Different Supervisory Styles of Managers

by Luanne Kelchner; Updated September 26, 2017
Managers each have an individual approach to managing employees.

Managing a team of employees requires leadership qualities and supervisory skills. A supervisor can use a leadership style that suits his personality or the needs of the organization. Employees also play a role in the type of leadership style a manager may use. A skilled manager has the ability to adapt to the changing needs of the organization and the employees.

Classic Styles

The level of control a supervisor exercises over the employees determines which of the classic leadership styles he is using to manage his crew. A laissez-faire style of leadership uses very little control when directing the activities of workers. This approach works well for employees who require very little attention, supervision or direction. With this style, the manager can communicate a message to employees and be assured the employees will fulfill the goals of the department or organization.

An autocratic leadership style exerts complete control over the employees under the manager. This type of leadership style is the direct opposite of the laissez-faire approach. An autocratic leader rarely involves employees in decision-making, and this can lead to resentful employees. The style may work in crisis situations, but for highly skilled and independent employees, this type is not effective.

Democratic leaders are a combination of the laissez-faire and the autocratic leader. This style of leader uses input from employees in making decisions, but ultimately is the final word. This leadership style works well for motivating employees while maintaining order in the workplace.

Transformational Leaders

The transformational style works well in situations that require a strong vision or an inspirational leader. This leadership style requires employees that can attend to the details while the leader looks at the big picture.

Transactional Leaders

A transactional leader sees the employee-employer relationship as a transaction between the two individuals. The company or organization pays the employee for complete compliance. Transactional leaders are very similar to autocratic leaders and expect submission from employees. This type of leadership does not work well in all situations. Some leaders use the style with unskilled workers where a great deal of control is needed.

Situational Leaders

The situational leader changes the style of leadership according to the situation. A leader using this method will switch between a task-oriented approach and a people-oriented approach to managing a department or company. Effective leaders must be able to assess the needs of the organization and employees and determine the best approach for each situation.

About the Author

Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.

Photo Credits

  • top manager with cellphone image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com