All businesses aim to be successful and profitable in their endeavors. Organizations give a great deal of importance to hiring the right set of employees and then make consistent efforts in training, engaging, and motivating them. 

However, all these steps are incomplete without having the right managers. Managers are the guiding light for employees because they set the direction and are a source of inspiration and motivation for them. Their management style is equally important because they determine how the employees will perform in the long run and whether they will stay with the organization. 

This article will familiarize you with the different types of management styles along with their pros and cons. By the end, you will be better able to figure out if the management style will fit your organization. But first, what is a management style?

What Is a Management Style?

A management style is a way a manager organizes, plans, delegates work, make decisions, and manages employees to fulfill their goals. 

A management style speaks volumes of how managers make use of their authority. Management styles vary depending upon the industry, the manager, level of management required, nationality, and an organization’s culture. 

External and internal factors affect management styles. Let’s look at the internal factors first:

  • Company culture 
  • Skillset of employees 
  • Policies and procedures of a company 
  • Employee engagement 

Moving on, some of the external factors are:

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

Management styles call for flexibility. An efficient manager is someone who has the ability to adjust their management styles according to their environment. 

Types of Management Styles

An effective management style paves way for effective leadership. For you to be able to transport your management skills and business to the next level, you should be familiar with the different types of leadership styles. 

Here is a list of different management styles that may suit your business. 

Management styles have three broad categories: autocratic, laissez-faire, democratic. 

 Within each of these categories is a subtype with its own set of pros and cons. 

Autocratic Management Styles 

Following a top-down approach, this style of management is one-way communication between the manager and employees. 

This is the most controlling of all management styles where managers take most of the decisions. Managers monitor employees closely and do not encourage them to share ideas about the overall process. 

The autocratic management style is further divided into 3 subsets: authoritative, persuasive, and paternalistic. 

Authoritative Management Style 

As authoritative as it sounds, this management style rests all the power in the hands of managers. They take all the important decisions and don’t involve subordinates in the process. 

Managers dictate tasks to their subordinates who follow them without questioning authority or suggesting any changes. 

This management style allows managers to micromanage employees and monitor their performance and progress closely. This is because managers believe that giving autonomy will deter the subordinates from working efficiently. 

This style is most applicable in times of organizational crisis. 

However aggressive it may be, there are some pros and cons. 

Pros of the authoritative autocratic:

  • Sets well-defined roles and expectations for employees
  • Allows for quick decision making 
  • Subordinate are hyper-productive 

Cons of the authoritative autocratic:

  • Employees’ creativity, passion, and zeal to think out of the box is curbed 
  • Creates an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality because subordinates aren’t given autonomy and are treated like drones
  • This leads to employee dissatisfaction which further gives rise to employee disengagement, high turnover, and increased absenteeism

Persuasive Management Style 

Unlike the authoritative style, the persuasive management style includes employees in the decision-making process but not completely. Managers use their persuasive skills to convince employees that whatever the manager decides is in the best interest of the employees and the organization. 

Unlike the authoritative style, this management style makes employees believe that their opinions and beliefs are valued. Subordinates feel happy that they are trusted by their managers. 

However, this should be used when the manager has more expertise in the subject matter than the team,

Should you deploy this style in your business? Let’s have a look at its pros and cons. 

Pros of the authoritative persuasive:

  • Employees willingly accept the decisions passed by the managers because a certain level of trust and confidence exists between the two parties
  • Lower levels of resentment between employees and managers make employees happy and satisfied to continue working 

Cons of the authoritative persuasive:

  • Employees still have to operate under restrictions, don’t have complete autonomy and are still micromanaged which may lead to frustration

Paternalistic Management Style 

In this case, managers consider employees as family and expect loyalty and trust from them. Although unilateral decision-making still prevails, managers ensure that they explain the logic and reasoning to the employees. However, the employees are still not autonomous and cannot question or collaborate with management. 

The pros and cons listed below will help you decide if this is the management style for you.

