99% of the time people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.
And while managers can always hire someone else, there are only so many replacements they can make until this vicious cycle gets in the way of productivity.
Managers should know how to effectively designate jobs and communicate them to their employees. Failing to do so can lead even the most dedicated employees to quit.
The idea is to avoid that and create a working environment from which both employees and the company can benefit from.
Not all managers have the same way of achieving this, however.
There are different styles of management out there, depending on skills and personality.
If you’re trying to find out in which of these styles you belong, or determine what is the best method for the type of business you are managing, you’re in the right place!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why Your Management Style is Important
- How to Discuss Management Styles in an Interview
- What are the top 10 management styles to follow (including 4 more recent styles for the changing 2020)
- What are the top 3 management styles to avoid
Let’s get to it right away!
Why Your Management Style is Important
First and foremost: There is no one best style of management.
Rather, a good management style is flexible and adaptable to each team.
This doesn’t mean using a different management method each week.
It means analyzing the type of business, the volume of work, and the personalities of the employees as soon as you land the position. Then, determining your style based on those factors.
A management style that matches the company culture and its work ethic always brings engagement and efficiency.
Once you’ve established which style is most appropriate, you should try sticking to it. This means having consistency in the working environment, which lets employees know what to expect from you and what is expected from them in every situation.
How to Discuss Management Styles in a Job Interview
How to Answer “What’s Your Management Style in a Job Interview”
If you’re applying for a position in management, it makes sense for the interviewer to ask “What’s your management style?”.
Hearing about your past experiences gives them an idea of how you might lead or supervise their employees and how that fits with their company culture and goals.
This falls under the category of behavioral questions and as such, the key to answering is the STAR method – situation, task, method, and result.
So, dig up your memory and find some examples of situations that best represent your management style.
You should also do some research on the company and on what kind of management they are looking for. If your style matches theirs, make sure to highlight that.
If your style has nothing to do with what they require, do NOT lie. You really don’t want to end up in a situation where you continuously have to act out of your character. Chances are, it will lead to that cycle of quitting and hiring.
How to Answer “How Do You Like To Be Managed” in a Job Interview
Sometimes, even if the position is not in management, interviewers will still ask other leadership-related questions like “How do you like to be managed?” or “What do you look for in a manager?”
The purpose is to find out if you would fit with how things work in the company.
Reflecting on your past experiences and checking the management styles listed below, decide on one or two approaches and explain why those methods work best for you as an employee.
Again, avoid making things up or saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear. If your answer contradicts what you really think, it will only put you in a work environment where you’ll be unhappy.
Top 10 Management Styles
Considering management is strongly connected to personality, there are tons of methods and approaches out there.
Most of them, however, belong to one of the three main categories of management styles:
- Democratic Management Styles – Employees are encouraged to give input and participate in the decision-making process, even though the final decision remains a choice of the manager.
- Autocratic Management Styles – Employees carry out the management’s orders and are closely supervised to assure they are performing well
- Laissez-Faire Management Styles – Employees are trusted to work and make decisions without supervision, while managers are only involved when delegating tasks or when assistance is requested
Within these three categories, there are plenty of sub-styles of management, each with their benefits and drawbacks.
We will break down the top 10 styles of management, starting with the 4 most relevant ones in 2020.
Visionary Management Style
Visionary managers communicate the vision and long term goals of the company to their employees.
They inspire and motivate.
They give employees the freedom to complete the work on their own terms and pace, as long as they meet deadlines and deliver well.
There is minimal interference from managers, as they trust the vision they have provided to drive the employees. They do, however, give a lot of constructive feedback and never hesitate to praise when needed.
When to use it:
Visionary management is usually more effective with already experienced teams and employees, who are able to do their work with little to no supervision. It’s a great strategy for businesses in the creative field, non-profit organizations, or any company that is driven by a strong sense of purpose, like for example, start-ups.
