What Kind of Leader Are You? 6 Management Styles to Inspire You

5 minutes read -
Coworkers with different management styles

Table of Contents

Summary: Your management style says a lot about who you are as a leader. We will discuss the 6 major management styles and how they work.


What does it mean to be a leader?

Is it simply the guidance of those who look up to you? Or is it perhaps something more — something deeper, something more intuitive?

Each manager, employer, director, and supervisor is a leader. They’re responsible for maintaining company directives, as well as guiding the employees they work with to greater levels of productivity and proficiency.

If you’re in such a position, how do you manage those you work with? Which of the many management styles do you employ to your advantage?

If you’re responsible for the production and well-being of your co-workers, you’ll want to learn more about these 6 key management styles and how they work.

Different Personalities? Different Types of Leaders

Before we delve into the components of different management styles and how you can learn to wield them to your advantage, we must first acknowledge one very important factor in what determines which management style is right for you:

Your personality.

Believe it or not, your natural talents and dispositions will play a large role in the management style you successfully utilize.

good management style is never one-size-fits-all, and that’s why different management styles must be explored in turn so you can select the approach that fits you: who you are, and the talents and abilities you bring to the table.

Use the MBTI to Determine Your Personality Type

If you want a quick peek into the many facets that make you YOU, give an accredited personality test a try.

A reputable personality test can be taken online called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Receiving your basic results is free, and the test takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Learning more about your personality will help you determine which of the different management styles will work best for you.

Man presenting to colleagues

What Are the 6 Management Styles?

There are six different management styles we’ll explore together, but keep in mind that no one style is necessarily any better than the other.

It’s also important to note that these styles can be interchanged with one another depending on the circumstance. A truly effective manager will be able to select the management style that best suits the situation.

Here are the six different management styles we’ll be discussing:

  • Directive
  • Authoritative
  • Affiliative
  • Participative
  • Pacesetting
  • Coaching

Style #1: Directive

Also called the autocratic style, this type of management is characterized by a top-down approach. The manager makes the decision, and all others below must fall into line.

The manager that utilizes this style will expect full compliance from their subordinates. There’s little room for error here, and discipline for mistakes is often swift and severe.

The directive manager focuses carefully on the performance of employees and isn’t afraid to deliver threats in the face of failed standards.

Style #2: Authoritative

The authoritative, or visionary style, employs the use of providing tangible, long-term direction for the team.

The manager in this role will make clear the vision they have for the future, and will also set about a concrete plan for how to get there.

Employees are given more freedom under this management style, although an authoritative manager isn’t afraid to step in and give fair and constructive feedback.

Style #3: Affiliative

This style puts the greatest emphasis on the well-being of the employees. A ‘put people first’ strategy, the affiliative manager seeks to make their subordinates feel valued and satisfied.

Because in this management style employees are put first and output is placed second, there is some risk of mediocre employee performance. However, some arguments suggest that the affiliative management style may actually increase employee output due to their being in a healthier, happier mental state.

Style #4: Participative

This style is also called the democratic style of management, and it encourages the active participation of all employees.

A participative manager will seek to receive the contributions of all their subordinates before making decisions. This may sometimes slow company progress, but it does help boost team morale, as all employees feel valued and trusted.

Style #5: Pacesetting

In the pacesetting management style, the manager sets the pace of production. Often, the pace will be swift, and some employees will find this challenging.

A pacesetting manager will complete tasks to a high degree of excellence to serve as an example for employees. This management style has high expectations of its employees, but production is often high quality and efficient.

Style #6: Coaching

The coaching manager, or developmental manager, is highly focused on the professional development of their employees.

In this managing role, the manager will have a hands-on approach to coaching and encouraging new skillsets in subordinates. This often fosters a strong bond with employees and they come to view their manager as a coach or teacher, as opposed to a boss.

These different management styles all emphasize different approaches to handling and guiding employees. Which of these management styles speaks to you the most?

Woman writing on a whiteboard

The Importance of Different Conflict Management Styles

Managing people means managing conflict. The two march hand in hand, and there isn’t much that can be done about avoiding it.

So, that’s where different conflict management styles can help you navigate the tricky landscape of settling disputes among employees.

What is conflict management? It’s the ability to identify and navigate conflicts in a fair and efficient manner.

Good conflict management boils down to the inherent understanding that conflict is:

  1. Natural and healthy.
  2. Unavoidable.
  3. Beneficial.

Realizing and accepting these three key attributes to conflict will help you better navigate the challenge of conflict when it arises.

1. Conflict is natural

Conflict is a natural and healthy part of life! Why? Because conflict simply indicates that people have morals, beliefs, and ideals and that they aren’t willing to abandon these beliefs because someone else thinks otherwise.

This is a good thing! If we only ever accepted what others told us at face value and never bothered to question things for ourselves, who knows what wild nonsense we might believe?

Having values and beliefs is good, and expressing those ideas is also good. This is how we learn from one another.

Conflict is merely the convergence of differing opinions. It’s entirely normal and totally okay.

2. Conflict is unavoidable

Now, while not entirely true (some conflicts are avoidable!), this is still fairly accurate. Conflict, for the most part, is unavoidable. We can try to tip-toe around it and may succeed for a while, but sooner or later everything that gets swept under the rug boils to the surface.

If we are willing to accept that conflict is natural, and unavoidable, we’re much more willing to grapple with the challenges it poses.

There are many differing ideas, opinions, preferences, and beliefs in the world. People simply aren’t going to agree with each other all the time. And that’s okay!

3. Conflict can be beneficial

Sound far-fetched? Well, it’s true! Conflict can be beneficial.

Conflict gives us the opportunity to voice our opinions. It gives us the chance to hear from others, and learn more about who they are. In a strange way, conflict brings us closer to others, providing an intimate look into another person’s deeply held convictions and ideas.

Conflict, when navigated well, can be a wonderful opportunity for growth. And, it can serve as a catalyst for new friendships, partnerships, and social connections.

Learning more about conflict management styles isn’t just beneficial for your professional life — it’s a great way to increase your interpersonal skills too.

Shannon Terrell

Shannon Terrell

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