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There are so many types of management or leadership styles to choose from. Sometimes, that can feel daunting and a bit overwhelming, but you should think otherwise and take this as an opportunity to find what style works best for you. There’s no more one-size-fits-all model that traditional organizations once forced. Now, you can be creative and have the freedom to try new things in the modern workplace, especially in the food & beverage manufacturing industry.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which leadership styles suit you best?
  • Which styles of leadership work best in your industry?
  • Which management styles do your bosses prefer you to use?
  • Which management styles best suit your team members?
  • How do managers customize their workflows and workplaces?

Being a good manager (and a great leader) in today’s workplaces means getting the right information and making the most of it for you and your team. The best managers know that it’s about the PEOPLE, not the systems and theories. They know when to bend the rules a bit and adapt to different needs.

The key is to choose management styles and structures that suit your team, your industry, and your goals. While teams go through natural phases of “growing pains,” it’s not always directly caused by your management style. By observing how each different leadership style affects the group, learn to adjust according to their needs.

The following management styles can be used to best suit your strengths and best practices, as well as help you acknowledge the diversity of each approach with your team and company. It’s time to experiment!


1) Autocratic Management Style

This old-fashioned management style is the best choice in extreme environments, but the downside of this method is the lack of worker creativity that can be leveraged. Growth is usually much slower in this style, but it carries with it substantial planning, communication, and oversight.

Where Autocratic Leadership Style Is Best Used

Autocratic leadership is most suitable for any leader with a “Because I told you so…” mentality. The manager takes complete control of a situation and directly tells their workers what tasks are required. We see this style in many high-risk and life-or-death environments, such as the following:

  • Military
  • Search and Rescue Operations
  • Heavy Industry
  • Sensitive Laboratory Experiments
  • First Responder Situations
  • Emergency Rooms/Surgical Settings
  • Food Manufacturing Industry

This management style needs to set clear goals for their team and ensure that they know exactly how to carry out their tasks. All members of the team should also know their roles and responsibilities, including whom they must get direct orders from. This is perfect for manufacturing teams because leaders can help teams avoid unnecessary injuries in workplaces that don’t really require creativity.

The Challenges With Autocratic Leadership Styles

The issue for managers to look out for is when lower workers begin to grow in the business and gain promotions as supervisors. Managers in this situation must support these new leaders with ongoing training opportunities that provide feedback on their skills and systems.

2) Affiliative Management Style

Affiliative managers promote connection and harmony between members of their team. These guys help solve conflicts from different personalities while maintaining healthy morale within the group. This is a perfect style used when relationship building is necessary for teams to work together. Managers can also use this style during stressful transitions or after major setbacks in the company – when personality conflicts damage productivity.

Where Affiliative Leadership Style Is Best Used

This is also a great leadership style to use when building a new team from scratch, giving everyone time to learn their roles and work out any personality conflicts during the early stages of development. Some people may feel more comfortable working under management styles that their former system or manager created, while others see transitions as opportunities to develop more within the business.

Some of the optimal types of businesses or organizations where an affiliative leadership style works well in are:

  • Sports Teams
  • Retail Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Food Manufacturing Industry

The Challenges With Affiliative Leadership Styles

The trick for affiliate leaders is to help the group gain each other’s trust and create balance. They are the neutral party helping the team adjust. At the same time, they must look out for poor performance and be able to switch into an authoritative leader to help the team get back into focus. Challenge the team to identify their strengths and weaknesses and increase their productivity and efficiency.

3) Coaching Management Style

Coaches are known to inspire and guide their teams to create greater outputs and (sometimes) cause the miraculous. They are able to balance both authoritative and affiliative leadership styles; they are the decision makers but grow with feedback and positive interactions with their team. This is perfect for maturing teams that are already familiar with their responsibilities but want to grow with new technology and challenges.

Where Coaching Leadership Style Is Best Used

Once the team gets out of their growing pains and learn to work together successfully, they can benefit greatly from a coaching management style. There’s a trust in their competency while still challenging them to become better in their craft.

