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Differentiate Between Authoritarian, Laissez-Faire, and Democratic Management Styles

  • 28th Feb'22

If you have worked under two or more supervisors, you must have noticed some difference in how they deal with their employees. Some will come across as extraordinarily polite and some strict, and so on. Different people have different ways of management, which otherwise is known as management style. 

In a more definite term, we can define management style as the method an organization or its managers practiced to manage its employees and their work activities to maintain the company culture.


Importance of Management Style

Management style is essential for various reasons such as:


  • Developing a communication style with the employee

  • Helping others become a good manager someday

  • Preservation and maintenance of the company culture

  • Dealing with micromanagement and its negative effect


Types of Management Style

There are seven topmost types of management styles, and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Now, here’s something you need to understand - irrespective of the management styles, its impact is primarily dependent on the person in charge of management. 

For example, the manager here gets mainly entrusted by a company to carry forward several tasks. And how the manager decides to get the job done will clearly indicate the management style they practice or have influenced their career. Furthermore, we can differentiate most managers between the authoritarian, laissez-faire, and democratic management styles. All three are ways to manage change at workplace.

The three above-mentioned management styles are the most common in practice in the modern workplace. Therefore, you must understand and be able to differentiate between the three. That is unless you don’t want to pursue a management position in your career, which I believe is rarely true. So, let’s take a look at each three one-by-one and learn the difference between authoritarian, laissez-faire, and democratic management styles.


Authoritarian Management Styles

Authoritarian management style is a unique and competitive management style primarily practiced by big companies and organizations to root their success massively. Such companies specifically hire managers who are visionaries and can mentor their employees to bring results. More importantly, here, the manager refrains from telling you what you should do and instead will show you how to do it with a “come with me” approach.

To execute the authoritarian management style, you must have a clear vision and a firm understanding of overcoming challenges. Furthermore, your leadership must inspire, guide, and provide constant feedback to maintain enthusiasm amongst the team members. Also, it would be best if you had a developed sense of emotional intelligence to carry forth the authoritarian management style. Following are some of the pros and cons you must consider while trying to adapt or practice this management style.


Pros and Cons of Authoritarian Management Style

  • Authoritarian management style brings clarity

  • It provides direction and vision

  • It breeds goodwill


  • Can become overbearing

  • Authoritarian managers and leaders can have difficulty owning their mistakes


Laissez-Faire Management Style

The Laissez-faire management style derives its meaning from the famous French word “Laissez Faire”, which translates to “leave it alone” or “let it be.” Such management style fits well with the company that prefers independent employees and supports creativity. Here, the company or its manager abstain from constantly micromanaging the employee or talents who work with them. Instead, they encourage them to use their creativity to get the assigned task done within time.

Laissez-faire management style is also referred to as delegate leadership as managers or leaders here remain mainly dependent on the talents working independently. You can sum up the entire management style as the hands-off approach with complete support and training backed with full trust. Following are some pros and cons of this management style it.


Pros and Cons of Laissez-Faire Management Style

  • Laissez-faire management style inspires personal growth and motivation

  • It is effective for learning and developing yourself

  • Encourages faster decision-making process

  • Practices freedom and independency


  • Laissez-faire management style can lead to lots of confusion

  • Breeds isolation

  • Promotes low accountability


Democratic Management Style

Democratic management style is an open style that works on followership and participation. The company or its manager or leaders will promote inclusivity and work together towards the company goal. Such management styles fit efficiently in companies that practice shared leadership.

For example, we can consider a startup. A startup mainly starts operating with a consensus opinion and beliefs of a few individuals working together. They brainstorm ideas and strategize plans together to develop the most effective way to accomplish a task. So, the management is much dependent on your conversational abilities. Also, talents feel the most valued in the democratic management style as everyone’s opinion gets heard and considered. On the whole, the management style is a group process where people evaluate and motivate each other constantly. Following are the pros and cons of the democratic management style.


Pros and Cons of Democratic Management Style

  • Democratic management style is the fairest form of management style

  • It encourages and rewards creativity

  • Breeds more innovation

  • Promotes relationship building

  • Talents are more dedicated and valued


  • Democratic management style can burnout managers and leaders with many burdens on them

  • The decision process consumes a lot of time

  • Performance decreases from time to time

  • Can lack motivation and inspiration easily



Overall, we have seen how the different forms of management style varies with each and how you can put it to good use. The important goal here is that you must take away the kind of management style and see if it will fit in at your work.


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.

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