Pros of the authoritative paternalistic:

  • A paternalistic manager works in the best interest of employees
  • Managers invest in upscaling employee skill sets as a consequence of which employees are more productive

Cons of the authoritative paternalistic:

  • Employees lack in problem-solution and innovation because they become too dependent on the management over time 
  • Employees may still find this management style a little condescending 

Democratic Management Styles

Unlike authoritative, this style encourages two-way communication. Employees are encouraged to give opinions, share ideas and beliefs when making a decision. However, the power to make the final decision rests in the hands of the manager. 

This management style is further categorized into five subtypes. 

Consultative Management Style 

In this style, managers consult the viewpoints, opinions, and ideas of employees before making the final decision. Managers ensure that all the information shared by employees is fully taken into consideration and is not disregarded. 

This management style is used when employees have more knowledge on the subject than the manager. 

This style usually works in specialized fields where the input by employees and staff holds immense value. 

Pros of the democratic consultative:

  • Increase in team cohesiveness 
  • Managers learn and grow with the two way communication process 
  • Employees learn problem-solving, as dependence on the management is far less

Cons of the democratic consultative:

  • Decision making takes long as consulting staff and employees consumes time 
  • Managers can easily be bogged down if not skilled in collaborative decision making 
  • Any sort of favoritism from the manager for any one employee can create a lot of resentment in the team 

Participative Management Style

This style of management allows employees to actively participate in the decision-making process. Employees have access to company information and goals and are encouraged to propose innovative solutions. 

This style should be used when a business is going through some grand change and consulting employees can add value to the decision-making. 

Pros of the democratic participative:

  • Because employees have a better idea about a company’s goals, they display higher productivity and motivation
  • Employee engagement increases and their ability to come up with creative and innovative solutions increases

Cons of the democratic participative:

  • Since there is more employee involvement, the decision making becomes slower
  • In decision making where giving complete access to information to employees is mandatory, the risk of security lapses increases 

Collaborative Management Style

This kind of management style creates an open forum where all employees brainstorm ideas and hold discussions with the majority ruling in the decision-making. This style has more pros than cons as mentioned below. 

When a business is seeking to increase innovation and employee engagement, this style of management comes into play. 

Management styles are important for effective leadership.

Pros of the democratic consultative:

  • Employees are empowered to take ownership which can increase creativity, innovation, and collaboration
  • Since there is open communication between managers and employees, there are fewer chances of conflict or miscommunication taking place
  • Employee engagement increases and turnover reduces 
  • Employees are encouraged to actively participate  which lets them engage across teams instead of working in silos

Cons of the democratic consultative:

  • The majority rule may not always work in the best interest of the business. In that case, the manager may not want to go with the same decision which may not be received well by employees. 
  • Like other democratic leadership styles, the decision-making process can consume a lot of time

Transformational Management Style

Focused on growth, this style pushes employees to accept challenges and take leaps to accomplish greater things. Employers inspire employees to step out of their comfort zone and reach new heights. 

This management style is more evident in fast-paced industries where employees are required to be more agile and flexible. 

Pros of the democratic transformational:

  • Managers and employees work together and thereby contribute to each other’s learning curve
  • Employees become more flexible owing to their increased contribution in problem-solving 

Cons of the democratic transformational:

  • If employees are forced to take up challenges beyond a limit then it may cause burnout

Coaching Management Style

Here, managers act as coaches to employees, mentoring and guiding them for personal and professional development. In this style, managers encourage employees to acquire new skills to be able to grow in the organization. 

If you have a business that operates in a competitive environment, hiring and promoting internal talent will work wonders. This is where the management style will come into play. 

Pros of democratic coaching:

  • A strong bond between manager and employees inspire employees to put on their best performance
  • Employees feel valued and are more likely to stay engaged 

Cons of the democratic coaching:

  • Because the focus is more on long term development, there is a probability of short term projects taking the back seat

Laissez-faire Management Styles

In this leadership style, employees have the full autonomy to do their work as and when they like. The management takes a back seat and is only present when delegating tasks or when someone requires assistance. 

