I work in an organization with a lot of highly-motivated self-starters—which is also to say, people who don't need a lot of direct management, and chafe when they get it. A recent change in leadership from a micromanager to a more hands-off leader has tremendously improved our work environment.

This made me wonder whether there are different management styles (or models?) for specific personality types; and perhaps be extension, for specific types of work. In broad strokes at least, one could imagine that engineers might prefer (or need) different managerial styles than creative types. Or, one might think that an R&D division would have to be managed very differently from a sales division.

(I'm assuming that personality and career are going to be broadly correlated. I think this is obvious on one level, but might be controversial if we got too specific.)

Are there different management models for different tasks/professions/personality types? (Where could I learn about them?) Would it be common for a large corporation to employ different models in different divisions, or do management styles/models tend to be homogeneous within a corporation?

Edit: This is a question about existing management practices. I am not asking about whether there should or should not be management models tailored to personality types or task types. I simply want to know whether this is something that companies do (and if so, where I could learn more about that). Possible answers: “Yes, everyone knows that you should manage a sales division with model X, but a R&D division with model Y.” Or: “No, no one does that.”

  • VTC unclear. What "personality types" are you talking about? If you're talking about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator nonsense, it's (un)common knowledge that those are not intended for use in a business context or for behavioural profiling. I could see useful answers about handling introverts or extroverts but even there that distinction sort of breaks down in a workplace where you can expect employees to behave professionally and don't need to hand-hold them. Ultimately I think your premise is too questionable for this to be answerable.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:29
  • @Lilienthal If that's the case, then the answer is, “No, there are no such management styles or models.”
    – adam.baker
    Nov 7, 2016 at 11:50
  • I was specifically vague on what counts as a personality type, because I can imagine heated disagreements about which personality inventory to use. (And there are also bound to be individual exceptions.)
    – adam.baker
    Nov 7, 2016 at 11:52
  • Many orgs DO attempt to measure personality traits either through Myers Briggs or other tests. In the past this info was used by management (presumably strictly for the benefit of managers), but lately it has become part of HR-driven exercises to get employees to understand that there are different ways of interacting with different people. I have no idea if these exercises actually work, they seem like a waste of time, but they exist for a reason.
    – teego1967
    Nov 7, 2016 at 11:53
  • I don't find that this is unclear, so much as it's too broad. What you are ultimately asking is very large portions of psychology, from personality psychology to industrial/organizational psychology, management/leadership, etc. It fills thousands of articles, books, and is an active area of research. And yes, career does correlate with a variety of personality measures, most popular trait-based theories being the Big Five (OCEAN) and Catell's 16PF. People are different, value and prefer different things, and react differently to various stimuli. So 'yes' - but that's not very helpful.
    – BrianH
    Nov 7, 2016 at 20:20

5 Answers 5


Yes, there definitely are. Management paradigms have been evolving through the ages, along with technologies and new generations ariving to the workplace.

A brief history of management styles

Starting with the 1st industrial revolution, we've seen large increases in productivity and standardization of the production process. Around this time, people began to see the need to theorize management methods.

Management 1.0 : Also called Taylorism or Scientific Mangement. It was theorised in the 1910's, and revolves around extremely strict processes, to produce the same output every time. It's extremely Top-Down driven : Manager orders, employees carry out instructions. Basicaly, the operator is a tool, and can be changed to any role, without any consideration about his skills.

Management 2.0 : Theorized in the 1950's by Deming in the US and Toyota in Japan (lean). It relies on the principles of continuous amelioration (PDCA : Plan, Do, Check, Act). In theory, it aims to "getting the right things to the right place at the right time in the right quantity to achieve perfect work flow". Decision making is delegated to the employees that know the business problems. However, it relies on a fluid information flow. In practice, managers often retain information in order to keep a leveraging power, and this leads to the creation of silos in the work organisation.

Management 3.0 : Theorized in 2001 with the book "Agile Manifesto". Its original aim was to accelerate the release of features in software development, but it is now applied more and more to other fields. It relies in creating small teams composed of all the skills needed, that will work in very small iterations (2 weeks to 1 month). Once an iteration is done, the result is shown to the client, that can indicate wether it suits its needs or not. This aims to both break the silos created within Management 2.0 and to allow the client to have an active role and adjust its expectation as the project progresses. In this style of management, the manager isn't directive anymore, but rather seen as a gardener allowing its team members to grow.

The management style inside the company

Usually, companies will adopt a style of management on their global scale, according to their culture, industry, competition, ... Some companies have extremely directive management styles (Strategic industries like weapons, nuclear, ...), whereas other are giving more freedom to their employees and embracing agility (The GAFAs : Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon ...). Nowaday, most companies use a model close to Management 2.0. But whatever the global management style, you can always adapt and chose a specific style for your own team.

Adapting management to individuals

A good idea to decide which management style to addopt would be by asking directly your team. Set up a "team building" meeting, and try to determine their driver. A few exercizes I really like are Personnal Maps (allows members of the team to know each other better), and CHAMPFROGS (ask people to order each of the values from most important to least important).

