7 Management Styles and How to Become the Best Boss Ever?

gestión claves

Let’s keep it simple. There are basically two management styles: “bossy” and “buddy.”

All managers are drifting between these extremes, looking for the best approach in their particular cases. For you to choose the right management style, I’d like to share some insights, expert tips, and stories. I hope you’ll find them helpful!

But first, a little disclosure. I’m writing about working styles because our Chanty team is curious about every aspect of team interaction. Understanding it helps us design a better communication tool for our customers—a fast, smart Chanty team chat. Become one of our users now!

Management styles: what’s the gist?

Before we get to what’s working in management styles, let’s consider what’s not.

Jack Griffin
ex-CEO of TIME, Inc.

Here’s a story:

In 2010, TIME Inc., the world’s largest magazine publisher, got a new chief executive, Jack Griffin. To put it mildly, his appointment didn’t work out well. As the NY Times reported, employees described Jack’s leadership style as “brusque.” He implemented “swift and sweeping” changes “without communicating his purpose well” and “undermining his team’s confidence in their abilities.”

Apparently, he didn’t fit the corporate culture and showed himself as an inflexible leader. In February 2011, Jack Griffin was forced out of Time Inc. after less than six months in office.

Using this story as an example, it’s easy to consider the main points about management styles:

  1. Your management style matters. We can hear some leaders say: “I just hire the best people and get out of their way.” Well, sometimes it can work this way, but not always. Jack Griffin from our story was an experienced professional with the proven track record. But, apparently, he didn’t understand his hires and didn’t manage to find the best way to communicate with them, which was crucial. Maybe if he used the conflict management styles approach the story would’ve been different.
  2. Your management style is not defined by your temperament. Though you can lean towards one of the approaches, each style is actually within your power. Since Jack Griffin from Time INC. had the “brusque” management style, we may assume he is a hot-tempered guy. However, it shouldn’t have been a hindrance to his management.
  3. Different tasks, situations and people can require different management styles. There’s no universal approach that suits any case. Experts claim the best strategy is to switch between the management styles depending on the circumstances. Back to our example with Jack Griffin, his approach to management could be exercised successfully in a different context.
  4. Management styles are rapidly evolving and constantly changing. How? Well, let’s see…

In the beginning, I mentioned there are basically two management styles: “bossy” and “buddy.” We could also use terms like “dominant” and “prestige”. While “dominant” means you want to be in control of everything, “prestige” is a more “hands-off” approach. So here’s the deal: “Prestige” management styles—the ones that give workers more freedom—are becoming more widespread nowadays. The old-school management style of “carrots and sticks” is considered to kill work culture. However, dominant styles are still exercised and even recommended in some cases.

So here’s the list of the 7 most commonly used management styles: Two of them are dominant, while the other five are prestigious. I’ll rely heavily on David Goleman’s landmark classification of management styles as well as on some other experts’ opinions. We won’t discuss laissez-faire or neurotic management styles but rather focus on what can work.

Dominant management styles

Coercive style

Key features. “Do what I say.” That’s a message you give to your hires using this approach. This is one of the harshest and most direct management styles. Not only coercive leaders state an overall goal, they also define means to reach it, according to David Goleman classification. Employees have no choice but to snap a salute.

Having said that, coercive management is a traditional top-down management model that is still widely used around the world. It aligns with many similar approaches, such as authoritative, autocratic, and structural. They all have one thing in common: They all wield a lot of power. It seems like a really old-school approach and needs to be used wisely. You can become the best boss ever if you use this approach wisely, but remember, the focus is on using it wisely.

When do I use it?

  • In a turnaround situation, a natural disaster, or when working with problem employees

What are the risks?

  • Can lead to damaging behavior like bullying or gaslighting
  • You can sap employees’ motivation and vision and inhibit the organization’s flexibility

No-nonsense style

Key features. Expect a high level of performance. Never tolerate mediocrity. Always win a meeting. These concepts were featured in the 1977 No-Nonsense Management book written by Richard S. Sloma, who actually coined the term. It’s a harsh, practical, and down-to-earth approach that echoes the coercive style.

