Management styles

6 Types of Management Styles for Successful Startup Leadership

When considering career success, tangible qualities often come to mind, such as the type of work and salary. But one critical factor to your success is leadership style, both in how you manage your staff and how you like to be managed. Effective managers can improve productivity and employee morale and reduce turnover. There are six widely agreed-upon types of management styles commonly used in today’s small business world.

Each of these styles has its own strengths and weaknesses, and an entrepreneur can use more than one style, depending on the business. Read on to find out which style resonates the most with you and your startup.


Autocratic managers make decisions unilaterally, without much (or any) input of subordinates. This unilateral format can be perceived as a good management technique if the right decisions are made, and it can lead to faster decision-making, because only one person’s preferences need to be considered. However, this style of management can drive away employees who are looking for more ownership of decisions, and more autonomy. In times of crisis where time is limited, use of autocratic management is permissible, but extended periods could lead to high turnover.


This form allows for more discussion than an autocratic method, but is essentially dictatorial. As the name suggests, a leader in this form consults his or her employees, but ultimately the leader makes the final decision. Decisions attempt to take the best interests of the employees into account but also focus on the business. This type of management style often leads to loyalty from employees included in decision-making processes, but those who are left out are more likely to move on. It can also lead to a dependency of the employees on the leader.


Also similar to autocratic management styles, a persuasive leader maintains the final decision-making control. However, he or she makes choices based on the persuasion of subordinates. Employees will convince their manager of the benefits of a decision and the manager will make the final decision. This is a great option for managers who need input from experts, but still can keep the final decision-making up to them. This does not work when employees do not support management and choose not to provide input or do not trust decisions that have been made.


As its name suggests, democratic managers offer employees an opportunity to engage in decision-making. This means all decisions are agreed upon by the majority. The communications go from both the manager down to employees and from the employees up to the managers. This style works when complex decisions must be made that have a variety of outcomes. However, democracy does slow down decision-making and could be inefficient at times.


This style is the complete opposite of autocracy; employees are allowed to make the majority of decisions, with management providing guidance when needed. The manager in this case is considered a mentor rather than a leader. This style of management is popular in startups and technology companies, where risk taking is encouraged. However, it can lead to difficulties in making decisions.

Management By Walking Around (MBWA)

This classic technique involves management by listening. Managers gather information by listening to the thoughts of employees that can stop problems at their source. When using this type of management style, managers must be counselors and not directors. A good decision will be well received and respected by all. When employees do not support management, there can be problems in MBWA management.

Discover management styles that work for you

At Grace College, we prepare our students to become leaders in their field. Our fully online management degree will give students the education and credentials they need to succeed, including developing a leadership style that works for them. Thanks to our online degree programs, students can develop a flexible and convenient course schedule, taught by professors with experience in the field. Learn more today.

Content sponsored by Grace College

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