Types of management styles: Could change in style create more revenue?

Studies have revealed that poor management could be costing organizations a staggering $8.1 trillion globally. Management can have an impact on staff turnover (employees ‘firing’ their boss), engagement and productivity. And all of these factors could be costing your organization.

Here, we’ll outline a range of management styles, so you can support your managers and leaders to be the best they can be. After all, what works for one won’t always work for the other.

What is a management style?

A management style is the philosophy behind everything a manager does. It influences how they make decisions, how they look after the people in their team and how they fit into your organization.

This style can vary due to a number of reasons, from the company they work for, to the kind of work they do, as well as the personality of the manager themselves.

A successful manager is one that will adapt their style, depending on the people in their team and the task at hand. And they’ll do so in a way that’s still in line with the organization’s values and goals.


What are the factors that affect management styles?

There are many factors that affect someone’s style of management, but most can be split into two categories – internal and external.

Internal factors

  • Culture
  • Policies
  • Priorities
  • Employee engagement
  • Employee skill levels

External factors

  • Employment laws
  • The economy
  • Competitors
  • Suppliers
  • Consumers

What are the different types of management styles?

Management styles can be placed into three categories- autocraticdemocratic and laissez faire.

There are several types of management within each category, and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.


Autocratic management styles

Autocratic management styles are dictatorial approaches to management. They’ll usually follow a hierarchical structure, giving absolute power to those in higher positions.

In an autocratic environment, employees are given very strict working guidelines, and are closely supervised.

There is very little room for creative freedom. Employees aren’t always encouraged to give their thoughts on the tasks they are given, instead expected to complete them to the management’s liking.

The autocratic styles are:

  1. Authoritative
  2. Persuasive
  3. Paternalistic


1. Authoritative management style

The authoritative management style will typically mean a manager gives their team instructions and will expect them to be followed to the letter. Teams will generally be monitored quite closely and failure to meet expectations could result in consequences for the team member.


  • Keeps your organization quite streamline
  • Everyone clearly understands their role and expectations
  • Quick and effective decision making
  • Can be effective when managing a large or low-skill workforce


  • Employees can become frustrated with the lack of autonomy
  • Can sometimes cause friction between teams and leaders
  • Restricting employee creativity could get in the way of innovation – making processes and policies inefficient or outdated

2. Persuasive management style

Rather than simply issuing orders in the autoritative style, a persuasive manager provides reasoning behind their instructions.

This style allows your employees to feel somewhat more involved in the decision making process, and a more trusted part of the company.


  • Improves the relationship between manager and employee
  • Employees will generally be more engaged with decisions
  • Less pressurized


  • While employees may have more understanding behind the decisions, they still have little control or input on how things are done

3. Paternalistic management style

Paternalistic managers will prioritize their team members when making decisions. You’ll often hear paternalistic managers as describing their teams as a ‘family’. However, as this is still an autocratic management style, team members will have little to no final say in decision making from management.


  • Prioritizing team members often puts emphasis on upskilling, leading to a more skilled and content workforce


  • Employees may become heavily reliant on the management staff
  • Could lead to a lack of initiative and problem solving causing a struggle to take initiative and solve problems
  • May be seen as patronizing by the employees and cause friction between the managers and their staff

Democratic management styles

In a democratic management style the manager still holds all the decision making power. However, the level of communication within the hierarchy is greatly increased, with employees encouraged to give their opinions on what should be done.

This diversifies the decision making process, leaving greater room for innovation.

The democratic styles are:

  1. Consultative
  2. Participative
  3. Collaborative
  4. Transformational
  5. Coaching

1. Consultative management style

Consultative managers make sure to consult every member of their team before coming to a decision. Whilst the staff are encouraged to give their thoughts, it’s purely an advisory role, with the decision ultimately being that of the managers.

This style is useful when the workforce is highly skilled in a particular area of work.


  • Problem solving is improved through a greater wealth of opinions
  • Stronger bonds between managers and team members
  • Opportunities to share knowledge and expertise


  • The consultation process can be time-consuming and laborious
  • Team members may begin to lose faith in their manager, with constant reliance on their help
  • The manager may fall into favoring one person’s opinion which can lead to frustration

2. Participative management style

Decision making power is shared amongst the workforce, with both manager and team member working together.

Employees are given greater insight into company goals so they can form educated opinions. The manager will actively seek out and consult each employee on what they think is the right move.


  • Employees feel they are trusted and valued members of the company
  • Higher levels of engagement and loyalty
  • Greater understanding of company goals


  • Consulting everyone in the team can bevery time consuming
  • Higher levels of access for employees also increases the risk of sensitive data being leaked
  • Employees who are not as outspoken as others can go unheard, or feel uncomfortable with the process

3. Collaborative management style

Managers and team members will openly discuss decisions and the conclusion is left to a majority rule. This style empowers employees by giving them responsibility and a say in how the organization will run.