Henry A. Kissinger with subordinatesHenry A. Kissinger with subordinates

Here’s a story:
In his book, Richard S. Sloma tells a story about Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. Once he asked his aide for a report—a man wrote it. “Is this the best plan you can devise?”, Kissinger asked. After receiving the negative answer, he refused to read it. This happened a few times. The employee spent more than a month sleeping in his own office while working on the document. Kissinger read it only when his aide was sure he’d done a perfect job.

The no-nonsense style is a salute to the corporate culture of the Reagan era. But, strangely, it is now bouncing back. As market competition ramps up, businesses do their best to perfect their products. So many current leaders are claimed to use the no-nonsense approach.

Kazuhiro Tsuga, Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga
ex-CEO of Panasonic

Here’s a story:
In autumn 2012, Panasonic got a new president, Kazuhiro Tsuga. NY Times described his management style as “no-nonsense”. The thing is Mr. Tsuga made some tough decisions. He cut manager’s bonuses, killed off weak units and beat a company’s path away from consumer electronics. However, due to his policies, Panasonic managed to face intense competition with a bloated business portfolio and weakened finances.

When do I use it?

  • When your goals are clear, they need to be reached fast and your hires are motivated enough to do so

What are the risks?

  • Your high standards can demotivate workers and leave them shamefaced

Prestige management styles

The democratic style

Key features: Give the workers a voice in decisions and then benefit from their refreshing ideas. For this, at meetings and in private talks, facilitate the freedom of speech with no judgment. Any of your hires can be cheered like Terrence Howard’s character in the Empire TV series.

The democratic style received quite a spin-off within the bottom-up management model and has received the best boss ever award from many employees to implement it. Reportedly, companies like The New York Times, Ernst & Young and IBM are implementing it throughout their hierarchy. Some experts claim it’s particularly important while working with Millennials to listen to them, as their thinking is right in so many ways and “kids table” is not enough for them.

When do I use it?

  • When you need to build organizational flexibility and responsibility
  • When craving for fresh and innovative ideas

What are the risks?

  • Beware of endless meetings and appearing indecisive

Coaching style

Key feature. Personal development is crucial. Immediate work-related tasks can wait.

This is the classical description of this style provided by David Goleman. Since coaching is exercised by a good leader, according to Franklin Covey experts, any manager needs to apply this style at some point.

Eric Emerson Schmidt, a former Google CEOEric Emerson Schmidt
former Google CEO

Here’s a story:

Eric Emerson Schmidt, a former Google CEO, told a story about his first endeavors in the company. He remembers treating its founders – L. Page and S. Brin – as boys back then. (Disclaimer: he is almost 20 years older than Google’s founders) But soon he realized that his vital task was rather not to command, but to help them in achieving their goals. (basically by applying coaching skills)

Like the democratic approach, listed before, the coaching style is especially beneficial when managing Millennials. First, they crave for instant recognition and gratification, which can be easily performed in professional coaching sessions. Second, since a clear purpose is very important for Millennials, they’ve got to align their goals with your company’s vision. Once again, coaching and adopting the conflict management styles are great tools for this.

When to use it?

  • When employees are already aware of their weaknesses and motivated to improve their performance and leaders use conflict management styles

What are the risks?

  • If a coaching is exercised poorly or your new hires lack motivation, their performance will stagnate

Affiliative style

Key features. If to wrap it up in one phrase, that would be “People come first”. You praise employees for what they’ve done right and treat them like your family members or friends. Ready to recieve the best boss ever title for this approach?

This style is called “participative” by some experts. You practice the “Friendship Factor” with your hires, which is made up of three components: time, care, and respect. Sometimes you express care and concern for them and problems. This fosters a feeling of bonding and their belonging to the organization.

When to use it?

