Jill Burrus

5 Types of Management Styles (and How They Affect Employees!)

By: Jill Burrus


In my years as an employee, and a manager in various capacities, it has been made quite clear to me that there are many different types of management styles out there in the broad work force.  Some work better than others.  Sometimes we need certain qualities in a manager to work with the various employee types out there too.  Perhaps the reality is that just as in parenting, where you have many kids in one household with different personalities, parents have to work with each child according to their style and personality traits, to best communicate with them.  I’ve come to see that each management style directly affects the employee base that they are going to be working with.  Maybe you will see yourself in one or more of the 5 styles that I have noticed and will list below.


Loosey Goosey (The Laid-back Leader)

This manager is a super-chill person.  He or she is approachable, easy going, everybody’s buddy.  This manager typically doesn’t want to rock the boat too much, and will avoid any confrontation at all costs. This one doesn’t really DO a whole lot…they are just sort of there.  They have a good attitude, and are really nice and customer service oriented, and happy to help anyone, but they really just sort of stop there. The Laid-back Leader is many times a great worker, getting in and down and dirty with fellow employees, but there can often be very little delineation in who is who on the job as it can come across like no one is actually in charge.  This can lead to a strong employee taking charge, and calling shots, and lack of any kind of respect in authority of the actual manager.  Employees like this manager as a person, but they don’t see them as a leader, and don’t trust that any issues that they ever have will go beyond the fairly mealy-mouthed, “Ok, I’ll look into that for you.” It is hard to have faith in this manager beyond them showing up to work and doing what has to be done.

Old Yeller (The Menacing Manager)

Everyone has experienced this one at some point in time.  This one cannot control their temper, and oftentimes brings in whatever stress they are under outside of work.  The Menacing Manager has little to no patience or real understanding of what it means to guide and lead, although they may very well be exceptionally skilled at the work itself, they are not typically in the mindset of dealing with teaching or growing employees.  (Old Yeller, however, may be super friendly with the client base, which can come across as fake to employees. Nicer to clients than employees is the name of the game.) This manager will many times be a yeller, never really seeming to understand their tone or how they come across to workers. They may embarrass employees by calling them on the carpet in front of others, not aware of how to correctly handle a situation in private, with a calm demeanor.  This sets employees up for running scared.  Scared to make a mistake, scared to approach this manager for any request or guidance. The Menacing Manger can many times be heard bellowing something to the effect of, “FIGURE IT OUT! I don’t have time for this!”  Or worse yet, “I don’t get paid enough to deal with this crap!”  This will not result in happy employees or good and accurate work.  Which becomes a circle of muck, because if one cannot ask for help, they wind up doing it themselves, and they do it wrong, and they get reamed for doing it wrong… and so the cycle continues. Until Old Yeller is wondering why everyone quit.

The Helicopter (Micro-Manager)

This manager has a job to do, and it is to make sure that everyone under him or her is getting THEIR job done.  Fair enough. That is technically part of the managers role.  But then they take it just a step further into the territory of hovering. They are everywhere and see everything. Which again, can be ok…to a point.  But this one will add to the agenda, nit-picking. “Why is this here?” “What are you doing?” “What is this?” “Who did this?”  Rather than good ol’ constructive and helpful criticism, this one is purely offering criticism.  Now, to be fair – it is NOT the managers job to be anyone’s friend on the job.  That is not the point here. But it IS the managers job to manage…effectively.  Hovering to the point of making people afraid to blink is not effective management.  This is setting up an atmosphere of distrust among the employees.  Here, they are under the belief that they were put in a position to do XYZ job, and now, the manager won’t let them without breathing down their throat for 8 hours a day.  This creates a feeling of inability in employees, and makes them nervous to make any move at all for fear that Big Brother is lurking. A ‘damned if I do; damned if I don’t’ sort of mentality.


The Hoarder (Don’t Delegate Doer)

This manager is real worried about things getting done, and things getting done correctly. Knowing that at the end of the day that they are ultimately responsible for it all, that they just do everything there is for them to do and for all the employees to do, too.  This manager has all the jobs.  He or she wears ALL the hats.  And they are stressed out. To the max.  This person usually has a good enough attitude, and is friendly and approachable, and easy to work with… if you can pry any actual work from their dead, cold hands.  Employees will ask, even beg this manager for things to do, and be thrown scraps for busy-work that doesn’t mean a whole lot in the overall big picture.  Things that if they mess up, meh, no big deal.  The manager will keep the “important tasks” for themselves, even though it is no longer their actual job to do those tasks anymore. Though they are well aware that they have capable, able employees to do it, they just can’t seem to let themselves give up control enough to trust anyone else to get the job done like they would.  Employees can sniff this out.  And while some will relish in being paid to basically sit around doing nothing, many will grow frustrated from lack of any actual learning, or challenge.  And boredom. 8 hours of filing or counting ceiling tiles would kill anyone. It’s a fast track for the manager to burn out and employees to exit stage left.

The Alarmist (Henny Penny the sky is falling)

This manager is not a bad person.  They may even be a really good manager, typically. But when something, Anything goes wrong, this person is going to lose. their. ever-loving mind. It doesn’t really matter how intense the situation is, it could be a minor thing or a major thing, but either way, this manager loses composure when things go awry.  They panic, loudly, and stress out and yell, and go into a mere meltdown as if the company itself was breached by a hacker and will come to a screeching halt in T-minus 4.  Most things, as crappy and frustrating as they can be, as much of a nightmare they may be to fix… will not bring your company to a grinding halt.  It may be a pain in the rump, it may take some phone calls and work, but the fact remains that if it was a mistake that was made…freaking out and panicking and screaming does not help anyone or anything.  Freaking out others around you, and sending everyone in close proximity into a full blown tizzy is not productive.  Who can think when they are in melt-down mode?  While this is not to minimize the intensity of the very real times when all hell breaks loose, a true leader needs to lead during these times, stay in control, exhibit trust and show how to productively troubleshoot and problem solve – with a clear and rational head, and ability to stay balanced.

Which manager type are you? Do you see yourself in any of these types?


Published in Thriveglobal.com

Published by Boss Up Magazine

The digital magazine that recognizes and celebrates the success of minorities

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