by R. McGhee | July 24, 2023 | 5 Min Read

5 leadership styles in management


Effective management is critical to the success of any team. While the best leadership styles in management vary depending on the context, certain core principles define great leadership and whether or not a particular style works for an organization.

Employee engagement hinges on how well an organization’s leaders lead. And with employee disengagement increasing, it’s never been more critical for businesses to invest in developing leaders and managers.

Recognizing the most effective leadership styles can shift work dynamics and drive success. That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of five types of leadership in business for managers to help you gain insight into how your teams can better collaborate and reach their goals.

5 best leadership styles in management

Each leader is as unique as the organization they lead. Some guide their teams with soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, while others rely on hard skills, such as project management. At Unboxed Training & Technology (Unboxed), we define leaders in two ways: strategic and tactical.

Strategic vs. tactical leadership

  • Strategic Leadership: Strategic leaders see the big picture and work towards reaching long-term goals. A good strategic leader has a vision and a mission—they know where they want to go and what they need to do to get there. As visionaries, their work is less tangible by nature.
  • Tactical Leadership: Tactical leaders, or managers, look at short-term goals. They focus on day-to-day activities that keep the organization running smoothly. A good tactical manager makes sure things are done right and on time. Their work is measurable, defined by tasks crossed off a list.

Let’s take a look at effective leadership styles in management specifically.

1. Democratic leadership

Democratic leaders emphasize team participation in decision-making processes, often relying on surveys or votes to make key decisions. They seek input from team members and facilitate open communication, creating a sense of belonging. However, decision-making can be slower using this managerial leadership style.

2. Autocratic leadership

Autocratic leaders are the opposite of democratic leaders, making decisions independent of the group. As a result, autocratic, also known as authoritarian, leaders are empowered to make quick decisions, which can be helpful in crisis situations. That said, morale suffers because employees are discouraged from giving any input – they must simply take orders.

3. Bureaucratic leadership

Bureaucratic leaders adhere strictly to policies and procedures, following an established chain of command when making decisions. This is the best management style for highly regulated industries where compliance and consistency is required. While a bureaucratic style clearly defines roles, rules, and responsibilities, it may lead to micromanagement and oppose change.

4. Transactional leadership

Transactional leadership is a results-oriented managerial model that operates on rewards and penalties. Transactional leaders aim for short-term goals and maintain the status quo within the organization, making them more reactionary. This type of leadership in business is best when managing self-motivated employees in less creative fields, like sales.

5. Coaching leadership

Effective management will always involve a bit of coaching, which is why this is the best leadership style for a manager. Coaching leadership involves guiding team members to develop their skills and reach their goals. A good manager coaches employees to be successful by creating a personalized accountability plan, providing actionable feedback, and celebrating progress.

Ultimately, the answer to “What is the best management style?” will be different for every organization. The best leadership style in management depends on variables like your industry, size, stage, culture, employees, and goals. However, you likely already have a range of leadership styles to choose from within your organization that you haven’t tapped into yet.

Start identifying high-potential employees and cultivating them into effective leaders and managers through learning and development programs.

What to expect without a corporate management and leadership training program

Without an L&D program for leaders and managers, your company is at a disadvantage. Here’s how:

  • High Turnover. You’ve heard it before, “Employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers.” If you don’t train and develop your leaders, they’ll fail to retain your top talent.
  • Limited Skill Development: Without a program to develop their leadership skills, employees won’t be prepared to take on managerial roles. And if they do get promoted, they’ll likely be ineffective.
  • Low Employee Engagement: As we mentioned earlier, managers and leaders have a big impact on employee engagement. And when employees are disengaged, productivity declines—along with the bottom line.
  • Higher Costs: Without a focus on internal skills development, your organization may need to rely on external hires to fill leadership positions, which is more expensive than promoting from within.
  • Poor Culture: A standardized leadership development program outlines what being a great leader looks like in the context of your business. Without it, leaders may decide to create their own practices and hurt com

Develop learners into leaders with effective management and leadership training programs

Our custom management & leadership training solution is built to meet your organization’s unique needs. You’ll partner with our team to create an impactful program that inspires learners to become effective managers and leaders.

Discover how Unboxed Training & Technology can help you develop employees who showcase the best leadership styles in management. Ready to upskill and empower your high-potential employees?

Request a demo to see our leadership training in action.

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