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What’s your management style?


Have you ever thought about what type of manager you are? Of course, you’ll want to be a good, fair and approachable manager, but there is so much more to effective leadership than this.

According to extensive analysis carried out by Hay-McBer Associates, people’s management styles fall into six distinct categories:


Coercive managers could also be referred to as directive managers. This style of leadership is sometimes known as top-down management, as it involves the person in charge directly telling their team what to do in a prescriptive manner, leaving little room for initiative or creativity.

This approach works well in some organisations, particularly those where pressure is high and risks need to be avoided on a regular basis, but it is unlikely to yield effective results and positive morale among workers in a more creative workplace.


Authoritative managers are those who adopt a ‘firm but fair’ approach to leading their team. They will offer clear direction and constructive criticism, but will still encourage staff to take their own initiative where appropriate.

In contrast to coercive managers, this type of leader will try to get a feel for the different ability levels their workforce, providing top-down instruction to those who need greater direction while trusting others to get on with their workload.


Affiliative managers recognise that the happiness and morale of their team is paramount to ensuring a task is completed to a high standard. This type of leader places a strong focus on keeping workers happy and encouraging positive professional relationships to form between staff and management.

However, managers who favour an affiliative style need to remember that this approach is only successful when work is being completed to a high standard and the desired results are being generated. If this isn’t the case, a firmer approach may need to be adopted.


Democratic managers typically place a lot of focus on fairness and getting input from as many different people and departments as possible before making a decision.

However, if a decision needs making quickly, staff may feel put out if they aren’t asked for their opinion and the manager may not feel confident making a decision by themselves.

Therefore, it is vital that everyone has faith in the individual in charge to come to a decision in such a situation.


A pacesetting manager is one who leads by example. They demonstrate to the rest of their team on a day-to-day basis that they can complete tasks to an exemplary standard, encouraging other workers to do the same.

On the one hand, this can be a highly effective way of motivating workers to produce high-quality work independently, but it can cause issues if tasks require teamwork, so it’s important to make sure collaborative skills aren’t neglected.


Leaders with a coaching approach to management are highly focused on training and challenging staff to develop their skills and progress in their careers.

But when tasks need completing quickly to a high standard, it may be better to entrust the job to someone who is used to that type of work.

Also, there’s a slight risk that providing employees with new skills could encourage them to look for a job elsewhere that requires this expertise. Therefore, staff retention and employee loyalty initiatives should be considered by managers who favour the coaching approach.

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