A Look into Management Styles and Theories

March 13, 2023


Coworkers in a meeting about management styles and theories
There are several effective management styles for good leaders.

If you have never worked in a management position before, you may feel as though management is not for you. Maybe you believe your personality is not well-suited for any management styles you’re familiar with. But, this may not actually be true. 

There are several effective management styles that good leaders can use. Management skills can be learned, and many different styles are well-suited for different personality types. Here are some of the most common management styles and management theories you should know about.

Identifying the Right Management Style


The authoritative management style focuses on setting clear expectations and having some form of discipline if those expectations aren’t met. A major challenge of this management style is to avoid being overly aggressive, or micromanaging your team members. To be effective, authoritative managers must hold themselves to high standards, along with their team members.


This management style focuses on the professional growth and development of the team. Coaching managers get results by helping team members learn the skills they need to succeed. This management style often requires good interpersonal skills and hands-on knowledge of various professional skills.

Collaborative & Consultative

The collaborative and consultative management styles are fairly similar. Both are built around facilitating open discussions with team members, and having a strong work environment. These are good leadership styles for people who feel they lack traditional authoritative leadership skills. The goal of these management styles is to ensure that all team members, yourself included, are working in unison toward common goals.


Delegative management involves assigning, or delegating, different tasks to various team members. While that may seem easy, it is not. Proper delegation hinges on trust and identifying the skills and qualifications of all your team members.

Various Management Theories

Management theories differ from management styles in that they deal with the core concepts of management, rather than management practice. Additionally, these theories can be used to inform decisions about management styles and managerial decisions. There are five main management theories to learn from.

Contingency Management Theory

The Contingency Management Theory holds that there is no singular management style that will work for everyone. The size and structure of a team or organization, the use of technology, and individual personalities all determine effective management styles. A management style that works in one place may be ineffective in another, and vice versa.

Scientific Management Theory

The Scientific Management Theory is the oldest still in use. This theory argues that simplified tasks and proper incentives are the keys to successful management. Managers who follow this theory might focus on finding practical, easy-to-implement solutions, and offer good compensation for their workers.

Systems Management Theory

The Systems Management Theory treats a company or organization as one large, interconnected system or body. Each part of the body has its own role to play in support of the others. A manager’s role in this theory is to evaluate the various systems which influence, and are influenced by, their teams.

Theory X & Theory Y

These last two management theories are typically grouped together because of how they relate to one another. “Theory X” believes that, in environments where employees aren’t highly motivated, an authoritarian management style is needed. Conversely, “Theory Y,” holds that motivated employees work best under a collaborative management style. Thus, the most effective management style hinges on the motivation levels of your team.

Understanding Management Theory as a Non-Manager

Management theory is important to understand whether or not you are a manager yourself. Understanding the role of management can be used to build leadership and facilitate a stronger working relationship with your managers.

Want to learn more? Read ASAP’s article on how to train a new manager as an administrative assistant.

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