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The Top 10 Management Styles That Can Improve Performance

Major Points of the Article

  • A more effective management style can improve the communication between the managers and the employees.

  • By better understanding these management styles, you will be able to create and implement guidelines for the type of managers that best suit you.

  • With improved management comes more engaged employees, lower turnover, and better business outcomes.

In the realm of effective organizational leadership, the management style employed plays a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics between managers and employees. The ability to optimize this crucial aspect of management can result in profound benefits for your organization.

The following 10 management styles can give transformative power as they can increase communication, team cohesion, and overall business success. By delving into the nuances of various management approaches, you can unlock the potential to create guidelines that align with your unique organizational needs, ultimately fostering a more engaged workforce, reducing turnover rates, and driving improved business outcomes.

What is a Management Style?

A management style is typically the way in which the manager works with their employees to fulfill their goals/targets/team's KPIs. It includes the way in which the manager plans, organizes, makes decisions, delegates, and manages their staff. In fact, there are 10 different management styles with various nuances about them.

In terms of their suitability, some will be more effective than others and it depends on the company, level of management, industry, country, culture, and even the person themself.

In order for you (or your employed manager) to be an effective manager, you will have to be able to adjust your management style in response to different factors while keeping your focus on successfully achieving the targets.

These factors are:


  • the overall organizational and corporate culture of your company

  • policies and priorities

  • employee engagement

  • the employees' skill levels

In general, the more skilled the staff member the less supervision they will require, whereas the less skilled staff member will require more.


  • employment laws

  • the economy

  • your competitors

  • your suppliers

  • your consumers

These factors will affect you and they are outside of your control. You will therefore have to be aware of them and how they will affect you, your managers, and your employees.

Types of Management Styles

In general, there are three broad categories of management styles: Autocratic, Democratic, and Laissez-Faire, with the sub-categories making it up to 10. Let's explore them...

autocratic management styles from paradelta strategy

Autocratic Management Styles

Enhancing and refining this management style involves adopting a top-down methodology characterized by one-way communication from superiors to staff members.

This style represents the highest level of control among various management approaches, with managerial authorities responsible for all workplace decisions and possessing ultimate authority.

Under this approach, employees are regarded as operatives whose performance is closely observed within well-defined boundaries.

In this environment, there is limited encouragement for employees to inquire, propose ideas, or contribute to process improvements, and in certain instances, such behaviors may even be actively discouraged.

The autocratic management style encompasses subcategories such as authoritative, persuasive, and paternalistic.

For these management styles, you should be careful as applying it in the wrong situation or in the wrong way can have a negative effect on the performance, the morale, and will even encourage your employees to quit.

1. Autocratic: Authoritative Management Style Within this approach, managers clearly articulate their expectations for subordinates and penalize those who fail to adhere to them. Employees are anticipated to execute instructions without challenging managerial authority, adhering to a consistent approach in their task execution. Managers closely oversee employee performance, engaging in micromanagement by lacking trust or confidence in their employees' ability to attain objectives inefficiently autonomously. Such managers hold the belief that without continuous and direct oversight, employees will not perform effectively.



Decisions are made quickly. Your employees have defined roles and expectations.

The negativity encourages dissatisfaction amongst the employees, creating high turnover, resentment, and an "us" versus "them" mentality.

Unskilled workers or large teams can operate without uncertainty.

Innovation is inhibited and inefficient processes will go unchanged.

Productivity increases, but only when the manager is present.

When to use: Potentially only in an organizational crisis as decisions need to be made and executed quickly. Otherwise, it should be avoided.

2. Autocratic: Persuasive Management Style

In this approach, managers harness their persuasive abilities to persuade employees that the manager's unilateral decisions are in the best interest of the team, department, or organization.

Instead of merely issuing directives to employees, managers who adopt this style encourage inquiries while providing insights into the decision-making process, and the reasons behind the policies. This fosters a sense of trust and value among employees, making them feel more integral to the workforce and engaged in crucial business decisions. Consequently, it helps reduce levels of resentment or tension in the relationship between management and staff.



You can build a higher level of trust, which will encourage the employees to accept the top-down decisions more easily.

Most to some employees will feel the restrictions, becoming frustrated that their feedback is not received or that their solutions are not valued.

