Work Culture

9 Types of Management Styles: Which Ones Are Most Effective?

By on October 5, 2019
Managers play a key role in making an organisation success or failure. Even if they know it or not, these managers tend to have certain management styles.
An effective manager knows what style to choose for what project. These choices also depend on the level of influence manager has on their team. As well as their own expertise in the area of execution.
It is always better to be self aware & make informed decisions about choosing a management style. This articles takes a closer look at nine such methods. Along with the appropriate situations to apply them:
Different Types of Management Styles


This is one of the most popular management styles. It involves a manager who initiates a project, defines guidelines and the quality to meet upon completion. This manager defines tasks, sets deadlines and any other rules and boundaries.
A directive manager usually does not rely on suggestions or feedbacks from others to perform. Directive management is most effective in cases where subordinate staff does not have specialized jobs. These managers offer guidance to avoid uncertainty.
Directive management is best applicable during a crisis. It can also apply in cases of emergencies.

Pros of Directive Style

  • Directive management helps in upholding safety and security as it is based on rules and regulations
  • It provides clarity for workers on their roles and responsibilities
  • It helps create a structure where there are no structures
  • Easy to learn as you don’t need any specialized training

Cons of Directive Style 

This management style depends on the skills and experience of the leader. It will most likely fail in case the employees are highly skilled or competent. It also reduces collaboration, which makes the leaders work harder. In some cases, the workers can feel micromanaged, leading to resentment of the leader.


Authoritative style is where management provides direction to the subordinates and employees. Managers rely on their experience, expertise, skills and company goals to guide the team. To be an effective authoritarian manager, a person has to be knowledgeable and should be able to motivate the workers to accomplish tasks. Such managers should also have a high level of self-control, foresight, consciousness and conflict solving abilities
Authoritative management style is one of the most widespread as it relies heavily on the long-term vision and company mission. It is an effective style when the company already has relevant expertise but only needs a sense of direction.

Pros of Authoritative Style

  • Managers do not seek others’ opinions which make decision making faster
  • It allows employees freedom. They can work in whichever way they please as long as it is in line with the company’s visions and goals
  • Easy tracking of employee performance and progress as the leader provides instant feedback
  • The clear cut company goals and visions promote focus and a clear sense of direction among the workers

Cons of Authoritative Style

Authoritative style can allow some employees to become complacent because they might seek unapproved ways to reach the set goals. It is also not the best management style for undeveloped or underdeveloped employees who need guidance on everything they do.


If you are looking to create a workplace atmosphere for like-minded people, then affiliative management is the best style to follow. It seeks to promote harmony and great professional and personal relationship among employees.
Most companies are adopting an affiliative management style due to the growth of scientific and technical activities.It helps motivate employees by keeping them happy at all times.
Affiliative management style is most effective when the employees have mastered routines and perform successfully. You can also use it in managing conflict and counseling.

Pros of Affiliative Style

  • Affiliative management style keeps employees happy and helps build strong relations that help in collaboration
  • It is flexible such that you can use it with other management styles
  • It is best for keeping harmony among workers, as it emphasizes conflict management

Cons of Affiliative Style

This management style does not focus primarily on performance, which will most likely lead to standard output. It also allows employees space for complacency & may lead to poor results. Also, it requires investment in terms of time as people interacts more with each other & bond. 


Participative management style is where all employees get to contribute to workplace decisions and policies. This style requires input from everyone, and manager has to consider all the opinions before solving business challenges or decisions. This style aims to promote harmony and co-operation among employees.
For a successful participatory management style, the manager needs to encourage open communication and collaborative decision-making. They must also be willing to listen to everyone and motivate them by recognizing team effort.

Pros of Participative Style

  • This style encourages co-operation among workers as they get to work together in formulating policies and making decisions
  • It keeps employees motivated as their opinions are valued and appreciated
  • It helps to build and keep trust among the employees

Cons of Participative Style

Considering everyone’s opinion in the decision-making process takes up a lot of time, leading to slow progress. It is also painful for the managers who have to consider all views and ensure everyone stays happy.


Pacesetting management method is best when managers are after ‘leading by example’. These managers set and achieve high standards for those they lead. As a pacesetter, they should identify those who cannot keep up and ask them to pull up or replace them. Pacesetting is where getting things done with expedition, even if that means some of your teammates are left behind.
The most effective way to apply pacesetting is when the company needs quick results from a highly competent and motivated group. It is also best for use over a short term with a highly skilled team.

Pros of Pacesetting Style

  • Pacesetting management style allows the employees more freedom to exercise their top skills for business success
  • It demands employees to work with intensity, energy, and engagement that lead to meeting business targets

Cons of Pacesetting Style

When it runs for an extended period, some workers might find the intensity and speed too demanding and give up. They might start feeling exhausted, pressurized or as if they are working for slave drivers.


Coaching involves mentoring and providing direction to the employees with a long term objective of professional development. Managers identify the strengths and weaknesses of the employees and advise them on how to manage them.
This management style is useful when managers need or want to develop skills in employees. The other case is when the employee seeks development.

Pros of Coaching

  • Coaching helps build relations of cooperation, respect, and strong bonds between managers and the employees
  • It provides a learning premise for both the parties involved

Cons of Coaching

Not everyone can be a coach leading to the straining of the available experts and qualified managers. It can also create unhealthy competition among employees as they seek professional development opportunities.


Commanding management style is the most common type of management. It involves the leader controlling every aspect and manages the employees’ hands-on. In some cases, it includes criticism without compliments.
Commanding style is most effective when managers are looking for a dramatic turnaround.

Pros of Commanding

  • This style helps in gaining quick results

Cons of Commanding

Commanding demotivates and reduces the employees’ psych for work. It can also dampen flexibility and isolate people leading to poor outcomes.


Laissez-faire is where you set out the company goals, provide the tools, and let the employees fulfill the vision in their own way. Managers offer little guidance as they allow the group to solve their own challenges.

Pros of Laissez-Faire Style

  • Laissez-Faire style allows the expert, skillful, and motivated employees to achieve top results
  • It promotes creativity and independence in delivery
  • It allows the management to concentrate on providing top tools while employees deliver for quality output

Cons of Laissez-Faire Style

The lack of close supervision can lead to poor performance and outcomes. Letting the employees work on their own can make managers appear uninvolved, which could be de-motivating to the team.


The result-based management style is where the company looks to achieve maximum results using already set guidelines. The style works on the premise of employees understanding the expectations they need to meet. They are allowed to set the expectations and determine how effectively they will achieve them. Managers set the goals and avail resources while the employees provide knowledge, time, and expertise.
Result-based management style is one of the most effective for small businesses.

Pros of result-based style

  • Result-based management style helps in better resource management as they are only used for the intended purpose
  • It helps in promoting employee morale and engagement

Cons of result-based style

This style does not consider external factors that can affect the ability to reach goals. For example – Some goals that are not measurable; cannot work with a result-based management style.

Most effective management styles?

Now that you know of the different management styles, you are most probably looking for the most effective one to apply in your setting.
Well, there is no outright most or least effective management style. The best management styles depend on factors like the level of experience of the people involved, the nature of the business, values, and different circumstances across the operations.
As a manager, you are free to use more than one management styles in parallel, as long as you get the mix right.

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