Three different managerial styles and how to handle them

Different managerial styles

It is difficult enough to make sense of the varying personalities in an office. When people with various managerial styles work together to direct the workflow, it’s important to understand the differences. By understanding the many styles of management, you learn to respond to them well and develop positive relationships with colleagues and employers. Here is a list of three common managerial styles, along with how to best approach them.


This type of manager has the style of a teacher or mentor rather than a commander. The greatest positive of this type of manager is that employees and colleagues tend to feel close and comfortable with them. Although there are firm boundaries, there is room for chit-chat and pleasantries, warm welcomes, and smiles. This manager explains difficult concepts to employees personally and to approach colleagues warmly in the case of disagreements.

A supportive manager contributes to a sense of community in the office, and they are the first to suggest group events to build camaraderie. The supportive practitioner is also helpful in managing employees who intend to stay long-term and make a career of this position. This is because they encourage a mutually beneficial relationship as employees grow and develop in the company over time. They also tend to focus on the employees’ strengths and encourage them to grow. They may offer professional development opportunities, whether this paves the way for a person’s promotion or simply helps them establish an improved work-life balance.

Central to the concept of the supportive manager is the idea the employee is not just a worker, but a person, and that cultivating the employee’s whole self ultimately leads to success for all. It is a role that is implemented in the case of an employee who has excellent potential but needs skill development, or when employees are motivated and yearn for new challenges. Often, such employees directly ask for this support, and their requests should be heeded as much as possible.

On the other hand, there can also be risks when using the supportive style. Conflict could arise if the leader is supportive, yet not qualified enough in their role. Such managers can only be successful if they work from a firm basis of expertise. The manager-employee relationship may also falter if the supportive manager tries harder than the employee. Whatever the manager brings in his or her efforts, the employee must be more than happy to receive and work ever harder to excel. A supportive manager must know when enough is enough and when the employee is not yet ready to learn.


A collective manager is a step removed from the supportive manager. A collective manager offers a supportive role, but at a distance, by offering it to the whole group of employees as one. Rather than teaching employees and forging mentoring relationships with each person, the focus is on transferring a sense of support to the community at large. A collective manager makes each employee feel responsible to his peers, and they help everyone feel like a part of a team with a purpose larger than themselves. Therefore, co-workers take on the role of supporting and motivating each other.

Examples of approaches a collective-oriented manager may take include setting up peer mentorship for new employees. In this set-up, a new employee works with an experienced employee if they have questions. A collective manager also congratulates everyone on tasks well done, and when errors are made, they address the team as a whole, not blaming one person but encouraging in areas where everyone can improve.

Ultimately, the goal of a collective manager is to run a company as democratically as possible, in a spirit of equity and teamwork. Goals are to create employee devotion to the company rather than to themselves and to forge agreements and peacekeeping among all. Other hallmarks of this type of manager include the intention to receive input from everyone. They also try to create an environment that meets everybody’s needs. This encourages a work environment where everyone wants to help each other succeed since the success of one leads to accomplishments for the whole.

This kind of manager thrives when people feed off their energy and everyone works together. It is necessary that employees have excellent credentials and the maturity to appreciate the leader’s coaching style. Also, employees are on equal footing in terms of long-term commitment to the company.

There are occasions when a collective style is less effective, and these include when the manager does not find a balance between meeting everyone’s needs and being practical. Ultimately, it is impossible to make everyone happy, and even a collective-oriented manager must sometimes accept the limitations of democratic voting. Managers in this niche have a hard time if an emergency occurs and there is no opportunity for group decision making. They then have to shift gears and become authoritative, and this may cause confusion for themselves as well as employees.


A third management style is the authoritative style, which is like a demanding high school teacher. However, even though this leader has been despised in time’s past and can stir up conflict when they don’t meet eye to eye with employees, many staff members thrive when given strict deadlines and regular routines. If an authoritative boss calls the shots in a respectful way and treats employees fairly, offering them lucrative benefits, then a non-democratic approach can be a relief to employees. After all, when employees are working extremely hard with their unique skills, why should they take on the added pressure of engaging in decision-making processes, or spend extra hours in mentorship? Such tasks are a manager’s responsibility.

The authoritative management style reaps positive results when people in the company are productive and yield top results when left on their own. It’s also necessary that employees work well as team players. With this managerial style, workers have strong social skills and know how to resolve conflict.

When one manager makes orders and those orders work well for everyone, the company is successful. Factors that make this approach work include long-term goals of the company and firm but fair and considerate managers. It is also important that the manager is very clear in the instructions and is an excellent communicator. Miscommunication can be a death trap. The manager should be responsible and willing to give accurate and respectful feedback, for better or for worse. Fairness is the name of the game for this management style, and it’s most effective when the leader is experienced and credible.

However, the authoritative leader may be doomed if they do not have the credentials or true authority in their field. If they are lacking vision, they may not direct others with confidence or make good decisions. The whole team has to respect and agree with many of the manager’s decisions and their managerial style if everyone is to work well together to meet the goals of the company.

Styles of leadership

It is challenging to work with people of different managerial styles, no matter what leadership approach they use. If your manager has a supportive leadership style, then the best way to handle that is to take an active role in the educational process. Accept direction, try things their way, and actively communicate if something is not working for you. While it’s important to be as positive as you can, a supportive leader will be open to hearing your ideas.

If your manager has a more collective style, then put your energy into harnessing the powers of the group. If you’ve finished a project early, then help your co-workers. Be friendly and tactful and offer positive feedback to your peers.

Finally, if your manager is authoritative, then listen carefully to instructions and strive to follow their vision. If any problems arise with your work, place an advance request to speak with them privately. Work with the manager directly and always strive to do your best.

Working in a space with so many people can be difficult for everyone. Each manager comes with their own unique managerial styles, strengths, and weaknesses. Be aware of what kind of manager you have and what kind you’d like to be. Focus on understanding other ways of working, so that together, you can find success.

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