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Back then, managers were the drivers of any organization, and the success of that organization was dependent on them. Managers were valuable and steered their organization to success. However, things have changed so drastically. 

The position of managers and their influence on an organization seems to be eroded. There are loads of articles claiming that middle managers are now not critical to an organization’s success, which makes you wonder what could be the problem. 

This article will explore the top management styles to see how things have changed in the modern organizational setup. But before that, let’s start with the basics – what is a management style and the factors that affect it. 

The Top Management Style

What Is a Management Style?

A management style is a way a manager lays down strategies to help them fulfill the organizational goals and objectives. It can include what strategies a manager will put in place and their decisions to steer the organization to success. 

An organization’s management style will vary depending on the industry, company, country, culture, and level of management. A good manager will adjust their management style depending on different factors while still focusing on the organization’s primary goals and objectives. 

The management style of any organization is affected by internal and external factors. Internal factors include the organization culture, employee engagement, policies, and priorities of the organization. On the other hand, external factors include competitors, consumers, suppliers, employment laws, and the economy. 

The Top Management Styles: Which Ones Are Most Effective?

This section will go through the three main types of management styles –

(1) Autocratic Management Style 

(2) Democratic management style

(3) Laissez-faire management style

These three management styles also have subtypes, which we will also discuss. 

1. Autocratic Management Styles  ( Visionary)

An autocratic management style takes a top-down approach, and the communication flows from the managers to employees. 

By far, it is the most controlling of all management styles we are going to discuss because the manager makes all the decisions pertaining to the organization. 

Employees are not included in any decision-making. They are closely monitored to make sure that they are working within the organization’s guidelines. 

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The autocratic management style is subdivided into three subtypes –

(a) Paternalistic (b) Authoritative, and (c) Persuasive management styles. Let’s look at each of them. 

a) Authoritative Management Style

In this management style, managers have the right to dictate what employees have to do, and punishment will come your way if you do not carry out your tasks as dictated by the boss. Employees should not ask questions but to do their work as instructed by the top management. Supervision is done because the top management doesn’t believe in the employees. 


The authoritative management style allows for quick decisions and gives clearly defined roles for employees. Setting clear goals and objectives increases productivity but only when the manager is present. 


Employees are dissatisfied as they cannot participate in any decision-making, resulting in high turnover and a lack of professional development. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

The authoritative management style is suitable for those organizations that need to make decisions faster. For example, this style can work effectively during a crisis. 

b) Persuasive Management Style

In the persuasive management style, managers are tasked with convincing the employees that every decision the management makes is for the good of the organization. 

Rather than ordering the employees left and right, managers accept the employees to ask questions and explain the decision making process with employees to understand how a decision was arrived at. 


The advantage of this management style is that the management can build a healthy trust level with employees. This will make employees respond positively to the orders given by the management. 


Even though employees can ask questions, they will still not like the restricted in doing several things. This will make them frustrated because they cannot create solutions or give their feedback. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

This management style is appropriate in an organization where the manager has more experience than their juniors. 

c) Paternalistic Management Style

In the paternalistic management style, the manager represents his or her team and serves their interests. The management style will explain the employees’ decisions and that they were made from an experience point of view. However, employees are not allowed to take part in decision making or question the decision. 


The manager acts in the employees’ interest and will make decisions in line with what will benefit the organization and the employees. The management will also provide employee education, which makes them more skilled and happier. 


Employees will become too dependent on top management, thus a lack of innovation within the organization. There will be resentment from the employees who do not believe in this management style. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

This management style will suit smaller companies, though it wouldn’t be perfect for larger organizations. It is culture-dependent and may not be effective in western cultures. 

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2. Democratic Management Styles

In democratic styles, managers motivate workers to participate during the decision-making process and be part of the ultimate decision. Often, communication is two-way traffic, and team correspondence is enhanced. This style offers room for diverse opinions, ideas, and skills to impart decisions. 