Employees will respond more positively to reason and logic, rather than threats and punishment. They will feel more valued and less restricted.

When to use: This style is best when you have more experience on the subject than your team or you are managing upwards. Essentially, you are named the expert.

3. Autocratic: Paternalistic Management Style

In this approach, the manager operates with the well-being of their employees as their primary concern.

Typically, the organization may refer to its staff as a 'family' and request loyalty and trust from its employees.

Managers employing this style make unilateral decisions but provide explanations to employees, emphasizing that these decisions are grounded in their expertise, and thus, possess legitimacy. While decisions are communicated to employees, there is no opportunity for collaboration or questioning.



You are focused on the well-being of your employees and will base your decisions on what is best for them.

Employees will become too dependent on you, causing their innovation and problem-solving skills to be reduced.

You will value upskilling which will lead to happier and more productive employees.

Some employees can push back the "organisation is a family" concept.

Some employees might feel like they are being treated like a child rather than an adult.

When to use: Smaller businesses could find this method effective, while larger companies should avoid this. In terms of culture, this can vary from country to country.

democratic management styles from paradelta strategy
Democratic Management Styles

In this approach, managers foster employee participation in the decision-making process while retaining ultimate responsibility for the final choices.

Communication flows bidirectionally, encompassing both top-down and bottom-up channels, resulting in enhanced team cohesion.

This method facilitates the incorporation of a wide range of opinions, skills, and ideas into the decision-making process.

4. Democratic: Consultative Management Style

Within this approach, managers actively seek the input and insights of their team, valuing the perspectives of every team member.

While the ultimate decision rests with the manager, they carefully weigh all the information provided by team members before reaching a conclusion.

This style is frequently employed in specialized domains, where staff members are subject matter experts, and their contributions are essential for management to make well-informed decisions.



Builds trust and strong bonds with your teams.

It is time-intensive.

Management grows with the team. Ideas, opinions, and experiences are learned, leading to greater improvements.

The amount of labour required is creased, meaning if a manager has bad time management they can become overwhelmed.

Innovation is encouraged, leading to more problems being resolved.

If the employees feel there is favouritism or that their voice isn't being heard, then it will breed resentment and distrust.

Excessive use can lead to the employees questioning the abilities of their manager. Thoughts of "why am I doing my boss's job" will occur.

When to use: You should use this style when managing teams with specialized skills.

5. Democratic: Participative Management Style

In this approach, both managers and staff actively participate in the decision-making process.

Employees are provided with greater access to information concerning the company and its objectives, fostering an environment that encourages innovative solutions.

Management actively solicits the insights, ideas, and viewpoints of the staff, collaborates with them to reach decisions, and subsequently implements them within the company.



Employees feel valued and will have increased motivation and productivity.

The process can be slow. More dominant personalities can take over, causing issues with others.

Higher connection with the organisation's goals is achieved. Increasing innovation.

Company secrets can be leaked as more staff members will have access to sensitive information.

Not all employees will want to be part of the decision-making. These individuals can build resentment towards their manager.

When to use: When you want to drive more innovation within your company. Alternatively, you are looking to implement large organizational changes with employees who are showing resistance to new concepts or strategies.

6. Democratic: Collaborative Management Style

Within this approach, management establishes an inclusive platform for thorough discussions of ideas before reaching decisions through majority consensus. Staff members are empowered to assume responsibility for outcomes, potentially resulting in heightened engagement, innovation, and creativity.



Employees will feel trusted, valued, and heard.

It can be time-consuming.

Collaboration is strengthened as employees are encouraged to work together to solve problems.

The majority will rule, which is not always the best way for the business to move forward.

A higher degree of communication is achieved.

Turnover is reduced as employee engagement is increased.

When to use: When you want your business to have increased innovation, collaboration, and engaged employees. Especially when the organization or industry is going through some large changes.

7. Democratic: Transformational Management Style

In this approach, management prioritizes agility and growth.

Managers dedicate their energy to propelling their staff towards continuous achievements by fostering encouragement, regularly pushing them beyond their comfort zones, and consistently motivating their teams to elevate their standards of accomplishment.

Managers collaborate closely with their employees, motivating their teams to reach new heights through the example of their own strong work ethic.



Innovation is increased, and the employees will be highly adaptable to change.