There are two subtypes of this management style. 

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Delegative Management Style

In this case, the manager delegates tasks to employees and gives them the freedom to work at their own convenience. The manager only steps in to review the work and suggest changes. 

This style works best in decentralized organizations where the team is more skilled than the manager. 

Management styles are important for effective leadership.

Pros of the laissez- faire delegative:

  • This style of leadership fosters creativity and innovation as employees feel empowered 
  • Employees satisfaction increases
  • Teamwork and cohesion increases because employees are given independence  

Cons of the laissez- faire delegative:

  • In the absence of leadership, teams may lack focus and direction
  • The employees may feel that the management’s contribution has decreased which may lead to conflicts and resentment 

Visionary Management Style

In this style, managers lead by sharing their vision with employees. Employees formulate their workflow as per their wishes with minimal interference. 

Best suited for companies that are looking to breakthrough industries. Or come up with innovations never known to the world before. 

Pros of the laissez- faire visionary:

  • Employees are wok with higher motivation and engagement 
  • Subordinates try their best to deliver the best results because they feel valued
  • innovation and problem solving become rampant 

Cons of the laissez- faire visionary:

  • Just sharing the vision will not do the job. Managers have to ensure that employees take true inspiration to give their best. If this is not the case, then work will suffer. 

Influence of Culture and Values on Leadership and Management Styles

A company’s culture impacts leadership and management styles significantly. There are two aspects that a company’s culture influences. Let’s have a look at each of these individually. 


Risk-averse organizations have managers and executives who are very meticulous about their goals. They make calculated decisions and think through a problem thoroughly before many any decision. Such managers minimize risk and pass that culture to their employees and subordinates. 

With a risk-averse culture, employees and managers are constantly learn, grow and improve. 

On the other hand, some cultures are more flexible and prefer taking risks. Managers in such cultures do not mind ambiguity and uncertainty. They are more inspired by the unknown and pass this motivation to their subordinates. 


Communication is the key to success in any business. But does it have to be verbal or non-verbal? Well, some companies give more weightage to non-verbal than actual spoken words. Managers in such cultures expect their employees to understand the nonverbal cues such as body language to understand the actual message. Such cultures don’t value words nor do they use many words. Instead, assign more weight to the emotional quality and relationship of the parties. 

However, some cultures operate oppositely. They prefer spoken words over non-verbal communication and communicate in words either spoken or written. In this case, it is the sender who is responsible to get the message out with clarity. If the receiver is unable to understand, the sender is responsible to ensure clarity and eliminate confusion. 

How to Adapt Management Styles in Different Situations?

A leader, however great an all-rounder has to adapt according to situations. A few steps that can help a leader adapt their management styles are:

Identify the Need

If you are someone who follows a collaborative style of leadership but senses a change in the environment, you may want to give it a thought. You should study the situation carefully before making any change to your style. You also wouldn’t want to exhibit rigidity when it comes to changing your style as it may not yield the desired results. 

Change Your Mindset 

People resent change especially when they have been following a certain practice or style for a long. However, one has to despite the reservations. It is advisable to get rid of preconceived ideas and notions and pave way for new, dynamic ideas. 

Select the Most Appropriate Style 

This can be tricky. However, you can consider a few questions before making a choice:

  • Which management style suits the situation best?
  • Will this style achieve the desired result?
  • What and who will it impact the most?

How to Improve Your Management Style?

Your management style is dependent on your goals, the business, and the employees involved. There is no one perfect style that will suit you the best. You will have to use a combination of styles to yield the desired outcome. 

What style you choose depends on your traits, temperament, and the kind of employees that work under you. This is because a management style that is incompatible with your personality and the situation will not even produce half of the desired results. 

It is advisable to keep improving and evolving your leadership style to be an effective leader. 

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