In 2020, with a lot of employees now working remotely, this style of management is a great approach.
Since they have a common goal and vision with the manager, employees are motivated to give their best when completing tasks. The given trust and freedom also fuels their work and encourages creativity.
Inspiring employees is easier said than done and not all managers can pull this off. Unless you are successful in motivating your employees, this management style can be quite inefficient.
Transformational Management Style
The key word in this management style is growth – the growth of employees and the company.
Transformational managers work alongside their employees and are constantly encouraging them to get out of their comfort zone. They might even seem a little pushy sometimes, always setting the bar high and motivating employees to reach their full potential.
The constant improvement of the employees leads to better overall performance in the company.
When to use it:
This is the perfect management style for companies that are in constantly evolving industries, (for example, the tech field) or are facing a period of change, like… well, every business in 2020.
This type of management fuels creativity and innovation and prepares employees to adapt to change or face unexpected challenges. This is always advantageous for a company.
Not all employees can handle this pace of work. Some may need more time to adapt to changes or they might get worn out from being pushed too hard.
Persuasive Management Style
In this style, power is centralized and employees are not part of the decision-making process. However, they can raise questions or concerns that the manager addresses and explains.
Instead of just announcing decisions and giving orders, managers using the persuasive style take time to explain to the employees the logic behind decisions and why they were the best call to make for the company.
They also incentivize employees to commit to tasks through persuasion instead of rewards or penalties.
When to use it:
The persuasive management style is helpful when the manager has more knowledge and experience in the field than the employees. They put an effort into explaining decisions to the employees, but at the end of the day, they know best.
For example, a company hires a consultant or independent expert to evaluate how it’s performing. The consultant concludes that some departments need to be restructured and some employees must be let go. This decision wouldn’t sit well with most employees, so a persuasive approach must be used to explain to them the line of reasoning and why this was the best decision for the company.
The company reaches conclusions and makes decisions fast, while at the same time establishing a strong trust relationship with employees. Putting effort in communicating and discussing decisions creates a better work environment than a you-will-do-as-I-say attitude.
Not being able to contribute to finding solutions and not having many opportunities to improve professionally will, at one point, lead to some discontent from employees.
Coaching Management Style
This style is slightly similar to the transformational management style, but a coaching manager is more of a mentor than a supervisor.
They are very invested in guiding their employees and they have their professional development as a priority. This kind of manager is willing to overlook short-term failures and view them as a lesson for improvement that will lead to better long-term results.
This style requires strong interpersonal skills from the manager’s side in order to build a mentoring relationship with the team.
When to use it:
This is a great method for companies that have trouble finding the right employees, so they decide to focus on coaching and promoting from within the company. It can save a lot of time and resources that are usually used for finding and training new employees. It is also a great tactic for companies that can benefit from everyone in the company having a collective vision and developing skills.
This type of management leads to high employee morale and engagement. The good relationship with the manager makes employees feel valued and in turn leads to good performance, especially long-term.
The close manager-employee relationship has its drawbacks. It requires a lot of time from the manager in order to coach and support all employees and it might create conflict over favoritisms and competition over tasks. This style can also give the impression that short-term results are not that big of a priority, as long as people are learning and improving.
Transactional Management Style
Just like the name hints, employees under transactional management are incentivized to work by rewards or bonuses.
“Do this and you will be rewarded with that.”
In the same way, they are met with penalties when performing poorly.
When to use it:
This type of management works best in companies and teams that have to hit specific objectives or goals within a deadline and companies that work on a piece-rate pay. For example, sales agents are rewarded with bonuses when reaching or exceeding the company’s monthly/annual sales target.
Transactional management is very effective for motivating teams to reach goals in the short-run or complete tasks they are not very fond of.
Material rewards are not as effective in the long-run. Employees might be able to deliver for a while, but if used for too long, this method negatively impacts their motivation. Quality becomes secondary to the quantity of work they get done. It is also not a great method for driving creativity.
