Which of these 3 management styles will you embrace next year?

The upcoming year is a perfect time to consider the type of manager you were over the course of this year, so you can determine if it worked—and if it’s worth continuing in the future.

Here’s a look at three common management styles, and the pros, cons and critical considerations that come along with each.

Participatory management

Do you agree with this statement? A happy employee is empowered to run with projects from kick off through completion.

If you do, you probably embrace a participatory management style. There are varying degrees of participatory management, and there’s a fine line between a participatory manager, and one who is disengaged.

True participatory management requires that you invest time into having intentional, ongoing dialogue with those you lead, the ability to clearly communicate specific details and requirements, and to check in with their progress proactively. Done well, however, participatory management can keep employees motivated, involved and thriving.

Tough Talks D

To “win” as a participatory manager, make sure you establish an ongoing communication loop with everyone on your team. This equips you to know what your staff are doing and support them accordingly, and more importantly, to stay connected with them so you know how to strategically challenge them with work that keeps their creative momentum, productivity and engagement at peak levels.

If you delegate tasks with ease, have a track record of retaining employees and keeping them reasonably happy and involved in their jobs, a participatory management style may be serving you and your team well.

Despite that Steve Jobs “tried on” many different leadership styles over the course of his career, his later years at Apple established him as a participatory leader who became adept at hiring experts and encouraging them to grow.


Do you tend to assign projects to staff based more on business needs than consideration for their interests or career goals? Are you accustomed to giving employees clear direction regarding what is needed, when, why, and how you’d like the project to be handled? If so, you probably have an autocratic management style.

Autocratic managers are skilled at building efficient and productive teams, and they do so by giving clear direction that leaves little room for interpretation (or misunderstanding). Some employees appreciate the clear communication and instructions, but it’s important to understand the personality and work style of your staff in order to succeed with this management style. Not all workers want creative freedom, but those with the highest potential to take on leadership positions of their own may.

If you have a track record of “butting heads” with high performing employees, or a history of managing teams with higher rates of turnover, make sure your style of “getting the job done” isn’t to the detriment of your staff’s satisfaction.

Another factor that’s critical to autocratic management? Emotional intelligence, and that “X factor” known as likability. The successful autocratic manager can determine which employees need a softer approach, whether it’s additional explanation as to why tasks must be done in a certain way, or some background on why a task important based on the broader organizational goals. Recognizable autocratic leaders include Martha Stewart and Bill Gates.


Do you believe that every person on your team owns one another’s success and failures? That two heads are better than one? You probably have a teamwork-oriented management style. While some managers may struggle to give up the control that this approach requires, it can create highly functioning teams where everyone feels empowered and engaged to reach collective success.

This style essentially removes your role as the leader of the group, but you still need to stay appropriately engaged to clarify objectives, deliverables and final required outputs. If you have no problem giving your team credit for winning outcomes and standing up for them in times of challenge, a teamwork-based management may be the perfect fit for you.

What kind of manager do you want to be next year? Now’s the perfect time to start fine-tuning your style for 2019.