Some of the best examples of a coaching leadership style include:

  • Sports Teams
  • Educational & Training Industries
  • Business & Financial Consultants
  • Food Manufacturing Industry

The Challenges With Coaching Leadership Styles

The main drawback of coaching management is that it takes time and patience.  A leader needs to make an investment in their employee up-front with the hope of a reward of an above average performance down the road.

4) Democratic Management Style

Democratic leaders are great at listening and collaborating with their team members to create a space for ideas of the best possible products and services. These managers work together with everyone on the team to find a consensus on important manufacturing decisions.

Where Democratic Leadership Style Is Best Used

The mentality that “every voice is heard” can help leaders get the most information and feedback needed to increase output and efficiency within the business. Businesses in high-tech markets (such as startup companies) can go bust if their stakeholders and employees cannot come to a consensus. Use a democratic management style in situations where brainstorming and debate are encouraging (and in most cases needed).

The best type of businesses or industries where a democratic management styles works well in is:

  • Startup Businesses
  • Tech Companies
  • Politics
  • Hospitals and Labs
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Universities
  • Food Manufacturing Industry

The Challenges With Democratic Leadership Styles

The cons with democratic leadership include becoming very dependent on the experience or knowledge of its subordinates slows down projects that require a quick decision, and management becomes burdened with overseeing collaborative teams.

5) Pacesetting Management Style

Pacesetting managers lead by example and use their experience to get the most out of their highly-motivated workers. These leaders are usually experienced in a certain market niche, where standards need to be set high, and teams must sprint through both short and long-term goals.

Where Pacesetting Leadership Style Is Best Used

This management style is normally used in fields such as sales and production, where employees thrive when they are recognized for achieving specific performance metrics from their leadership. A pacesetting leader’s team is aware of the long-term perspectives and can help set reasonable goals to avoid burnout or turnover. Healthy competition within the company also helps keep good morale between employees so that they don’t become obsessed with short-term results.

The best examples of a pacesetting management style includes:

  • Retail Industry
  • Military
  • Sales Teams
  • Start-ups
  • Food Manufacturing Industry

The Challenges With Pacesetting Leadership Styles

The two greatest challenges with a pacesetting leadership style are burning out and turnover. Constantly having to be at the top will wear down anyone and leads to a high quite or fire rate. Another con with this management style is instructions are not clarified and there is little patience to learn.

6) Visionary Management Style

When democratic leadership isn’t working, but managers need their team to commit heavily to the company’s goals, a visionary management style may be the solution. Visionary managers help people see what’s possible for the team and company by creating engagement and inspiring trust in a high-risk, high-reward environment.

Where Visionary Leadership Style Is Best Used

Smart, visionary leaders know when to inspire their employees while also empowering them to create movements with them that seemed impossible beforehand. Central leadership is necessary to maintain cohesion in this environment, and managers must also listen closely to their team in order to gain the trust needed to move forward. Many startups and non-profit movements use this management style to show their teams that they can achieve the impossible.

The best visionary management style examples are:

  • Non-Profits
  • Start-Up Businesses
  • Real Estate & New Construction
  • Community Leaders
  • Food Manufacturing Industry

The Challenges With Visionary Leadership Styles

This style of leader typically doesn’t have much technical expertise or knowledge of the very tasks they are managing. Some other challenges are getting their vision across to the team and being confident in the vision and direction, because uncertainty may revert employees to their old ways or ignoring of the vision entirely.

Putting It All Together

If you resonate with one or more of these management styles, then you should find the time to experiment with each one around your teams to determine what works best. You can also create a hybrid style with combination of two or more of the above methods.

In the end, find a leadership style that balances well with your strengths and weaknesses. Find it for yourself and foster it in your team. Ultimately, you aren’t just leading – you’re modeling wisdom for future leaders!

Following good management practices (GMP) does not have to be overwhelming for your business. Here at Training Gems, we help food manufacturing businesses learn and master the skills required to improve efficiency, grow revenue and create long-term leaders, so they can continue providing exceptional service to their consumers. Contact us today to get started and find out which management/leadership style suits your specific needs.

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