Types of Management Styles for Effective Leadership


The business world is full of different management styles. We talk about participative, directive, persuasive management…etc.

A manager can enjoy all the different styles of management that he has the opportunity to experience throughout his career in a company, in order to optimize his commercial performance. Thus, to motivate his teams, a good manager must know how to be both directive and flexible. There must be a certain adaptation to the different situations and contexts to which he will be exposed, but especially to the individuals as such.

The right kind of management: a few questions beforehand

But before we begin, let’s take a moment to ponder these 5 questions:

  • What leadership style best fits you?
  • What management style works best in your industry?
  • What type of management style do your supervisors expect from you?
  • What practices best suit your team members?
  • What are your managers doing to individualize their workflows and workspaces?

Becoming or being a good manager in an innovative work environment requires a certain capacity of analysis and synthesis to be able to get the right information at the right time and to be able to make the most of it.

What is a management style?

Management style is a distinct approach taken by many managers to support and guide their teams in their work. In other words, management style is the way a manager does his or her job to achieve objectives. It is the way a good manager plans, organizes, makes decisions, delegates and manages his or her staff.

Management style can vary greatly depending on the company, the level of the hierarchy, the sector, the country and the culture, as well as the individual (communication preferences, personality type and work behavior).

Management styles are affected by internal and external factors.

Internal factors include:

  • The overall culture of the organization and company,
  • policies,
  • priorities,
  • employee commitment,
  • Staff skill levels.

In general, more skilled staff do not need as much supervision, while less skilled staff will need more oversight to consistently achieve their goals.

External factors include:

  • employment laws,
  • the economy
  • competitors,
  • suppliers,
  • consumers.

These are factors that are beyond the control of the organization, but will have an effect on managers and employees.

Types of management styles

There are different types of management. Some are directive, focused on results, others are more open, focused on the Human, the relational and the Collective Intelligence. But they can be classified in three main categories: Autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire.

Within these categories, there are specific subtypes of management styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Autocratic (or authoritarian) management styles

This type of management follows a vertical approach, with unilateral communication from supervisors to employees.

This is the type of management described as “controlling”, with management taking charge of all workplace decisions and holding total power.

Employees are seen and treated as drones, to be closely monitored to ensure that they perform their tasks within clearly defined perimeters.

Employees are not encouraged to ask questions, submit ideas or share their thoughts on process improvement, and in some cases are actively discouraged from doing so.

Subtypes of the autocratic management style are authoritarianism, persuasion and paternalism.

Directive management (authoritarian)

Also known as authoritarian management, this style of management is based on a mode that gives total or even maximum power to the manager.

The manager directs his or her teams in a strict manner by laying down the rules to be followed and by aiming for a specific objective: results.

The respect of the hierarchy is a primary axis. The employees of an authoritarian manager do not have the opportunity to express themselves and give their opinion. They are content to do what their manager asks them to do. Sanctions and rewards are the key to this type of management.


Although it is a somewhat traditional management style, this type of management has certain qualities such as

Accelerated decision making, increased efficiency and productivity (Taylorism).


It is undeniably the management style that causes the most discomfort at work, conflicts and other relational problems within the team, or even the entire company. Employees become disengaged and lose sight of their mission.

In addition, this system requires a multitude of procedures to monitor employee performance and the overall functioning of the company.

Persuasive management

This management style combines a strong involvement of the manager in the decision making process while keeping a human side. The manager’s teams must be mobilized. Employees are more involved in the life of the company. Their suggestions are taken into account, even if their superior retains the final decision-making power. This management style is less authoritarian than the previous one, but it remains relatively closed.


Authority and benevolence foster a sense of belonging, loyalty and cohesion. Employees feel less stressed than those managed with an authoritarian management style. Conflicts are less numerous and/or easier to manage.


This type of management is complex to implement. Not very open or even closed, this management style offers a relatively restricted space of freedom. Employees will find themselves irritated by the restrictions imposed on them, and will be frustrated at not being able to give their opinion.

Paternalistic management

Like the previous styles, paternalistic management is based on the unquestioned authority of the leader, who maintains a privileged relationship with his team.

Managers characterized by this management style play the role of a father, they look after the well-being of each of their employees. And in return they expect their teams to be unfailingly loyal.

As a general rule, this management technique can easily be associated with small companies, such as VSEs, SMEs or family businesses.

Paternalistic management relies on rewarding and punishing employees as a means of motivation, takes into account the well-being of employees at work and promotes internal communication between the manager and his employees.


Paternalistic management has the advantage of instilling a certain benevolence from the management towards its employees. The culture as well as the company values are strong. Employees have the impression of being a big family.


Despite its advantages, the paternalistic management style also has disadvantages, with a potentially diminished authority. Employees often play on the heartstrings, and try to step out of line.


Democratic management styles

In this style, managers are responsible for the final decision, but encourage their employees to give their opinion during the decision making process.

Internal communication within the company is two-way, top-down and bottom-up, unlike autocratic management, and team cohesion is increased.

Thanks to the democratic management, more open, the decisions are more judicious and informed by the various ideas, competences and opinions.

The consultative management style

Consultative management is frequently used in specialized fields where employees are often experts and management needs their input to make informed decisions.

Managers use this style to solicit the opinions and thoughts of their team, consulting the views of each team member.

The manager will make the final decision, but will consider all the information provided by the team members before doing so.


Consultative management fosters a deeper connection between staff and management, and builds trust within teams.

Management grows with the team as it learns from the ideas, opinions and experience of the employees it leads.

