The first style is autocratic management. This is the manager that makes all the decisions, he is the ultimate authority without accepting any suggestions from employees. The motto of this type is “do what I tell you”. Management closely controls the employees potentially veering into “micromanaging territory”. Employees have little autonomy often feeling replaceable as the job has been laid out step by step for them. This style of management is effective in industries where deviations are risky or when there is a crisis in the company. The downside to the autocratic style is that employees do not have opportunity for growth and learning. There is no creativity or ownership of the job which leads higher skilled employees to resent the controlling management.
The opposite of the autocratic manager is the democratic manager whose motto is “everyone has input”. This manager motivates by rewarding team effort. The group consensus is the final decision which might not always be the best decision. This approach works well with teams where diversity is important and each person has something valuable to offer. Employees are encouraged to give input into the daily operation of the business. Individual voices and contributions are heard by management. This creates a more welcoming environment for ideas and innovation. The employee experience is enhanced by employees having a platform. Overall, the democratic management style has a more cumulative positive effect on the workforce. The disadvantage of this type can be evident in environments such as highly regulated industries like the military. Safety and security take priority over independence of the employees in those work settings.
Finally, the most casual approach to management is the delegative or laissez-faire management style. This manager delegates all the decision making to the employees providing no guidance on what to do. The key benefit of the laissez faire management style is that employees are self-motivated to work at higher intensity/pace to accomplish task they’ve assigned to themselves. Also, employees have a better work/life balance which improves employee retention and morale. The disadvantages of this casual approach to management is that it doesn’t work for all employee types. Some people want to be told what to do feeling lost without directions. Moreover, delegative managers may put employees in positions which do not match their abilities setting up the employee to fail. Overall, this management type has little chance of succeeding in most work environments.
The goal of effective management is to understand the employees, task, and industry adapting a management style that best complements the business objectives. While there are distinct styles of management, there are times where the most successful management tactics will be a hybrid of styles. The autocratic style is focused on controlling the experience of the employees while the democratic manager leads by group consensus. The laissez faire manager is hands off leaving the employees to self-manage. The choice of management style is important in shaping the employee experience and the direction of the organization.