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Discover 4 Management Styles: Find Yours!

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Dive into the world of management styles in this article. You'll learn four primary management practices and gain a deeper understanding of their impact on your team's morale, productivity, and overall engagement.

The most important findings:

  • Democratic management emphasizes feedback, while autocratic style centralizes decisions.
  • Transformational managers push for growth, while coaching managers emphasize team development.
  • Visionary management focuses on communicating overarching goals without micromanagement.
  • The “hands-off” approach gives employees more autonomy and responsibility.
  • Recognizing and adapting your own leadership style is central to effective leadership and team success.

According to Gallup, only about 30% of employees feel engaged at work.

That's a shocking statistic, and a lot of it can be attributed to how they're run.

Considering that most companies are always trying to find ways to motivate their employees because they know that productivity and accuracy are high with engaged employees, it is surprising that the percentage remains so low. Even if you know what leadership styles and characteristics employees are looking for, the low engagement rate doesn't seem to change.

A lot depends on leadership style, the simple process of achieving goals through the way a manager leads his team.

It's not fair to put all the burden and blame on management. Keeping all employees fully engaged and productive is a virtually impossible task. Not only do you have to deal with contrasting personalities and work styles, but depending on the task, you also have to manage a complicated, shift-dependent workforce.

But you must at least be clear about what your leadership style is and whether it is part of the problem or the solution. There are many types of managers and management methods. Do you know what your leadership style is? Do you know if it is appropriate or effective for the workforce you are trying to manage?

We help you find out your leadership style. Find out what changes you need to make to be a more effective manager of your team.

1.Democratic vs. autocratic leadership styles

The democratic leadership style is all about the feedback and input from your employees.

While final decisions are ultimately made by management (unless you allow employees to find consensus on decisions), employees can provide suggestions for the final decision. This is a very collaborative approach. When your team feels comfortable with each other, they will provide you with the most diverse contributions.

Employees whose managers take a democratic approach have higher morale. They may also feel like they have a say in the future of their company. Since the commitment and motivation of employees is naturally high with this leadership style, they feel valued and are more likely to stay with the company because they can help steer the ship.

The disadvantage of a democratic approach is that it takes more time to make decisions. The process involved in collecting and fairly evaluating contributions also has its own pitfalls.

The opposite of a democratic leadership style?


If you are an autocratic manager, you insist that everything goes from the top down. All decisions and role descriptions come from you. You expect your employees to follow instructions carefully, knowing that you can stop by at any moment to see what they are doing.

Your personality affects how the autocratic approach is implemented. Some managers come with an iron fist ("my way or the highway!"), while others achieve the same autocratic results in a gentler way, with a different mix of persuasion and a kind, fatherly approach that bears the burden of all decisions.

The autocratic leadership style is advantageous in that decisions can be made quickly. It can also be helpful if there is a lot of chaos and turmoil in your organization that you need to clear quickly. In a shift-based environment where there are many shift changes, overlaps, and an ever-changing mix of employees, an autocratic approach can make sense. This is particularly true for industries that produce products or services that must meet strict quality and performance requirements.

But generally people don't like it, even if you take a gentler approach.

People resist management controlling them so completely. This is especially true if you are an authoritarian personality who tends to want power and control. You have no say, and most employees resent the micromanagement that comes with this management style. Those who don't resist may rely on you for everything and, in some ways, withdraw because they can. Autocratic management can easily lead to higher employee turnover and low morale.

2.Transformational vs. coaching leadership styles

On the surface, there are similarities between transformational and coaching leadership styles because both are about the growth and improvement of employees. Think of transformational managers as the accelerator of a car, while the coaching manager is the steering wheel.

Transformation managers push their employees to develop further, they want to stay ahead of trends and always stay up to date. They want their employees to achieve great things instead of settling down and sticking to what they know.

Employees who have managers like this are very engaged and happy and look forward to coming to work and seeing what new and exciting things they can accomplish that day. On the other hand, if you constantly push and push your team, they will burn out.

Coaching managers want their team to grow too, but they put their team's priorities ahead of the company's. Instead of letting innovations and trends drive them to excel, they focus on professional development with a long-term view.

Employees who have a coaching manager feel valued and connected to their manager. They will want to do their best work. The downside is that some employees will figure out how to exploit the system and divide the team. It's also difficult to stay agile and get projects done quickly when the long-term perspective is more important.

3.Visionary leadership styles

Visionary managers are all about giving their employees a clear idea of what they want to achieve.

It's not enough to think of yourself as a visionary when it comes to leading in this way. You also need to avoid patronizing your employees and forcing them to achieve your vision your way. Instead, your job is to get the vision right so employees can implement it.

A lot of trust is placed in employees to both embrace the vision and implement it in a way that achieves the big picture. Employees who like autonomy and creative freedom will love visionary managers. Those who want precise instructions will have a hard time.

If you like having more control, this will be a difficult management approach. If you run a company with well-defined performance goals and boundaries, including quality controls that must meet industry standards, a purely visionary approach can also present difficulties.

