January 20, 2021

Top Management Styles: Which Ones Are Most Effective?

Once upon a time, the word “boss” would have brought to mind a vision of someone barking orders, looking over your shoulder, and doing very little themselves.

Luckily, this isn’t often how the workplace works today! In most organizations, leadership takes on a look of its own, and management styles can vary wildly from person to person, even within the same office. New research on effective management styles brings innovative ideas to the forefront all the time, so it’s hard to know which style to use.

If you’re wondering which leadership styles would work best in your organization, here are some of the most effective options you can choose from.


As you might guess from the name, results-based leadership focuses on results in a few areas: for employees, for customers, and for the organization as a whole. Leaders use employee and project results and performance to plan the path forward, develop their team, and prioritize their actions. In other words, instead of stressing character traits and values, the focus is solely on getting results.


With autocratic leadership, all orders, opinions, and insights come from the top down. Leaders don’t consult the team on decisions, and all members are expected to follow without input. The clear chain of command makes for highly structured workplace atmospheres and can be helpful for big or stressful decisions.


Sometimes called “visionary management”. This leadership style works best for managers who like to use big-picture strategies to chart the path forward. Through authoritative leadership, managers motivate and align their team members to follow and take time for explanation and encouragement.


Leaders who follow the participative style tend to focus on the team, leading by consensus instead of dishing out orders. This style encourages input from all levels of an organization, values opinions, and rewards team effort. It’s often best for experienced and well-coordinated teams that trust each other.


As the name implies, managers who use this leadership style consider themselves coaches, investing in the long-term growth of their employees. The focus here is on helping all team members improve their strengths, which in turn, boosts overall performance. It is great for newer or ambitious teams. It doesn’t always work if you lack the time or expertise for coaching.


With this management style, leaders use the strength of their vision to transform the organization as a whole. It consists of multiple components: intellectual stimulation to encourage followers, individualized consideration to offer support, an inspirational motivation that articulates the vision, and an idealized influence that allows the leader to act as a role model.


Sometimes called democratic or shared leadership, collaborative leadership happens when team decisions come from the team as a whole. It encourages all employees to offer input for problem-solving and strategic thinking. This leadership style can be ideal when multiple opinions are needed or when the team’s input is valuable (such as when the decision will affect the entire team).

It’s worth noting that most offices use a blend of management styles. Many leaders even switch from style to style as the situation demands. The key is to read your team’s needs. Experiment with the styles that work, and find what’s best for your organization’s needs. You might be surprised how a style switch can set your team up for success, so consider making it a personal goal to test them out!

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