7 Effective Management Styles: Which One You Should Adopt and When?


According to Gallup research, organizations choose the wrong manager 82% of the time. Despite being one of the most critical decisions a company makes, it is surprising to see them getting it wrong so many times. A long-term study conducted by Leadership IQ found that most often, the problem lies with the management style adopted by the manager instead of their capability to manage a team.

They end up choosing the wrong management style that is unfit for that organization or culture. This can have dire consequences as it can:

  • Poor employee engagement
  • Decrease employee productivity
  • Negatively impact the quality of work
  • Increase employee turnover
  • Reduce profitability

In this article, you will learn about the seven best management styles and which one you should adopt and when.

7 Types of Management Styles

Here are seven different types of leadership and management styles.

  1. Visionary
  2. Transformational
  3. Democratic
  4. Coaching
  5. Autocratic
  6. Servant
  7. Transactional

Let’s look at each one in detail.

1. Visionary

Managers who follow visionary management style share their vision, give their subordinates a direction, keep them united and encourage them to strive to achieve a common goal. Instead of telling the employees how to do their work, they believe in employee empowerment and let their employees do their work as long as they continue to achieve their milestones. Such managers check in on their team occasionally to see whether they are on the right track and give their feedback.

When Should You Use Visionary Management Style?

A visionary management style is an excellent choice if your team is divided and you want to unite them for a common cause. Additionally, it can also work for experienced teams who require little to no supervision and work well when applied on a team, which is going through a transition or change.



  • Not focuses on the details

2. Transformational

Transformational managers believe in change and want to bring innovations to accelerate business growth. As a result, they push their subordinates to their limits, challenge the status quo and ask them to get out of their comfort zone. This makes them realize their true potential and unlock the world of possibilities.

Due to this management style, their team can adapt and respond to industry changes more efficiently. This gives them an edge over their competitors and introduces innovations faster.

When Should You Use Transformational Management Style?

The transformational management style is an ideal choice for teams requiring little supervision and are ready to move fast. It can also work well for teams that handle multiple tasks simultaneously.


  • Faster growth
  • Dedicated and motivated employees
  • Improved change management
  • Focus on company’s objectives


  • Risk of negative outcomes

3. Democratic

As the name suggests, democratic management style gives control to people and lets them participate in the decisions making process by giving their input. This means that employees have their say in every decision manager’s make. Most employees love this management style as it makes them feel more valued, boost their morale and help them build a long-lasting relationship with their managers.

When Should You Use Democratic Management Style?

If the morale of your team is low and they want to have some influence in the decision-making process of your company, then there is no better option than a democratic management style.


  • Improves employee participation and engagement
  • Innovative ideas


  • Slows down the decision-making process
  • Hurt employee feelings whose suggestion was not considered

4. Coaching

Have you ever been a part of a professional sports team? If yes, then you might be aware of the role that coaches play. Similarly, managers who follow coaching management style divert all their energies towards their employee’s professional development. They want to see their employees grow so much so that they are even ready to accommodate for short term failures of their employees for long term gains.

Such managers assign their employees new roles and responsibilities by promoting them, which helps them learn new things. Moreover, they also provide their employees with learning opportunities and believe in teaching their employees new skills, which can help them in taking their careers to the next level.

When Should You Use Coaching Management Style?

If you think that your employees need some training, new skills or knowledge, apply coaching management style. Remember, this management style will only work when your employees are willing to learn, develop and improve their competence.


  • Increase the thirst for knowledge and skill development
  • Establish a strong bond between manager and subordinates
  • More career growth opportunities


  • Could promote unhealthy competition amongst employees

5. Autocratic

In autocratic management, employees at the top of the hierarchy have all the decision-making powers and don’t involve subordinates in the decision-making process. The worst part, autocratic managers don’t want to listen “No” from their employees and want their subordinates to accept all their decisions.

Employees who resist their decisions get punished. This creates a culture of fear in the organization and kills innovation. Employees don’t have any choice but to accept everything the managers say. Instead of convincing their subordinates to buy into their vision, they forcefully get their approval.

When Should You Use Autocratic Management Style?

The only time this type of management style makes sense is when a company has to make some quick decisions and is going through a crisis.


  • Could positively impact employee performance in some cases
  • Quick decision making


  • Create a negative workplace environment
  • Use of force
  • Create a feeling of fear, shame and guilt

6. Servant

Servant managers care more about the well being of their employees than tasks and results. These types of managers go above and beyond in order to support their employees. If you want to practice servant management style, you must have strong interpersonal skills, coaching skills as well as know-how of jobs your employees are performing. Jack Ma, the former CEO of Alibaba, followed servant management style. He believed in fostering love and supporting his employees and that is what made him great.

When Should You Use Servant Management Style?

Servant management style works best in organizations where performance and results are not the main priority. It can also be a good option for teams that have highly skilled professionals.


  • Improve trust and collaboration
  • Focus on people


  • Not applicable everywhere
  • Not suitable for performance-oriented organizations

7. Transactional

Transactional managers know that their employees love incentives and rewards, so they use it to motivate them. They will reward their employees with quarterly or biannual bonuses, so their employees obey them. The core principle of transactional management style is that you can motivate your employees by offering them extrinsic rewards.

When Should You Use Transactional Management Style?

The transactional management style must be implemented in an organization where an accountability system exists. This means that if the employee does well, he should be rewarded. Never use this management style to get undue favors from employees as it can backfire.


  • Encourages employees to perform tasks they are not interested in
  • Useful for achieving short term objectives


  • Extensive use can have a negative impact on employee motivation
  • Extrinsic rewards are less effective
  • Does not work for increasing employee workload and working hours indefinitely

Which management style do you follow and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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