How 5 Popular Management Styles Can Affect Student Employees

Posted on 28 February 2017 |

management styles campusManagers and management styles can have a profound affect on employees. And when those employees are budding college graduates, the effects are even more substantial.

In fact, a manager's style can directly influence things like morale, performance, communication and attitude. And this can stretch beyond the campus and into the workplace. In this post, we will discuss several types of popular management styles and the impact they can have on employees.

What Are the Different Management Styles?

As you may know, every manager has a different style of managing their employees, and there are many different styles ranging from hands-on to managing from afar. Here are a few types that you might encounter on your campus.

1. Autocratic

In an autocratic style of management there is one person in charge, and this one person has the final word. This style is appropriate when there are new employees or employees who are unfamiliar with their job. In other words, young college students who may not have held a job like one they have on campus.

Generally, these leaders are more confident on the job and are comfortable making decisions. And while this may lead to better decision making, this style isn't free from pitfalls.

For one, this style of management creates a one-sided conversation. This may make employees scared to speak up or offer their input on projects. As a result, this restricts communication and also socialization in the workplace. For college students, this may make them more timid in the workplace and may discourage them from becoming decision makers.

2. Democratic

In this style of management, employees and managers work collaboratively. The manager provides guidance as well as helps their team reach their goals. In other words, the responsibilities and delegation of tasks is shared equally among manager and employee.

This style of management encourages employees to share their ideas and to make suggestions when needed. This allows employees to identify inefficiencies if they exist and help find ways to remedy them. Employees, in turn, will become more confident. The employee may also feel empowered to reach organization goals and provide team feedback.

3. Paternalistic

This management style is almost a combination of autocratic and democratic styles. In a Paternalistic management style, there is an authoritarian figure that is concerned with gaining loyal followers. These individuals will generally take on a patriarchal or matriarchal role. If the manager makes good decisions, then their followers will in turn become more loyal.

The manager also cares about the relationship they have with their employees. These managers aim for a "family like" bond, hence the patriarchal name. But, in this style managers need to make good decisions if they want their employees to succeed. And like autocratic management styles, employees don't get the opportunity to make decisions.

4. Laissez-Faire

These managers are generally very hands-off and allow group members to make decisions. Very little guidance is given and followers have complete freedom to make decisions. This style of management comes with a few benefits:

  • Group members become highly skilled
  • Employees are confident making decisions
  • There’s a sense of autonomy, which encourages growth

But there are some potential downfalls as well. For one, employees need to have motivation to succeed. Since they are the ones making decisions, if they aren't driven to succeed, they might not be very productive.

Also, employees working under this management style will need to have some sort of experience, something many college students don't have. This can lead to employees being set up to fail.

5. Chaotic

The chaotic management style is one which employees have control over decision making which, in turn, produces a flat organizational structure. Authority in this style is often based around different departments or divisions.

Like Laissez-Faire managers, chaotic managers often give little guidance. Company goals are generally outlined and employees have the task of making decisions to reach those goals. This management style is very popular among innovative tech companies or startups. As a result, employees can generally become very skilled and become comfortable making decisions. This can help them develop managerial skills which can be very beneficial in a career.

A chaotic management style also has many of the same pitfalls as the Laissez-Faire style namely, employees must be very motivated to succeed. Additionally, employees must invest in the company goals to ensure they stay productive.


Every management style has pros and cons, and no single management style is better than the other. What is important is that your management style benefits your employees while meeting organizational goals. And when it comes to college students, whichever style you choose is very important.

These were only a few managerial styles out of many that exist. Be sure to check different managerial styles and implement one that your employees can benefit most from! 

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