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What’s Your Management Style?

 |  5 Min Read

One of the most common ways to advance your career is by earning a business degree. Students earned 358,000 business degrees in 2016, making it the most popular bachelor’s degree awarded across the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

But many students don’t stop there – they go on to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Working toward this kind of graduate degree can provide you with additional knowledge and leadership skills that are not only in demand but can also set your application apart from competitors who only obtained a bachelor’s degree.

The number of students with an MBA continues to climb, but so does the demand for them. Organizations are constantly on the lookout for candidates who not only have experience and knowledge but also the specific leadership skills that can help a company grow into the future.

By understanding your management style, you can align your skills with a company’s needs and make effective decisions from day one.

Types of Management Styles

There are many different management styles, but the best leaders have a few things in common: self-awareness and the desire to grow and learn. Management style is an art form that is developed over time. By taking the time to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and overall tendencies, you can begin to strategize how you may adapt your style to better fit the needs of your company and employees. Being able to articulate what kind of manager you are is also invaluable during the interview process. For many hiring managers, the question, “What’s your management style?” is at the top of the list.

There are a number of defined management styles, and while most managers don’t — and shouldn’t — fit perfectly into any category, they serve as a good guide to help understand and cultivate your own unique approach.

  1. Autocratic.
    An autocratic manager generally makes decisions alone, without much input from their team. They exercise close control over their employees and expect subordinates to follow instructions and do their jobs without thinking outside the box. This “my way or the highway” type of dictatorship isn’t really sustainable if your goal is to innovate and foster a team environment. However, in certain situations, it can have its place. During times of crisis or in extremely urgent matters, setting clear tasks and expectations is often necessary to get the job done.
  2. Democratic.
    Just as the name implies, a democratic leader encourages employee input in decision-making. This popular style of management can be extremely effective when your team is knowledgeable and well-trained. If your department is trying to solve a specific problem, this “all hands on deck” approach can help ideate new solutions and create a sense of teamwork. On the other hand, if your team requires a bit of hand-holding, this style may prove extremely unproductive and chaotic.
  3. Coaching
    This developmental manager is dedicated to helping subordinates identify and develop their strengths and weaknesses. Their primary concern is encouraging employees to establish long-term goals and help them to create a plan to achieve them. Though it can be time-consuming, coaching is an important skill that most managers should strive to incorporate into their management style.
  4. Chaotic or Laissez-Fare.
    As unorthodox as it may sound, this management style has proved effective for some of the world’s most innovative companies. A chaotic manager sets high-level goals for the company or department but empowers employees to make their own decisions as to how to achieve them. This “move fast and break things” mentality can be effective in highly creative, fast-paced environments where innovation is the top priority or in a small, startup environment where there is very little risk. For larger, more structured companies, a chaotic management style has its place when working on smaller, less business-critical projects or when employees are highly skilled in their roles.

There are many other different management styles in today’s business world. The ones listed above should help you pinpoint how you tend to engage with employees. By integrating elements from each into your own everyday life, you can begin to develop your own unique management style.

In the online MBA program at Our Lady of the Lake University, you’ll gain an understanding of the management style that best suits you. Request more information or call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions advisor.

What’s Your Management Style?

Management style has a ripple effect on a business and is often associated with a company’s success.

It’s important for managers to consider which leadership style best fits their personality and their business.

Managers should focus on obtaining leadership skills that will shape the future workforce. A survey from McKinsey & Co.1 shows the most in-demand skills include defining expectations, inspiring employees, and encouraging risk-taking.

“What’s Your Management Style?”

Use this handy guide that defines the four most common types of management styles.


Leadership Characteristics

  • Makes decisions alone, doesn’t consult a team
  • Exercises close control over employees
  • Expects employees to follow procedures and not stray from them

Style Best Suited For

  • Times of crises or extreme change
  • Times when specific tasks must be done under tight deadlines


Leadership Characteristics

  • Encourages employee input to make decisions
  • Promotes teamwork to accomplish tasks together
  • Fosters creative thinking to solve problems

Style Best Suited For

  • Teams that are cohesive and well trained
  • Businesses that thrive on creativity and teamwork


Leadership Characteristics

  • Access the strengths and weaknesses of each employee
  • Helps staff set and achieve individual goals that benefit the company
  • Fosters a sense of pride in achieving maximum potential

Style Best Suited For

  • Times of transition
  • Younger staff who can benefit from experienced managers
  • Businesses that want to invest in employees long term


Leadership Characteristics

  • Sets high achieving goals
  • Allows each employee to decide how to accomplish the goal
  • Encourages individuality and teamwork at the same time

Style Best Suited For

  • Startups
  • Creative companies that thrive on making the next best thing
  • Teams that are highly trained in a niche market

Students working toward an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University will acquire these skills and learn about management styles that are effective in today’s challenging business landscape.

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