Management Styles definition

Management styles are the principles that underline the methods, abilities and techniques managers use in handling situations and expressing leadership within an organisation. Generally speaking, managerial styles are polarised between autocratic and permissive, although each style has its own subtleties.

Autocratic managers make decisions without input from other stakeholders and their interactions with others are based on communicating these decisions – directive autocrats also supervise subordinates closely, while permissive autocrats give employees some degree of freedom in how they work towards a goal. Persuasive managers draw heavily from the autocratic style but they also make efforts to convince employees of the benefits of the decisions they’ve made.

Consultative managers differ slightly from autocratic managers in that they try to make decisions that take into account employee needs, but the flow of information is almost exclusively top-down i.e. employees are not allowed to offer feedback.

Permissive managers, also known as democratic managers, allow staff to offer some form input into the decision-making process and this input is typically considered (to varying degrees) when making decisions.

Management by walking around (MBWA) is a historical style, remaining popular, that involves managers being ‘on the floor’ for as much time as possible in order to gather information and viewpoints from employees which can then be fed back into the decision-making process.

The chaotic management style is relatively new – employees are given control over the decision-making process, producing an organisation that is very flat with authority often based around departments or divisions.

Here are some of our features, insight and opinion pieces discussing and exploring management styles:

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