autocratic management style, the persuasive style can be seen by some as bullying. Managers persuade and cajole employees into implementing decisions. While giving the impression of taking suggestions from employees, the manager will accept suggestions but then "explain" the rationale behind his or her decisions, which may not be what the employees suggested.

Advantages: Employees have a better acceptance of top-down decisions, and many respond to reason and logic, especially those with less knowledge of the job.

Disadvantages: Employees could become frustrated because managers disregard employees’ solutions to issues, even after asking for that input.

The best time to use this management style is when you have a team with very little experience.

  1. Consultive Management Style

If your style is to ask for opinions from your team, then consider and implement their ideas, you have a consultive management style. You still make the final decision, but that decision is based on others’ input.

Advantages: The consultive management style is good for specialized circumstances, such as those on a transplant team where the input of doctors with different specialties must work together for the betterment of the patient. The style builds trust within your team and encourages problem-solving.

Disadvantages: Constantly consulting everyone on your team can be time consuming. Additionally, an unskilled manager can become overwhelmed. Finally, you might unintentionally give an appearance of favoritism if one employee has consistently better suggestions and you always use their ideas.

This style is best used when you need the specialized skills of team members for different issues. The consultive style also helps a manager who has less experience than the team as a whole.

  1. Collaborative Management Style

You can build engagement, creativity, and trust with the collaborative management style. Managers ask for and discuss ideas with their teams before making decisions. They also allow the staff to take ownership of their decisions.

Advantage: Your team feels trusted and is motivated to work together to find solutions. The team has a vested interest in the company. This method reduces conflicts and turnover.

Disadvantage: The collaborative management style is often time-consuming, and it is still important for the manager to ensure decisions made by the majority rule still fit within the company's goals and culture. 

The best time to use this management style is when the company is facing large changes and you need to engage your employees to increase motivation, accountability and trust.

  1. Coaching Management Style

The manager acts as a coach in this management style. The coaching manager works on the team's professional development over and above everything else. The coaching manager promotes workplace growth and learning.

Advantage: The manager has a strong bond with the employees, who are more likely to be engaged.

Disadvantage: The staff could compete for coveted roles, creating a toxic environment. Additionally, the focus on long-term development does not afford enough support for short-term projects.

The best time to use this style is when you need to develop talent to move up to a higher position. If your industry has a competitive job market, this would be a beneficial management style.

  1. Delegative Management Style

The manager only assigns tasks in this style. Once the manager assigns a task, the employees can complete the task however they want. The manager reviews the work after the employee finishes the task and might offer advice for improvement.

Advantage: Employees are more innovative and creative and develop better problem-solving skills. The employees also learn to work together as a team. Those who prefer autonomy at work thrive in this type of environment.

Disadvantage: Employees who are not used to working on their own are probably not as productive as they could be. If you don't have a natural team leader, the entire team could lack direction. Additionally, the employees could start to resent the manager, seeing them as not contributing to the outcome of a project yet taking the credit for it.

The best time to use the delegative management style is when the company has decentralized leadership and the team has a lot of knowledge and skill – often more than the manager.

  1. Visionary Management Style

A visionary management style ensures that the team works with the best interests of the company in mind. These managers usually do not get involved in daily details, but instead work with the team to keep it moving toward project completion. Visionary managers are outgoing, have a lot of charisma, and place a lot of trust in the team to sort out the project's finer points. Nelson Mandela is a good example of a visionary leader — he motivated people to free South Africa by getting them motivated about the end goal.

Advantage: The visionary management style encourages employees to be motivated in reaching the end goal and helps everyone stay on the same page.

Disadvantage: When the manager does not have some input as to the details of a project, problems and conflict could arise, especially with new team members who need more specific direction.

This management style is better when you have an experienced team that does not need supervision to get the job done.

  1. Transactional Management Style

This management style encourages employees to work efficiently by using bonuses, incentives and other rewards. Think Pavlov's dog — you do the work, you get a treat.

Advantage: This type of management style comes in handy when you have a job that no one wants to do. For example, if you are a lawyer with a new client who retained you for a complex business lawsuit three days before the statute of limitations runs out, you might reward your employees for working overtime to get the research done so you can draft and file the complaint on time.

Disadvantage: Some employees might find it unfair to compensate based on quantity of work due to varying levels of expertise and experience. This type of management style rarely, if ever, works for long-term projects.

With all of the above management styles, most people do not exemplify just one. Many leaders and managers use a combination of these styles depending on the team and company they work with.

What is Your Management Style?

You can determine what kind of natural management abilities you have by taking a management style assessment. We’ve gathered a few online assessments to easily learn more about yourself. These quizzes use different methods of determining your natural abilities, so it's better to take all three quizzes, if possible.

  1. MindTools LeadershipStyle Quiz. You can take this free quiz to learn more about your management styles.
  2. USC Management Style Quiz. This leadership quiz is free, but it does ask you for your email address to get the results.
  3. The Predictive Index. This management quiz is free, but it asks for your email at the end of the quiz.


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