Consultative Management Style
In this management style, employees actively participate in discussions regarding decision-making and are encouraged to give feedback on established policies.
Like in the persuasive style, the manager does the final decision-making, but a consultative manager is not only focused on how he explains and breaks down decisions to the employees. He meets with them and takes their opinions and thoughts into consideration well before deciding in the first place.
When to use it:
Opposite to the persuasive management style, the consultative approach is great for specialized fields where the team members are experts on the topic. The manager might not have a lot of experience or knowledge in the subject, so consulting with the employees is important before making any decisions.
For example, a manager on a game development project can have meetings with his/her employees before and after making decisions. Since they are the ones developing the game, they know better how much time each step will need, what is going well, and what can be improved.
This style of management creates a very good relationship between managers and employees, who feel valued. It encourages discussion and idea sharing, which leads to innovation and good problem-solving.
This style requires a lot of time not only from the manager but from the employees as well, since they are always called for discussions and problem-solving. The manager should also be very careful to not create favoritisms or rely too much on the style as it might lead to the team losing trust.
Collaborative Management Style
Similarly to the consultative style, collaborative managers include their employees in idea discussions, but the difference stands in the decision-making. Under a collaborative style, decisions are made by a majority vote.
Employees are very engaged and have good communication with the manager. Being included in the decision process gives them a sense of responsibility towards the outcome, which motivates them to work harder.
When to use it:
This style of management is very helpful when a company has to make long-term decisions that affect everyone, or when they want to build a collaborative working environment. It is also helpful in constantly evolving environments, like the tech industry, where the input of the whole team is important for the company to keep going forward.
The democratic style looks like an orchestra, where the conductor overlooks and leads, but the musicians each have their own crucial role and all of them are needed to produce music.
Allowing employees to give their input and take such a big part in decision-making, shows that the manager trusts and values them. The employers feel empowered and responsible, and in turn more invested in the work they are doing. More engagement, more solutions, more progress.
This type of management is very time-consuming. Meetings will often include debates, which inevitably prolong the decision-making. The majority rule could also create problems, as the decision reached won’t always be what’s best for the company. If management intervenes and makes changes, employees will begin to lose trust in the method.
Delegative Management Style
This is a mixture of the visionary and consultative management styles.
The managers make decisions and assign tasks, then leave it to the employees to carry them out however they see fit. They often check in to assess the progress, since they are responsible for the completion of the work, but they don’t monitor the employees on a day-to-day basis.
Where to use it:
The method is best used in cases when the employees have more knowledge and experience in the field and the manager is confident that they can carry out the work without much assistance. The manager is, however, still present around them and overlooks the work without breathing down their neck. It’s a style that works well in the creative field, in businesses like advertising, design and start-ups.
Having autonomy when completing their work, employees are free to be creative with solutions and bring innovation to the company. They also feel satisfied with the trust the manager puts in them.
For the method to work well, employees should be self-motivated. Otherwise, they lose direction and focus and the company’s productivity is the one to suffer. They might also lose respect or become resentful towards the manager as they might feel like they are not contributing enough to the work.
Pacesetting Management Style
This style is exactly what it sounds like. The manager leads by setting an example that he expects the employees to follow. The manager’s actions set the bar (usually high) and challenge the employees to reach it.
At first sight, it might sound similar to transformational management, but that’s not the case. What motivates a pacesetting manager is the goal of high standard work, while the transformational manager is interested in the professional development of his employees.
The pacesetting manager often chooses to complete some tasks himself, to give the employees an example of the quality of work expected.
When to use it:
This style works best in a setting where the manager is more experienced in the field, therefore has more competence and credibility. The employees, however, should also be self-motivated and able to keep up with the pace and expectations of the manager. The ideal setting would be a sales or real estate agent team.
This style tends to keep employees always energized and on the move, ready to face whatever challenges the manager is handing out. The manager is satisfied with high-quality work while the employees have perfected their skills.
