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Top 4 Most Effective Management Styles & How to Use Them

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Summary: There are several management styles to lead the diverse people and job duties under a manager’s watch. This article examines how to use the top 4.

4 piece puzzlePeople have a wide variety of personalities and experiences. In the workplace, these diverse people come together to accomplish a common goal or task. It takes an excellent leader to provide the right kind of guidance, training, and motivation to get everyone together and make the business operate successfully. There isn’t just one management style to make it happen, and they are not all equal in every situation. One style may work better in fast paced manufacturing jobs, while another style would be best in high-skilled, but slower paced engineering jobs. Read on to learn of the four most effective management styles, when they excel, and when they struggle.


This management style is all about the people and maintaining positive relationships. There is time each day spent catching up and talking with less direct focus on task completion. The rationale is that when employees are happy, when they like each other and like their manager, they will be more more personally invested and motivated to perform well. This style works well when job performance is on par with expectations and employees are reasonably self-motivated. Leaders will struggle with the affiliative management style when trying to improve lagging productivity or in situations in which immediate action is critical.


By involving everyone’s ideas and opinions in making decisions, a democratic manager hopes to foster a sentiment of ownership among employees. This management style thrives on the value of diverse ideas, and in a way creates a team of leaders who win as a group and lose as a group. The democratic style works best when there are few new and unknown challenges that require quick action on a day to day basis. Managers preferring the democratic style will find difficulty when working with an unskilled and undereducated staff. It is also detrimental to try to apply the democratic management style in a crisis when quick, firm direction is best.


An authoritative/visionary manager clearly defines a direction and set of goals for his or her organization, but not necessarily the steps to get there. The authoritative manager believes in firm but fair discipline. Employees under this style are often expected to perform at a high level, but are allowed some room to find the best method to achieve results. Because authoritative managers do not often involve themselves in the minutia of the day to day tasks, their leadership will struggle with poorly trained employees or those who need regular guidance. This type of management also requires employees to buy in and believe in the vision, so these managers should be enthusiastic, confident leaders.


Coaching managers excel when employees need significant regular guidance or training. A coaching manager must be an expert who shares his or her vast knowledge and skill to develop employees and improve their performance. A good coaching style manager may often end up walking the fine line between being appropriately involved and micromanaging, which can irritate some employees. Coaching managers can tend to take an employee’s poor performance as a personal challenge, so they should also be careful not to overprotect an employee with constant sub-par performance issues.

While many managers may unknowingly focus their energies mainly on one or two management styles, dynamic leaders are acutely aware of the shortcomings of their preferred style and can adapt by using elements of other management styles as needed. As a manager, it is your duty to recognize the best management style for your employee’s and workplace’s needs and then choose the best methods to reach your organization’s goals.

Learn more about managing employees with What’s Lacking in the Work Place on!

Top 4 Most Effective Management Styles & How to Use Them by
Authored by: Cameron Griffin