Management Styles Triangle

17 January 2022

Management Styles Triangle

There are a number of styles available to managers - so how do you decide which one to choose for any given situation? This pod explains the three key factors that together, are likely to determine you management style.

There are 3 factors that together influence which particular style will be chosen by the manager. They are:

  • the particular context
  • the personal preference of the manager
  • their skills set

Looking at each in turn:


The situation should often have a key influence on the style chosen; for example, the tell style might be more appropriate in a crisis, but less appropriate when there is a need for consensus. The context of time can often play a part in influencing style, too. Collaboration and coaching styles all require time; whereas when time is short, managers might unconsciously choose a telling style, because it is quick. The preferences of the staff member or team can also be influential; some individuals might prefer to be directed, whereas others love to be empowered. Finally, the culture of the organisation (or sub unit such as department) might have a strong, unconscious influence, as in ‘this is the management style we use here…’

Personal preference:

The manager’s own personal preference clearly might have a strong influence on the style they choose – consciously or unconsciously. Each of us naturally prefer to work in our comfort zone, and that includes how we work with and relate to others. It may or may not be the best approach, but it is the one we are comfortable, or are familiar, with. And by the same token, the manager is more likely to avoid any particular style they don’t feel comfortable with.

Skills set:

Of course this follows on from the above. A manager is more likely to choose a particular style if they feel comfortable with it, and one reason they feel comfortable is that they are good at it, or at least feel they are. And of course, the more they choose a particular style, the more they practice it, and the better (probably) they get at it. Similarly the manager is more likely to avoid styles that they don’t feel they have the right skills for. The consequence of this is that the style chosen – consciously or unconsciously – by any manager is as much if not more to do with the combination of personal preference and skills than it is by the actual situation. Preferences may be based on comfort, which may be based on confidence in key skills, which make it more likely those skills will be reinforced through practice, making it even more likely they will continue to choose that style, as they become more and more comfortable with is, even if it is not particularly appropriate for the particular situation.

more resources relevant to...

More L&D videos for you...

15 March 2023

Brick, Splash, Bucket
A metaphor for managing overload... 4 possible options... and in particular, how the impact of time spent on tasks may make a crucial difference…
Brick, Splash, Bucket open »

2 March 2023

Discipline & Time Management
Motivation, strategy and discipline; 3 key factors which make a significant difference to the likely success of any activity... but when it comes to time management, discipline is by far the most important of the 3.
Discipline & Time Management open »

4 February 2023

Estimating Durations
Sometimes you are given a new and complex task and you have no real idea of how long it will take, and so no way to estimate duration. Here’s how.
Estimating Durations open »

3 July 2022

Customer Service Grid
Four key factors your organisation needs to get right to please and retain your customers; your core and ancillary services, and your standards and targets
Customer Service Grid open »

13 June 2022

Saying ‘No’
A short video offering a simple technique for saying no in a positive and helpful fashion...
Saying ‘No’ open »
would you like to write for us?... please get in touch :-)

Related courses & resources...

Top Ten Tips on...

Coaching is a key skill set for most managers; here are 10 suggestions to help you coach effectively

Don't like to email?...
That's ok. We love to pick up the phone.

... Or you can message us on whatsapp.

We'd love to e-meet you... let’s go for a virtual coffee :)

For workshops and coaching sessions, you can check availability & book using the form below. Pay now online, or later by invoice - it's up to you.

Merseytravel client logo
Bumblebee Conservation Trust client logo
West Lancashire Borough Council client logo
Bentley Motors client logo
Cumbria Museums Consortium (CMC) client logo
NHS England client logo
AQA client logo
Octagon Theatre client logo
Alex Monroe client logo
Weaver Vale Housing Trust client logo
Arc Hospitality client logo
LiveWire client logo
University of Derby client logo