There is the risk of creating too much competition between employees over who performs better and meets expectations. There might also be employees who won’t be able to meet the high standards of the manager and will be put under a lot of pressure. Others might feel exhausted at the fast pace. It’s a management style that can lead to a lot of quitting.
Affiliative Management Style
The affiliative manager puts the happiness of employees first and tries to be by their side as part of the team, instead of a superior. They are supportive and understanding, trusting that this will motivate employees to work hard.
This manager is flexible and willing to change the rules if it makes the employees happier and the working environment better.
When to use it:
This management style depends on a strong trust relationship between employees and the manager, so it works best in smaller companies. It is a type of management that works very well in times of stress, as it helps rebuild trust between the employees and management of the company. It shouldn’t be used for too long, however, as it can lower performance levels.
Affiliative management leads to a collaborative working environment and gives the employees the chance to learn from the manager and advance professionally.
The chances of employees taking advantage of the manager’s behavior are pretty high, especially in large companies where the manager has a lot of people to look over. Trying to be by everyone’s side to support them is very time consuming and puts results and progress in the second plane. It might also make some of the employees dependent on the manager and their presence, unable to complete their work without guidance.
It’s sometimes hard to assess yourself and your own behavior. If you couldn’t find the management method that you fit best, or you were stuck between two options, here’s a quiz you can take that will identify the best approach for you.]
3 Management Styles to Avoid
If a management style is labeled as “bad”, it’s usually because it isn’t the right approach for the specific business environment in which it was adopted. A matter of mismatch.
There are some management styles, however, that have become more and more ineffective to use in all kinds of businesses (especially in the 2020 working environment).
Here’s what they are and why you should avoid them:
Authoritative Management Style
This is the purest form of autocratic management, functioning in a hierarchy. Whoever is at the top makes decisions and dictates them to the employees, who are expected to follow with no question.
The manager monitors the employees at all times, sets rules and policies that they must follow, and is not interested in their feedback. They don’t trust the employees to carry out tasks without supervision.
With this kind of management, decisions are made quickly and work is executed fast, but is that really worth the negative effects?
The lack of trust in the employees and the isolation from decision-making becomes a barrier for innovation and makes it hard for the company to move forward. In addition, this style does not give employees the opportunity to grow professionally. This lack of engagement makes even the top-performing employees quit.
This type of manager goes above and beyond to ensure the tasks they have assigned are being carried out as they instructed. They focus on details and constantly send materials back to be reworked on until they are executed how they want them to.
Not being able to manage from a distance, these managers are constantly breathing down their employees’ necks, and as a result, getting in the way of creativity and motivation.
The final work might be top-notch, but it will always look one way – the manager’s way.
Employees who are looking for opportunities to grow or the freedom to work more autonomously won’t have it long with this management style.
Best Friend Management Style
This is the management that you get when adding the affiliative and coaching styles, and taking it too far.
There are two scenarios on how this could go.
One, the manager gets more attached than they should to the employees. They prioritize their role as a supportive coach, so they tolerate too many mistakes and are hesitant to give negative feedback. This is damaging to both the company and the employees. The work delivered is not of the best quality and employees aren’t able to progress due to the lack of feedback.
Two, they overdo it on their friend role and interfere more than they should with their employees’ work and lives. There is nothing wrong with being a compassionate manager that cares about his/her employees, but interfering too much will make them feel uncomfortable.
There are other management styles apart and in between the ones mentioned above and they all lose or gain popularity in different work environments.
Here’s the bottom line:
The styles that work best for most businesses (especially in 2020) are:
- Visionary Management
- Transformational Management
- Persuasive Management
- Coaching Management
The types of manager you should avoid being are:
- Best Friend
Put effort into finding the best method for you and your surroundings to increase efficiency.
Once decided, don’t fluctuate too much from it in order to create consistency.
We hope this was helpful for finding your style and nailing that interview!