4.Non-committal management style

This leadership style, sometimes referred to as a "laissez-faire" approach, consciously takes a step back to give employees more control (and more responsibility). This type of leader can rely on delegation, assigning work and then trusting employees to complete it. There is also some overlap with the visionary approach, where expectations are broad and employees can decide how to meet them.

If you have a workforce that doesn't have many new employees, has proven to be reliable, and works well together as a team that knows what to do, this leadership style works. With a team of highly qualified employees, constant monitoring is not necessary.

This approach leads to greater leadership within the team and more innovation because employees know they are trusted. Great trust means high employee loyalty.

This leadership style doesn't work if you have employees who are disengaged, who have poor attitudes, who are not motivated, or who need specific direction or structure to get their work done. If there is disagreement in the team or employees think that you are lazy and leave the work to them, chaos and arguments will arise. If you need a consistent approach or output, this leadership style would also be inappropriate.

The largest management and leadership missions

As you can see, most people will probably end up as a mix of different management types. Depending on your personality, the managers who modeled the behavior, and the demands of your industry, you will likely recognize parts of several of these leadership styles.

While there is no perfect leadership style (or mix of styles), there are some good rules of thumb to avoid your leadership style causing serious problems on your team:

  • Is there favoritism? Employees can exploit or abuse almost any leadership style. Be careful not to favor some more than others, whether unintentionally or not.
  • Is trouble brewing? Watch (and listen) for signs of problems related to your leadership style. These can be internal divisions, inability to complete projects quickly, hasty/delayed decisions, etc.
  • What about fluctuation? Keep an eye on employee turnover as it is a good indicator of a leadership style that isn't working. Conduct exit interviews and listen to what employees give as a reason for leaving.
  • Is productivity up to standard? Pay attention to productivity and quality control. It is important to find the right mix between satisfied employees and productivity.

A good question to ask yourself is whether you are managing your team, leading your team, or both?

Leadership is about modeling the qualities you want to see in others. This means you both lead and serve your team by helping them reach the next level. Management is about how you keep everyone on track to achieve a goal. It is ideal if you see yourself as both a leader and a manager and combine the best qualities of both.

How do you get there?

Take a management style quiz to find out more about your own strengths and weaknesses in this area. Learn more about your personality and how you interact with people. Read books and take continuing education courses or coaching on management techniques. When conducting employee interviews, take the time to ask about preferences or feedback from management. Let it be anonymous if that helps. Find out what works and what doesn't.

Being a leader is hard. It is one of the most difficult jobs there is. You can't expect to please everyone or be a perfect leader in every situation. However, if you are aware of your leadership style and what it means, you can make a difference for your employees.

Leadership styles: FAQs

Q: What four leadership styles are covered in this article?
A: The article discusses the following four leadership styles: Democratic vs. Autocratic, Transformational vs. Coaching, Visionary, and Hands-off (Laissez-faire).

Q: What is the democratic leadership style?
A: The democratic leadership style focuses on employee feedback and input. While final decisions rest with management, employees can make suggestions to influence these decisions. This style promotes a collaborative environment and increases employee morale and engagement.

Q: How does the autocratic leadership style differ from the democratic style?
A: Autocratic leadership style is a top-down style in which managers make all decisions and expect employees to strictly follow them. It contrasts with the democratic style, where employees have a say and are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions.

Q: Can you explain the transformational leadership style?
A: Transformational leaders push their employees to evolve by seeking to stay ahead of trends and encourage continuous innovation. They strive to see their teams achieve greatness rather than stick to the status quo. However, there is a risk that employees will burn out if they are constantly put under pressure.

Q: What is special about the coaching leadership style?
A: Coaching managers prioritize the growth and professional development of their team. They focus on the long term and put their team's priorities ahead of the company's, so that employees feel valued and connected to their leadership.

Q: How do visionary managers work?
A: Visionary managers provide an overview of their goals and expectations but avoid micromanagement. They trust that their employees will grasp and implement the vision independently. This style is suitable for employees who value creative freedom, but can be challenging for those who want concrete guidance.

Q: What does the “hands-off” (laissez-faire) management style entail?
A: The “hands-off” or “laissez-faire” leadership style gives employees more control and responsibility. Managers delegate tasks and trust employees to complete them without constant supervision. This style works best with experienced and cohesive teams, but can be problematic with less engaged employees.

Q: How can I determine which leadership style is best for my team?
A: It's important to be clear about your team's specific needs and dynamics. Consider factors such as employee experience, type of tasks, team cohesion, and industry requirements. A leadership style quiz and feedback from your team can also be helpful.

Q: Is it possible for a leader to exhibit characteristics of more than one leadership style?
A: Yes, many managers can recognize elements of several of the leadership styles mentioned. Depending on your personality, previous influences, and the needs of the industry, a hybrid approach that combines the best qualities of different styles may be most effective.

Uncover your leadership style to drive team success with IceHrm's support. Empower your leadership journey and foster a thriving work environment.

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