Apr 27 2017
Four key styles of management (and when to use them)

Being a manager requires an ability to quickly adapt, and if you’re an experienced manager you’ll know how quickly tricky situations can arise. These situations can also change every day, which means that relying on one standard approach isn’t an option.

Our Team leading funded programme offers managers of all levels the opportunity to learn something new and develop their skills. You’ll learn how to deal with these tricky situations in depth, and take away the knowledge you need to be a fantastic manager.

One popular management model, called Situational Leadership, presents managers with four different directing styles. These can be used as needed, and gives you an extra level of flexibility when it comes to management.


In this style, the manager will set the standards, give the orders or instructions and very closely supervise and monitor work performance.

This approach is great for staff members who are new or in need of some firm direction. Clear instructions and monitoring progress will allow this team member to build the best foundations for their role.


In coaching style, the manager is in the role of expert guide. While they continue to closely supervise and monitor performance, they will also work collaboratively with staff, eliciting suggestions, explaining decisions, and involving them in problem solving.

If you have a team member who is starting to lose motivation or are in need of re-energising, then try using a coaching approach. Give them the guidance that reignites the fire in their belly and make them excited about the possibilities of their role.


In facilitation or supporting style, the manager provides resources and offers help or advice to staff. They also share decision-making responsibilities with their team.

Team members who are shy or lacking confidence can greatly benefit from managers taking a facilitating or supportive approach. Give them the confidence to grow and provide positive feedback on a regular basis.


A delegating approach means the leader or manager passes over responsibility for the work or project to others, but the manager continues to remain accountable. Delegation to others does not mean blaming them if things go wrong, but it does mean taking responsibility for your decision to delegate that particular work activity.

Delegation works best with employees who are experienced and knowledgeable. They should be able to complete the task without much managerial input, and do so in a competent manner.


Before you run off and try out these different styles, we must first warn you not to get ‘stuck’ in one particular style. We all tend to have one or two preferred styles, but it’s important to be mindful not to overuse them.

We’ve probably all experienced a manager who clearly favours one style over another; the manager who delegated every piece of work (and left very little for themselves!), the manager who directed so much that it knocked your confidence, or even the manager whose supportive style became overused and lacked authenticity as a result. Learn about all the styles and be flexible with your approach.

Want to know more? Take a look at our ILM endorsed courses, or browse our other management courses.

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