Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

On April 25, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

“The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership- they are skilled at several and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.”  Daniel Goleman

Management style depends on the task, the people and the situation that needs to be managed.

Daniel Goleman has identified six different management styles, each of which may be appropriate depending on the specific situation:

  1. Directive
  2. Authoritative
  3. Affiliative
  4. Participative
  5. Pacesetting
  6. Coaching

The most effective managers move from one style to another to get the best outcome, adopting the one that meets the needs of the moment. An effective manager’s repertoire should include many different management styles.

Six Management Styles
Management StyleMain ObjectiveCharacteristicsMotivational ApproachUse Do Not Use
1.  Directive

“Do it the way I tell you to do it”

Immediate employee complianceMicromanages;

Closely controls employees


Uses threats and disciplineThere is a crisis;

Deviations are risky

Employees need to learn and  develop;

Employees are highly skilled

2.  Authoritative

“Come with me”

Long term direction and visionProvides clear direction


Uses persuasion and performance feedbackClear directions and standards are needed;

The manager has credibility

Employees need to learn and develop;

The manager has no credibility

3.  Affiliative

“People come first”

Harmony at all levels in the organizationAvoids conflict

Wants employees to have good personal relationships


Tries to keep people happyTasks are routine;

Performance is adequate;

Employees need counseling;

Conflict needs to be managed

Performance is not adequate;

There is a crisis


4.  Participative

“What do you think?”

Employee commitment and consensusEncourages employee input in decision makingRewards team effortEmployees work well together;

Employees have experience and credibility;

The work environment is steady

Employees need to be coordinated;

There is a crisis;

Employees require close supervision


5.  Pacesetting

“Do as I do, now”

Achievement excellencePersonally performs many tasks;

Expects employees to follow his/her example

Sets high standards and

expects self-directed employees

Highly motivated and competent employees;

Employees are experts;

Little direction or coordination is needed

Workload requires assistance from others;

Development, coaching and coordination are required

6.  Coaching

“Try this”

Long-term employee professional developmentHelps/ encourages employees to develop their strengths and improve their performanceProvides opportunities for professional developmentSkill development is needed;

Employees are motivated and want to develop

The manager lacks expertise;

A poor performer refuses to improve;

There is a crisis

May your learning be sweet.


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