5 basic management style

Management is one of the most important tasks in business. Project managers have a large influence on how their team members work. They play a key role in team members and project success. Employees have the power to move the project forward, but they need skilled managers to guide them through the project goals. There are 5 management styles in business that every project manager should know about. In this article, we will cover the best management styles in business: Results-Based, Democratic, Transformational, Servant Leader and Transactional.

Discover Your Management Style

Different management styles exist in the business environment. As a project manager, your management style may evolve over time depending on the circumstances, project requirements, and team composition. Successful project managers are aware of the fact that every management style is not applicable to every situation. Because the characteristics of the team members are different from each other. Therefore, before to manage people, you must discover your management style and be aware of yourself. However, this requires practice and experience.

What are the Five Basic Management Styles that Every Project Manager Should Know?

Professionals and researchers may highlight various management styles depending on various circumstances. However, in this article, we will provide a list that we’ve gathered throughout our professional lives.

  1. Results-Based
  2. Democratic
  3. Transformational
  4. Servant Leader
  5. Transactional

Results-Based Management

The way that the project team follows to complete the task is not so important for the result based managers. This management style gives more autonomy to team members while choosing the strategy to perform the task. 


Result based management style can be motivating and effective because it creates an environment of mutual respect and it encourages team members to find better ways to complete the work.


Although the result-based management style provides many advantages to an organization, it is not applicable to all projects and project teams. Because some of the team members may need more support than others. In addition to that, working more independently may cause conflicts in some circumstances. Therefore, this management style works best in project teams where team members are skilled and open to new ideas.

Democratic Management 

Democratic managers encourage team members to participate in discussions and decisions rather than leaving them alone to do their work in an isolated manner. No matter what their role is, team members can come up with new ideas in a democratic work environment.


Democratic management style crates happiness and harmony in project teams because everybody joins decision making while performing tasks. Therefore the final product will be built with their collective work. Since all the team members contribute to the conversation, this management style can be more effective in conflict management.


In democratic work environments, all the team members participate in decisions. However, everyone’s decision means sometimes no one’s decision. When the actions associated with decisions are not managed correctly or if there is uncertainty regarding the role of process owners, mistakes might be inevitable.

Therefore, you need to clarify which decisions should be made by the entire team members and which decisions should be made on their behalf. Furthermore, roles and responsibilities should be defined correctly to avoid uncertainties.

Transformational Management 

Transformational managers inspire and motivate team members to focus on areas of change and innovate. Characteristics of a transformational manager includes the following;

  • Encourages team members to make decisions and take ownership of tasks
  • Improves motivation and concentration
  • Provides coaching when needed
  • Inspires team members to embrace change

For example, Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Steve Jobs and Tim Cook (Apple), Heinrich Hiesinger (ThyssenKrupp) are transformational leaders. Are you surprised? – Note that, innovation and change are inevitable in IT.


The transformational management style improves teamwork and collaboration. Team members become more effective in a short period of time. Adapting to changes skills and problem-solving skills of team members are advanced.


The transformational management style is not applicable all the time. People often work long hours to complete the tasks to achieve the organizational goals. This may cause unhappiness and employee burnout if they are not satisfied.

A transformational manager should know what motivates his/her team members and take action accordingly.

Servant Leader Management

The main goal of the servant manager is to serve the project team. Typically, a servant manager puts the needs of the employees first and help them to perform as much as possible.


Servant leader management style crates happiness because this type of managers make their project team feel that they care about them. This will often boost team performance.


When the servant leaders focus on solving every team member’s problems rather than managing the actual work to be done, they might become unsuccessful. Therefore, they need to find a balance between dealing with people and the requirements of real work.

Transactional Management

Transactional managers motivate their team members with a carrot and stick approach. They use rewards to improve their team’s performance and punishments if things are going bad. Team members are expected to obey the instructions of the manager.


Transactional management sets clear tasks to be followed which may be helpful for short term targets. It may be useful under circumstances when there is a high risk or a serious problem regarding the project goals. It is also useful for crisis management.


The transactional management style does not create a work environment where people explicitly participate in decision making. Because the decisions are taken by the managers rather than team members. This might create unhappiness.


Which management style do you think best suits you? Share your experiences regarding project management styles with the community through the comments box below.

See Also

Difference Between Leadership and Management

Workplace Happiness

Further Reading

How to avoid “leisure suits,” “high waters,” and other career ending mistakes


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