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Six Common Types of Management Styles: Which One Suits You? 

5 min read
types of leadership style or management style - factorial

What makes a good manager, boss, or leader? Anyone who has already worked with a couple of different managers will know that there is no straightforward answer to this question. Management styles can differ significantly from each other. While one relies on communication on an equal footing, the other exudes a high degree of charisma just due to their presence.

One management style is not necessarily better or worse than the other. You can lead a team in different ways. This article explores the 6 most common leadership styles and examines which qualities a manager should bring to the table. What type of leadership style is yours? 

Definition: What is a Management & Leadership Styles?

A management style describes the behaviour pattern of superiors towards employees who are in lower professional positions. This includes the behaviour towards individual employees or groups of employees and the procedures in everyday professional life. 

The leadership styles in a company are an essential part of human resource management and say a lot about the corporate culture of a company. How a manager behaves towards their employees is usually related to the manager’s personality and the type of company. After all, startups tend to be must more relaxed in their managerial style than big corporations. However, this does not mean that managerial skills cannot be learned and improved upon.

What Significance Does the Type of Leadership Have in Organisations?

As an essential part of human resource management, the leadership style affects many areas in the company:

  • Work atmosphere
  • Employer image and employer attractiveness
  • Staff turnover
  • Reviews in employer review portals and the number of incoming applications
  • Employee motivation and satisfaction 

The style of management is an influential part of everyday work and thus can correlate with the company’s success. Ineffective management styles will never result in high employee motivation.

The willingness to perform also decreases with dissatisfied employees. As a result, you’ll not be getting the results you want with your team. A good management style ensures that employees enjoy their job and are ready to achieve a lot. If you find that the leadership style you or your employees have followed so far is not achieving the desired results, you should continue reading.

Find out more about the team management skills that every effective leader should possess.

authoritarian leadership style - Factorial HR

Types of Management & Leadership Styles

As mentioned earlier, there are several different management styles. A distinction is made between different models. Those according to Max Weber and Kurt Lewin are among the classic models of personnel management. Weber’s models are divided into autocratic, patriarchal, charismatic, and bureaucratic leadership. Kurt Lewin’s models differentiate between authoritarian, cooperative, democratic, and laissez-faire leadership. 

Authoritarian or Autocratic Management Styles

The autocratic management style is pretty straightforward. Here, important decisions are the sole responsibility of the manager. Employees are not involved in the decision-making process and have to implement requirements according to their manager’s demands.


  • Helpful when needing to make quick decisions
  • Employees are not responsible for the decisions they make


  • Little space for appreciation
  • Leading to an unhealthy working atmosphere
  • No space for out-of-the-box ideas and innovations
  • Outdated 

Patriarchal Management Style

The patriarchal leadership style is similar to the autocratic management style in terms of decision-making. However, the patriarchy in the company sees itself as a father figure who is aware of its responsibility for its employees. Patriarchs also make decisions in the interests of their employees. Managers are often older and more experienced than their employees.


  • Clear instructions and guidelines (see also micromanagement)
  • Greater efficiency
  • Productive environment
  • Direct communication style


  • Little room for new ideas and ways of thinking
  • No space for creativity 
  • Low chances for participating in the decision-making process

Charismatic Management Style

Some people have a natural ability to inspire and motivate other people. People who possess charismatic leadership characteristics are mostly role models who can convey ideas and visions convincingly and charismatically. You are confident and articulate. Employees are given more responsibility, which enables them to work more independently.


  • High motivation
  • Strengthens employee motivation
  • Promotes employee loyalty
  • Employees can identify better with the company


  • Person-dependent, as charisma only arises when it is natural
  • Employees are easier to convince and more likely to be exploited 

Bureaucratic Management Style

The bureaucratic leadership style already provides rules and procedures. This means that work processes are clearly defined and not prescribed by a single manager. Decisions are based on clear guidelines that employees and managers must adhere to. Supervisors are only specified for a certain period of time under this type of leadership style


  • Clear instructions and regulated work processes
  • Low probability of making the wrong decision 
  • Decisions are not made based on personal sympathy but based on given guidelines
  • Scaling the team is easier


  • Hardly any space for changes and ideas
  • Long decision-making paths
  • Small scope for decision-making
  • Demotivation on the part of both employees and superiors 

Cooperative or Democratic Management Style

Managers and employees work in teams, which means that subordinate positions participate in decision-making. Ideas, but also criticism, can be expressed. Managers are responsible for delegating areas of responsibility and, above all, motivating employees. Personal responsibility and self-sufficient work are welcome under this leadership style.


  • Decision-making power does not rest solely with the superiors, which relieves them of additional responsibility.
  • Strengthens employee motivation
  • Strengthens the employees’ sense of responsibility
  • Promotes creativity and innovation
  • Gets good results overall


  • The likelihood of losing control increases if superiors cannot assert themselves
  • Longer decision-making processes through discussions
  • Increased risk of competitive thinking among employees 

If this is a style you like but feel like you could improve, read more about team management and why it is crucial for any company.

collaborative leadership style - Factorial

Laissez-faire Management Style

Under the laissez-faire management style, employees have a vast range of options. You make decisions in a team without the necessary approval from your supervisor. The distribution of tasks is also in the hands of the employees. Superiors only intervene if serious problems arise.


  • Promotes creativity and the development of new ideas
  • Employee motivation
  • Encourages ownership and responsibility
  • Eliminates micro-management


  • Not every employee can deal with too much freedom
  • Possible loss of control
  • Increased risk of competition
  • Lack of communication 
  • Unclear procedures

Find Out Your Management Style

Of course, these leadership styles vary depending on the industry and the task at hand. Therefore, the very best managers tend to combine elements of different management styles. 

Now it’s your turn! Which management style applies to you? Or are you a mix of different types? To find out your leadership style, you need to be honest with yourself and ask yourself critical questions.

Self-Check: What Is Your Leadership Style?

To analyse what is your management style, observe your behaviour towards employees and see if you empower them. An analysis of your behaviour towards friends, family, and acquaintances can also help determine what type of leadership you belong to. We suggest you start with a simple self-assessment:

  • How do you make decisions?
  • How do you go about giving feedback to employees (criticism, appreciation, and praise)?
  • What do you do to motivate your employees?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would you describe and rate your leadership style?
  • How would you rate your communication skills?
  • Who are your role models? What are their characteristics?
  • How do you deal with stress?

Are you wondering which management style you have? Try this simple quiz containing 12 statements based on Kurt Lewin’s leadership style framework. It will help you determine into which leadership category you fall into, providing you with the opportunity to improve on the skills you lack.

Are you considering finding out about the different leadership styles in your company? An employee performance review is a great place to start. It allows you to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your employees to organise training that will help them improve on the skills they lack. If you’re not signed up with Factorial just yet, you can use our 360-degree performance assessment template for free! 

Content and Outreach Marketing Specialist with experience in the Marketing industry since 2015.

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