Monitoring is required as your staff could show signs of burnout.

The employees will show elevated problem-solving skills, creating company-wide benefits.

Similarly, spreading the capacity of your employees too thin, can reduce productivity in other areas.

When to use: This style will help your team be more agile, flexible, and innovative, and is best used in fast-paced industries or those expecting big changes.

8. Democratic: Coaching Management Style

Within this approach, managers assume the role of a coach, with their employees regarded as esteemed team members.

The manager's primary responsibility is to nurture and steer their team, emphasizing their team's professional growth as a top priority. This style prioritizes long-term development over short-term setbacks, with a strong emphasis on promoting learning, upskilling, and fostering growth within the workplace.



Employees feel valued knowing that they will learn and develop within their roles.

Potential toxic environments can eventuate as employee jealousy can occur over favoured roles.

A strong bond will develop between the managers and the employees, which will encourage the workers to do their best work.

Long-term development focus can lead to forgetting about the short-term.

When to use: Use this style when you want to promote from within. Especially in industries with competitive job markets, as recruiting from outside your organisation can be expensive and take a lot of time.

laissez-faire management styles from paradelta strategy
Laissez-Faire Management Styles

Management adopts a hands-off leadership style. Essentially, employees are entrusted to carry out their tasks independently, with the autonomy to make decisions and solve problems.

Management's involvement in this style is primarily concentrated on delegation and the final delivery of work. Otherwise, they step back and grant employees the freedom to manage their workflow and outcomes. Management only becomes engaged in the process when requested by the staff.

Note: "Laissez-faire" is French for "let it happen"

9. Laissez-Faire: Delegative Management Style

In this approach, the manager's role primarily involves task assignment, while maintaining overall responsibility for successful task completion. Once the task is delegated, employees are granted the authority to execute their work according to their discretion.

Upon task completion, the manager reengages to evaluate the work and offers guidance for enhancing future projects.



Innovation is highly encouraged, especially in businesses with highly skilled workers.

No leadership can lead to lower productivity.

Problem-solving and teamwork are strengthened. Staff are given the autonomy to work together to solve their issues.

Direction, focus, and uniformity can be lost.

Employees wanting autonomy will feel great satisfaction.

Poorly managed conflicts can be left unresolved and breed resentment.

Some employees may resent their manager, feeling that they are not contributing anything towards the team's success.

When to use: Use this style in organizations with decentralized leadership and where the team members are more highly skilled than the manager.

10. Laissez-Faire: Visionary Management Style

In this approach, managers provide leadership through inspiration and motivation.

They articulate their objectives and the underlying rationale, persuading their team to align with their vision.

Team members are driven by their manager's inspiration and are then granted the autonomy to accomplish their tasks with minimal intervention. Managers periodically check in but have confidence that the shared vision will keep employees on course, yielding positive outcomes.

Throughout and after the process, managers provide abundant constructive feedback to support their employees and readily offer praise.



Employee engagement is high as they believe in what they are creating and doing.

Not all managers can perform this style as it cannot be faked.

Employees are satisfied, leading to low turnover.

Innovation is higher and potentially faster.

When to use: This style is especially good in high-innovation companies such as tech and science, or companies with a very strong purpose such as non-profits.

What Style Should You Do?

As mentioned earlier, an effective manager has the capability to be able to switch between styles as needed. However, in summary, you might have noticed some trends across the styles.

  • 1 to 10: As you go up through the styles you will notice that innovation increases, autonomy increases, and the employee skill level increases.

  • 10 to 1: As you go down through the styles you will notice that the skill level goes down, staff turnover increases, manager decision-making control increases, and management becomes more hands-on (more strict, micromanagement).

management styles in comparison from paradelta strategy

What Should You Do Next?

Have some self-reflection on how you manage your team and what outcomes you require for the business.

  • Does it align with the organisational goals?

  • Is the business achieving the growth you desire?

  • Do you require a culture shift, or is something else occurring within the business?

If you need assistance with these questions then reach out to Paradelta Strategy, a group of strategic business advisors that can help grow your business.

In fact, over the years, Paradelta Strategy has helped businesses all across Australia to grow and expand, nationally and internationally, and grow significantly in profits. To get assistance with your business, simply email us at or schedule a no-obligation discovery call here.

paradelta strategy business growth consultants


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