Democratic Management

The Democratic Management Styles is subdivided into three subtypes –

(a) Consultative Management Style, (b) Participative Management Style and (c) Collaborative Management Style

a) Consultative Management Style

Here, managers will consult the viewpoints of each team member while seeking their opinions and thoughts. Managers will then conclude the decision, but after addressing all the concerns of their team members. This style is often preferred in specialized fields, where staff input is required for the management to make rational decisions. 


This style enhances the bond between the staff and the management, building trust within the teams. Also, the management grows with the team as they consider workers’ input in their ultimate decisions. 


The consulting process can be overwhelming and time-intensive. Sadly, the manager is likely to delay the process, especially when they aren’t skilled with the time management factor. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

The democratic style comes in handy when managing teams with specialized skills or when the manager isn’t as experienced as the team.  

b) Participative Management Style

In a participative management style, managers and staff input is required in the decision process. Staff are informed about the company and its goals and are motivated to initiate solutions. 

The management will ask the team about their ideas, thoughts, and opinions, after which the company will act on their final decisions. 


Workers are encouraged to instill more effort since the management team and the company always value their input. The more they understand the company’s goal, the higher the engagement. Innovation is also enhanced when the staff is still part of the decision-making process.  


When staff participation is needed, the chances are that staff with more significant personalities will overlook the less assertive members’ decisions, leading to conflicts and bitterness. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

This style is most preferred by organizations when implementing significant change, especially when employees are resistant to new strategies. When staff participation is enforced, the organization should expect more positive outcomes and less resistance. 

c) Collaborative Management Style

In a collaborative style, an open forum for ideas is created before making the final decision. Staff is encouraged to control the outcomes, which can enhance engagement, creativity, and innovation. 


Staff feels valued and trusted by the management team. They are encouraged to instill more efforts, develop innovative solutions, and actively participate in the decision-making process. With the open forum, rest assured of a peaceful workplace as conflicts are often solved before it gets worse. 

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Like a democratic style, this process can be time-intensive. It’s never a good option for an organization as opinions tend to vary from each team member. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

This option is best considered when an organization plans to facilitate innovation while engaging employees. It’s also a good bet if an organization wants to attract the most engagement and built trust within its team. 

3. Laissez-Faire Management Styles (Transformational)

This management style takes a hands-off approach. The employees are trusted with their work, and therefore, there is no supervision required. Management will be involved in the delegation of work but leaves the staff to execute the job.

Laissez-Faire Management Styles


The Laissez-faire management style is subdivided into two subtypes –

(a) Delegative management style and (b) Visionary management style. 

a) Delegative Management Style

In this subtype of management style, the manager will be present when delegating duties and responsibilities when the work is completed. Once the manager has assigned tasks, the employees are left to carry out the work independently. When the job has been completed, the manager will review it to see if changes are required.  


There will be more innovation and creativity, especially if you have a more skilled team. Also, the team is given the freedom to handle their work without interference. 


Without management or leadership, productivity may go down. The employees can have a lack of focus or direction. Also, the team might feel as if the management is not contributing much to the project

When This Style is Appropriate?

The delegation management style is suited for a decentralized organization system, and the employees are more skilled than the management. 

b) Visionary Management Style

In this subtype management style, the managers inspire their employees to get the work done. Managers will have to explain the organizational goals and the reasons behind those goals, which will convince them to work towards them. The employees are motivated by the management, and they are given the freedom to handle their work without interference. 


Engagement is high because the employees believe in what they are doing. Employees are satisfied with the management and are highly motivated, which increases their productivity. 


Not all managers will be able to inspire employees as required. The inspiration from the manager will be dependent on the industry, product, and the manager himself. 

When This Style is Appropriate?

This management style will suit tech organizations who are looking forward to outcompeting innovative companies out there. 

Final Thoughts

Management is one of the most challenging roles, globally. I believe that this post will help you sieve through some of the management styles that best suits your organization and how you can get the best out of your employees.  

About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.