Innovation and expression of opinions are encouraged, which leads to better problem solving.


The staff consultation process can be labor intensive and time consuming. If a manager is not skilled in managing the time of this process, it can easily get bogged down.

If there is an appearance of favoritism or if the boss does not listen to opinions, employees may become resentful and distrustful of the manager.

Excessive use of consultative management can lead to employees losing trust in their boss, as they begin to wonder why they are always being called in to help solve problems instead of management dealing with them as part of their job.

Participative management

The participative style is one of the most popular management styles. Employees have access to more information about the company, its objectives, its strategies… and are encouraged to find innovative solutions.

Whether they are managers, employees, trainees…they are all active members of the decision-making process. This is the most open and human of all management styles.


The advantages of such a management style are numerous: increased productivity and motivated employees, they have the feeling of being appreciated by their management team and by the organization as a whole, empowerment and autonomy, increased commitment, excellent career management due to the presence of a personal development mechanism.

We are talking in particular about the collective intelligence that is put to the benefit of the company, thus boosting innovation and competitiveness of the company. This facilitates the management of change, etc.

Benevolence and performance are the order of the day. Feedback is widely used to take the pulse of the team.


If managers are not sufficiently trained in this type of management, there may be a tendency to disorganization or anarchy.

On the other hand, the level of commitment is an essential component of successful participative management, which requires special attention.

Having different actors working together can slow down decision-making, which can be a disadvantage, especially in times of crisis or emergency.

Collaborative Management

Collaborative management creates an open forum for ideas to be discussed in depth before decisions are made based on majority rule. Employees are empowered to take ownership of the results, which can lead to increased engagement, innovation and creativity.


Staff feel trusted, valued and listened to by all levels of their management team. They are encouraged to do their best, to find collaborative solutions to problems and to be fully engaged in the process.

Open communication means that workplace conflicts are often resolved before real problems arise.

Employee turnover decreases when employees are engaged, and a diversity of voices often leads to better solutions and outcomes.


As with other democratic management styles, this process can take time.

Majority rule is not always the best choice for an organization. If a decision is not in the best interest of the company, management will have to step in to change it, which can lead to resentment and mistrust.

Transformational management

This management style is agile and growth-oriented. Managers strive to encourage their employees to achieve great things, regularly pushing them out of their comfort zone, and constantly motivating their teams to raise the bar of achievement.

Managers collaborate with their employees, encouraging them to work harder by demonstrating their own work ethic.


For transformational management, innovation is increased, and employees will adapt more easily to change, disruption or difficult projects.

Creative thinking is encouraged, and problem solving and product development will benefit from increased staff flexibility.


If not used carefully, this type of management will cause staff burnout.

Staff can become scattered, burned out from pushing themselves too hard and unable to keep up.

Coaching management style

In this style, managers see themselves as coaches and their employees as important members of their team.

The manager’s job is to develop and guide his team, putting the team’s professional development at the top of the priority list.

In coaching management style, long-term development is more important than short-term failures, and the manager wants to promote learning, development and growth in the workplace.


Employees feel valued, know they will learn and grow in their roles, and are more likely to be engaged.

Managers create a strong bond with their employees, who will in turn be more likely to give their best to their “coach.”


Coaching management can lead to toxic environments, as employees compete for developmental roles and tasks.

If there is too much focus on long-term development, short-term projects may not get the support they need.


Laissez-faire management styles

In laissez-faire management styles, management takes a hands-off approach to leadership.

Employees are trusted to do their work without supervision, and are empowered to make their own decisions and solve problems.

Management is present during the delegation and delivery stages of work, but stands back and allows employees to control their workflow and outcomes. Management only intervenes during the process if staff request it.

Delegative management

In delegative management, the manager is only present to assign tasks, but is always responsible for their completion. He is responsible for defining the responsibility of each person, assigning them certain tasks and delegating.

In order to delegate more effectively, it is important to select the most appropriate person from the team to carry out a given task, based on their skills, strengths and experience, and to delegate each task to the most appropriate person.

Once the task is assigned, employees are free to perform their duties as they see fit.

Once the task is completed, the manager returns to review the work and make suggestions for future projects.


This type of management encourages innovation and creativity in the company, especially in organizations with highly skilled workers.

Staff have space to manage their own problems and collaborate to solve them, which strengthens problem solving and teamwork.

Job satisfaction can be increased among those who seek work autonomy.


Without leadership, productivity may suffer.

Teams may suffer from a lack of direction, focus or consistency.

Poorly managed conflicts can flare up and lead to resentment.

Some staff members may feel that management is not contributing to the team’s success and may become resentful.

Visionary management

Visionary managers lead by inspiring their employees. Leaders explain their goals and motivations, persuading their teams to work toward their vision.

Team members are motivated by their manager and then have the freedom to accomplish their tasks with minimal supervision. Managers check in regularly, but are confident that their shared vision keeps employees on track and producing positive results.


Engagement is increased because staff believe in what they are creating and are driven to complete tasks to the best of their ability.

Employees are more satisfied, motivation is higher and turnover is reduced.

In this type of leadership, innovation is higher, and problem solving can occur quickly within teams.


Not all managers can be legitimately inspiring. It depends on the position, the industry, the product and the person.

This is not a type of management that can be simulated, employees must be truly inspired, otherwise they will not perform as well.

Support and develop your team

Adopting a participative management style is just one aspect of good management that requires a lot of effort. To continue to improve, solicit feedback from your team! It’s a great way to better guide your team and keep them moving in the right direction.

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