  • Teams feel trusted and valued by the company
  • The increased level of responsibility can inspire them to give their all, maximizing productivity and creativity
  • This process is extremely effective in dealing with workplace conflicts, as open discussion solves underlying issues before they become a problem
  • The high levels of engagement can lead to increased levels of employee retention


  • This management style is, again, very time consuming
  • A majority to rule does not always lead to the correct decision for the company. However, if this decision is overturned, you face angering the majority of your employees

4. Transformational management style

This style places heavy emphasis on the growth of employees. The manager will try to push staff out of their comfort zones, and take on a motivational role.

They will work alongside the employees as a role-model, inspiring staff through their own work ethic.


  • This leads to a skilled and prepared workforce, primed for problem solving and innovation
  • Productivity levels can be greatly increased


  • The constant pushing of staff can cause them to burn out, leading to decreased productivity and quality of work

5. Coaching management style

Here, the manager takes on the role of the coach.

The pace is not as frantic, with the manager favoring long term success over the short term wins. This means prioritizing employee development through learning and upskilling, with the manager being the guide throughout the process.


  • Staff feel someone is investing in their development and their future
  • The bond between employee and manager is very strong, leading to increased productivity.


  • Focusing on the long term can impact the short term prospects of the company

Laissez faire management styles

These management styles place a high level of trust on the employees, with the manager leaving the staff to control their own work.

This hands-off approach gives team members a lot of freedom, with the management only getting involved at the beginning and end of the process, or when their assistance is requested.

This approach is most favorable when the staff are experts within their field.

Laissez faire management styles are:

  1. Delegative
  2. Visionary

1. Delegative management style

Managers will generally only be involved at the beginning and end of the process.

In the beginning, they’ll outline all the tasks and assign them to particular team members. Staff are then free to complete the tasks how they see fit. At the end of the process, the manager will step in to check that the work has been completed to a satisfactory level, and advise on how to improve going forward.


  • This style leaves a lot of room for innovation and creativity
  • Teamwork is improved, as well as the ability to solve problems as a unit
  • This level of freedom can lead to happier employees, increasing engagement and retention


  • The absence of leadership could lead to a lack of direction and focus
  • Conflicts that are left unmanaged can bubble up to the surface, creating a poor working environment
  • Staff may feel that whilst they are hard at work, the manager has their feet up. This can cause problems in the manager-employee relationship

2. Visionary management style

Managers take teams on a deep dive into the company’s vision, hoping to use it as a source of inspiration for their work.

The manager takes on the role of motivator, and team members are free to work as they please. The manager trusts individuals to complete their tasks and help move the needle forward towards the company vision.

The manager advises through constructive feedback, and is sure to heap praise on those that do well.


  • Being aware of the company vision gives your teams’ work greater purpose
  • This style creates a breeding ground for innovation and creativity


  • Being inspirational is far easier said than done, and might not come naturally to some managers

Making sure you get the right manager

Picking the right manager is vital. It’s therefore important to have the tools to discern a candidate’s management style in an interview.

The management recruitment process is notoriously tricky, with Gallup estimating that 82% of the time the process yields the wrong candidate1.

The same study outlines how great an impact a manager has upon their subordinates levels of engagement, productivity and retention.

Here are some interview question examples you may wish to use to help your search!

Example questions

A. They should know exactly what they have to do, how they should do it and when they should do it.

B. They should feel a valued cog of a larger machine, whose opinion is encouraged and heard.

C. They should feel trusted by management who have confidence in their ability, and who give them the freedom to be innovative.

Answer A indicates autocratic, B is democratic and C is laissez faire.

A. I will split the project into tasks, decide how best to approach them before assigning them to staff. I will then supervise to ensure they carry the plan out successfully.

B. I will give my team all the information they need and then let them decide how best to proceed with their work.

C. I will give the team all the information they need and then take suggestions on how best to proceed. We will then vote before going with the majority.

Answer A indicates autocratic, B is laissez faire and C is democratic.

A. I will show my team the company vision, and they will be motivated by knowing their work is part of something bigger.

B. My close supervision will motivate my team, as well as the knowledge that should they underperform they will face an appropriate punishment.

C. My team will be motivated by myself, and the exemplary work ethic I put forward.

Answer A indicates laissez faire, B is autocratic and C is democratic.

A. Cooperative

B. Obedient

C. Creative

Answer A indicates democratic, B is autocratic and C is laissez faire.

A. Undisciplined

B. Unskilled

C. Disconnected

Answer A indicates autocratic, B is laissez faire and C is democratic.

This guide has hopefully given you the tools to go and find the manager that best meets the needs of your employees, and ensures that your company smashes your goals for 2024!

For all things upskilling or reskilling your workforce, ready for their next management opportunity, speak to one of our Attensi team today.

Are you ready to level up your training?

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  1. Why Great Managers Are So Rare,