Your Management Style: How Each Style Affects Leadership and Decision-Making Skills

Juliet D'cruz

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Your Management Style

Every person has unique qualities that make them a successful leader. Your leadership style falls into one of four categories – democratic, authoritarian, servant, or laissez-faire. While it would be nice to categorize yourself under one type, your management style lands somewhere on a spectrum of traits. One of these four styles will be dominant; you may need to use the other techniques in specific situations. Take the time to review these categories and determine what qualities you want to introduce into your leadership.


If you have a democratic management style, you solicit and consider the advice of your employees. You actively make sure your employees are involved in the decision-making process. Respecting their knowledge and experience is critical to you. Employers are challenged with respecting divergent opinions among team members. This style is ideal for decisions that can be discussed and analyzed. However, if a decision must be made quickly, you must step into the decision-making role.

Look for employees that honestly share their opinions and concerns. They are knowledgeable about their job responsibilities and company priorities. Employees should know their thoughts are valued.

Democratic Tip: Give Staff the Right Tools

If you are considering a Point-of-Sale system for your fabric or quilt shop, for example, you can collaborate with your staff to discuss the features that each employee would use. A POS for quilt stores program would give sales associates intuitive sales transactions, with features such as loyalty programs and customer databases you know they will need while on the job. Sales managers would appreciate a comprehensive online and in-store sales channel. Inventory control would need effective management of fractional fabric sales.


Authoritarian managers do not take input from employees. You make the decision and announce it to the team. There is no room for discussion, and you, alone, have the authority to modify the choice. This leadership style is most often seen in the military. You may also adopt this style when protecting the safety of the employees and organization.

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Authoritarian leadership is not as effective for long-term management success. Employees want to feel their opinion and service is valued. However, there are instances where this is a necessary leadership style. Crisis management requires confident, authoritative leadership. It is also beneficial if you have inexperienced employees. For example, if you open a new location for your quilt store and need to train staff immediately, you will want to select the POS system that meets your needs.

Authoritarian Tip: Set the Right Boundaries

Sticking to a letter-of-the-law way of management can help ensure compliance in some areas, but it may be too rigid for some of the nuance that comes with running a business. Think hard about what hard and fast rules you need and what areas you can compromise. Flexibility in some areas is crucial to maintaining staff morale and adjusting to customer needs and expectations.


As a servant leader, you focus on building relationships with employees, empowering them to make the best decision for the company’s benefit. You recognize that your employees are the company’s most valuable asset. Employees are fully trained and made accountable for their performance and responsibilities. Servant leaders help staff members understand the role employees play in the organization.

Establishing a servant management style can take some time. You may need to review how you communication and motivate your employees. Team members must be fully trained and learn that you trust their opinions. You also need time to develop non-traditional incentive programs and performance evaluations.

Servant Tip: Practice Consistent Patience

Once you have established your organizational culture, decision-making often takes longer as you solicit input from all involved staff members. For example, you may need to ask several team members for their ideas on the features and benefits of a POS system. This can take time, but with practice these collaborative efforts will speed up.


A laissez-faire management style puts full faith and trust in the decision-making process with the team directly involved. As the leader, you provide the employees with the necessary information to decide. Individuals must understand the challenge and the available resources. Laissez-faire managers trust their teams to make the decision. They also trust their team will request assistance needed. On the other hand, the manager must make sure they are available to help if asked.

This style is more effective when your staff is highly trained in their job roles and responsibilities. They can understand the entire scope of the project. Remember, many small businesses may only have one or two employees that understand the overall company goals well enough to help them select the best POS solution for your store.

Laissez-Faire Tip: Delegate Responsibly

Each member of your team has different strengths and weaknesses. A good manager should take the time to know their staff, their needs, and areas for improvement on an individual basis. As you delegate roles, consider staff as one machine with many working parts that function together for success.

Understanding your management style helps you become a better leader and decision-maker. You will find that you make better hiring decisions, choosing team members that naturally respond to your native management style. You can also tap into other techniques to develop more comprehensive leadership techniques.