Very few professionals are natural-born managers. Almost everyone needs to study and practice management skills in order to effectively lead their teams. Luckily, there are many digital resources to help learn more about leadership styles and effective management strategies. There are four major types of leadership styles and then many different substyles of those main management styles. Although many people might naturally tend toward one style of leadership, the truth is that the best managers thoroughly understand all of the different styles and also know that different situations require using these different styles at different times in order to achieve the best results possible.
Managers who lead using the autocratic style tend to be the sole source of authority within their realm of responsibility. There is a strong sense of centralized control, and communication moves from the top down. These managers send digital decrees instead of open-ended emails. These managers use rewards and penalties to motivate their staff. During times of crisis, this style makes a lot of sense and has a lot of benefits. During regular times, though, this style can cause staff members to distrust management. It also requires constant supervision of employees and prevents employees from developing healthy relationships with each other and with their supervisors. Derivatives of this style include:
- The authoritative substyle, which prioritizes structures and standard operating procedures
- The paternalistic management style, in which managers honestly want the best for their team but don’t allow room for discussion or collaboration
The persuasive manager maintains strong control over their team and makes final decisions. However, they do ask for opinions and input from other stakeholders. Once a decision is made, though, it is final. These managers motivate their teams using various methods of persuasion.
- One substyle of the persuasive style is managing by example. These managers set the standard they wish to see from their employees and then live up to it consistently.
- Affiliative managers embed themselves into their teams and lead from the front lines instead of the front office.
- Charismatic managers depend on the charm and personal magnetism of the manager. Employees want to please them because of the manager’s personality.
The consultative management style requires the leadership team to actively encourage a constant flow of communication between team members and managers. They purposefully seek their team’s input and opinions before making a final decision. This style increases employees’ sense of buy-in. But it can slow down the process of making and implementing decisions.
- Strategic managers don’t worry about the day-to-day workings of their team. They trust their team members to carry out their daily responsibilities and keep their focus on the big picture.
- In the democratic management style, leaders see themselves as referees to help their team do their jobs.
- The inspirational management style requires managers to have extraordinary interpersonal skills in order to properly motivate their staff.
Leaders empower their staff members to actively problem-solve and suggest ways to improve processes and solve problems. These managers want each employee to be self-directed. This leadership style is often chosen for groups with similar amounts of education and professional experience. It’s vital that these managers keep an eye on the organization’s main goals and strategic plan to make sure that things don’t drift off course.
- The laissez-faire management style often naturally occurs with managers with more laid-back personalities who also really trust and respect their team.
- The collaborative substyle requires managers to seek out meaningful conversations and input from their staff during the decision-making process.
- Transformational managers focus on the growth of their team and their organization. They prioritize agility and the ability to pivot. Typically, this style invites and nurtures innovation.
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