In new research pollsters YouGov found that most bosses think they have good management skills – but many employees disagree. Crucially, the data suggested that “more than nine in 10 managers (93%) say they try to understand the needs of their team – but a significant number of them are failing. Only 48% of employees believe their managers understand them, with more than half either having mixed feelings or actively disagreeing”.

That’s pretty damning. It’s not surprising when we read about public examples of weird management styles – for example the case of Mike Jeffries, the former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch who forced stewards on his private jet to follow a strict and bizarre dress and behaviour code, right down to the amount of cologne they should wear!

There are many examples of demanding or weak bosses but there are also legions of excellent managers in the thousands of SMEs all over the country. The truth is that no matter how small or large a business, it needs a management style which works and makes senses to its employees.

Examples of different management styles

Recruitment experts Reed point to the following five most common management styles:

  • The Autocrat – as the name suggests, these are managers who issue instructions without input from their team and who tend to make all the decisions on their own. While handy for staff who just like clear direction without needing to show any initiative, it can be stifling for employees who prefer communication and involvement.
  • The Democrat – this manager likes to consult and involve their team in ideas and decisions. A boost for employees’ job satisfaction, a disadvantage can be the length of time it takes to get decisions made and at times no clear leadership.
  • The Laissez-Faire boss – this style takes the ‘hands-off’ approach to the extreme. These managers make few decisions preferring to ‘let them get on with it.’ While empowering able employees, tasks may suffer due to lack of leadership and guidance to staff who need it.
  • The Transactional boss – these bosses are goal-orientated and reward workers only in terms of whether they succeed or fail at tasks. This can be successful at times but it can also set team members against each other and lead to a pressurised working environment.
  • The Transformational leader – commonly viewed as the most inspiring type of manager, this approach believes in providing positive reinforcement and growth opportunities to workers. Good for morale and inspiring creativity, there is a risk of over-relying on passion and charisma and not getting tasks done on time.

No one style is perfect. The trick is in blending these styles and using different features at different times to suit the team or task at hand. Recognising the preferred working style of individual workers will also help the manager who values the viewpoint of others and wants to get the job done.

Why are management styles important?

Clearly a balanced and flexible management style will be most efficient for a business which aims to flourish. Meeting deadlines, increased productivity, less misunderstandings and tensions are all positive gains of the successful manager.

Crucially, a good management style is also important to retaining good staff and employee engagement.

A 2017 survey revealed that one third of UK workers (10.3m) are considering resigning from their job and that bad management was a key reason. Almost half of these people named poor managers as the reason for wanting to quit over and above pay, stress and commuting. It’s clear that the quality and style of management can have a serious effect on employees and therefore the stability and success of your business.

Managers should also have the best tools on board to make their business a success. The Chronologic Workforce Management System provides a combination of the time and attendance and HR data which gives businesses access to powerful information making life easier for employers (and fairer for employees).

For more information about our solutions and products call 01761 410015 or email