According to Hay-McBer there are six key leadership or management styles.


The DIRECTIVE (Coercive) style has the primary objective of immediate compliance from employees:

         The "do it the way I tell you" manager

         Closely controls employees

         Motivates by threats and discipline

Effective when:

         There is a crisis

         When deviations are risky

Ineffective when:

         Employees are underdeveloped -- little learning happens with this style

         Employees are highly skilled -- they become frustrated and resentful at the micromanaging.


The AUTHORITATIVE (Visionary) style has the primary objective of providing long-term direction and vision for employees:

         The "firm but fair" manager

         Gives employees clear direction

         Motivates by persuasion and feedback on task performance

Effective when:

         Clear directions and standards needed

         The leader is credible

Ineffective when:

         Employees are underdeveloped -- they need guidance on what to do

         The leader is not credible -- people won't follow your vision if they don't believe in it


The AFFILIATIVE style has the primary objective of creating harmony among employees and between manager and employees:

         The "people first, task second" manager

         Avoids conflict and emphasizes good personal relationships among employees

         Motivates by trying to keep people happy

Effective when:

         Used with other styles

         Tasks routine, performance adequate

         Counseling, helping

         Managing conflict

Least effective when:

         Performance is inadequate - affiliation does not emphasise performance

         There are crisis situations needing direction


The PARTICIPATIVE (Democratic) style has the primary objective of building commitment and consensus among employees:

         The "everyone has input" manager

         Encourages employee input in decision making

         Motivates by rewarding team effort

Effective when:

         Employees working together

         Staff have experience and credibility

         Steady working environment

Least effective when:

         Employees must be coordinated

         There is a crisis - no time for meetings

         There is a lack of competency - close supervision required


The PACESETTING style has the primary objective of accomplishing tasks to a high standard of excellence:

         The "do it myself" manager

         Performs many tasks personally and expects employees to follow his/her example

         Motivates by setting high standards and expects self-direction from employees

Effective when:

         People are highly motivated, competent

         Little direction/coordination required

         When managing experts

Least effective when:

         When workload requires assistance from others

         When development, coaching & coordination required


The COACHING style has the primary objective of long-term professional development of employees:

         The "developmental" manager

         Helps and encourages employees to develop their strengths and improve their performance

         Motivates by providing opportunities for professional development

Effective when:

         Skill needs to be developed

         Employees are motivated and wanting development

Ineffective when:

         The leader lacks expertise

         When performance discrepancy is too great - coaching managers may persist rather than exit a poor performer

         In a crisis