  • When building team harmony or increasing morale
  • In stressful times or when trust needs to be established
  • When you need to use conflict management styles

What are the risks?

  • Exclusive focus on praise can allow poor performance to go uncorrected

Servant style

Key features: Be useful and helpful as a manager. Serve and become a part ot the conflict management styles! First—to a higher purpose, second—to your employees. The term was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf who summed up his views in his 1977 essay. As the approach obviously challenges the traditional top-down management model, it often seems unusual. Although, it has gained quite a spin-off lately. The famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk claims to use it suggesting that “managers should be actually working for their employees”.  Sameer Dholakia, one of the most highly rated CEOs in tech serves his employees too.

Sameer DholakiaSameer Dholakia

Here’s a story:

Sameer Dholakia brought his servant-leadership style to SendGrid company when he joined it in 2014. Upon his arrival, the startup’s growth was slowing. But over the next three years, he reversed this tendency. For two years in a row sales grew nearly 40%. Now the company’s revenue is on track to reach $5.1 million. According to Dholakia, it was exactly the servant management style that facilitated his company’s success.

When to use it?

  • With a diverse team, where personalization in management is required for each member
  • In a start-up or with new hires to gain a respect, trust, and loyalty

What are the risks?

  • Beware of your team fully running the show and your authority being limited

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Transparent style

Key features: No wonder one of the most famous online rating services of companies is called Glass door. The sense of fairness and trust is one of the leading motivating factors of knowledge workers, as experts suggest. Therefore, transparent leadership is not just an option, but a critical factor in your company’s success.

J. Crew CEO Mickey DrexlerMickey Drexler
J. Crew CEO

Here’s a story:
J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is considered to be a man of genius for his business achievements. Here’s what he says about his management style: “My office has no walls. You can’t be removed from your team to be successful. You have to be respectful of others… I like hanging out with the team. I have fun doing what I do and I also know that I can learn a lot everyday from the people I work with.”

When do I use it?

  • To build trust credibility and increase morale

What are the risks

  • Be sure not to lose your private space and keep safe any piece of confidential info

Wrapping up

There are hundreds of management style models. From dominant to hands-off approaches—they provide great means to deal with particular cases. Although, in modern work culture prestige styles tend to work better.

Here are the most commonly used management styles that you can use wisely to become the best boss ever:


Exercise your power strongly in a crisis situation or when a business is adrift. But beware of decreasing motivation of your employees and your work climate worsening.


Set high expectations and exercise tough love, but do your best not to demotivate your hires with your excellent standards.


Give freedom of voice to your workers and include them in the process of decision making. But beware of endless meetings and your hires feeling leaderless.


Support and assist your hires in achieving their goals, but make sure they are motivated enough to follow your vision.


Build harmony and trust within your team by praising and supporting your workers as we do in conflict management styles. But don’t allow poor performance to go uncorrected.


Serve to the higher goal and to your employees. But beware of your team running the show or creating a vision that is counter to yours.


Make yourself available to your workers, but be sure to maintain your business integrity.

Experts claim the best strategy is to switch between different management styles depending on the situation. Whatever your case is, if your team’s collaboration is effective, it’ll be easier for you to communicate with your hires. Chanty—a simple team chat—can easily help you become a better manager, whatever style you decide to go for. Subscribe to learn more and join our community of early adopters.

Chanty team

Chanty is a team collaboration hub with unlimited searchable message history. Chanty offers team communication, audio calling, video conferencing and task management with the help of the Kanban board.


  • It is really splendid information. By applying this information you will be a successful leader in this ultra-modern era. I really appreciate these tips

  • I do not know whether it’s just me or iff perhaps everyone else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It appears as though some of the text on yyour cntent are running off the screen. Can somebody elsde please comment and let me
    know iff this is happening to them as well? This may be a issue with my internet
    browser because I’ve hhad this happen before. Thanks

    • Hi there! Thanks for letting us know!
      We will double-check the blog post and make the necessary edits.

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