I'm personally a big fan of Agile methodologies, and I invite you to read Jurgen Appelo's vision about agile businesses.






Yes there are, but a proper answer is more fit in a book and with experience.

A very starting point can be this page of Wikipedia

  • Autocratic
  • Consultative
  • Persuasive
  • Democratic
  • Chaotic
  • Laissez-faire
  • Management by Walking Around (MBWA)
  • Asian paternalistic

This list is from that page but you will find different ones in the literature.

So what now ? Let's imagine you have two team you're taking over as a manager:

  1. Trainees/Newbies team, very few experience, definitively need guidance.
  2. Senior team, here since a long term in the company, very autonomous and expert in their fields.

For the first one, this team definitively need a manager/team leader to guide them and watch on them. On the second one, they're so experienced that they won't accept that you follow them like the first one, a Democratic/Laissez-faire management will work way better.

I took two absolute opposite points because this case is quite obvious. In reality you have to figure out how the dynamic of the team, where it lacks things that need you to get involved to fill it, if there is a leader among them (not the official team lead, but someone acknowledge by the team) deal with him to push things, if there is none take the lead.

Finally read books about this check Trent's answer which is very specific about situational management, these are just what I remember from my management classes.


A good manager is flexible and has management strategies that evolve with changes in the team, projects and environments. There is no one way of doing things that is the only 'correct' one. If you have two people in charge it's good to have contrasting complimentary styles sometimes. Good cop bad cop stuff.

  • are you talking about slavedriving in the last paragraph?
    – user42272
    Nov 7, 2016 at 4:34
  • Wel, some employees are only productive if you whip them, so..... But be sure to try every other possibility first.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Nov 7, 2016 at 8:34
  • @gazzz0x2z: "whipping" works only from alpha manager types to omega sub types. Any other setup (consider existence of betas) will result awkward and misunderstood situations, I highly discourage and suggest against "whipping".
    – Sonic
    Nov 7, 2016 at 9:35
  • @Sonic : That's why I'm saying, try everything else first. In most cases, violent leadership is a bad idea for plenty of reasons, the first one being that avengeful employees are dangerous.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Nov 7, 2016 at 11:08
  • 1
    @gazzz0x2z: Yes, I got you, just I feel hard to keep that sentence in that form. I would rephrase it, if I were you, but it is your call.
    – Sonic
    Nov 7, 2016 at 12:14

At an optimal workplace you will face with People doing Tasks for the Company.

Tasks and Companies, if reasonable, are neutral in attitude, intention, and are easy to be subject for methodology.

People are a more complex topic. People will include the former aspects, and are flexible enough to change in many ways, and most importantly for finding solutions, workarounds, different ways. So a methodology will get obsolete sooner or later. Because of this, management models for specific categories may prove to be useful, but they are highly situation dependent ones, and a fit-for-all can not be created.

As I focus here on People, I suggest to you to go after Communication. People are easily picking up communication styles, which are recognizable for the moment, you can adjust yours to fit, and be able to succesfully inform the other one. You are partly right in there, that career and personalities corellate, considering that whoever is capable to adjust or change to the respective task, job, or even career, will be able to pursue different careers also. People will change, whether they want to, or not. This is not necessarily conflicting with their Reliability. An analyzing job will require different skills, than an architect or integrator job, still all of them are engineers. Being a good Line Manager will require again different skill set, more relating to inspiration, people interaction, presentation, etc. Of course, as you mentioned, a Sales division will have different KPIs, so different leading is necessary for collateral success. But everything will have to do with people communication.

For Communication, Quality Assurance, People Management, or Team Building you may find limitless list of concepts. So far which I consider as worth to mention (in EU) are Six Sigma, and Insight. Numerous other ones built on the same base and available as offered training for companies, but I'm not aware of books, that would be beneficial to suggest.

  • I'm struggling to figure out what your answer is actually saying. The emphasized sentence in the third paragraph doesn't say much and most of your text is buried in buzz words. I'd suggest revising and condensing this answer and dumbing it down significantly.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:35
  • 1
    @Lilienthal: The point I tried to make is that, there are models, but maybe the asker will have false expectations, and even would not discover the discrepancy. However what would be helpful is not going after m.models, but content of communication trainings. Still among these a lot will prove seemingly useful, but not all that sounds like. And also I don't support the theory about career and personality match, because it can cause decreased openness. Do you see a good way to edit the answer to cover these points?
    – Sonic
    Nov 7, 2016 at 12:22
  • The only thing I'd suggest is to put an abbreviated version of that comment up front to summarise your point so the rest of your answer expands on that.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 8, 2016 at 14:21

With regards to differnt leadership styles based on the relative confidence level of each employee: If you want some books that you can power through in one or two evenings, I suggest a few of the Situational Leadership books.

Some in particular that I found useful:

  • The One Minute Manager (his first book - more of a parable than a guide)
  • Leadership and the One Minute Manager (where he conceptualises his leadership theory enough for it to be A Thing)
  • One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey (a book about assigning and receiving tasks)
  • 2
    Welcome to the site Trent. While I appreciate that you took the time to point out some resources for the OP, I'm downvoting and flagging this answer as a variation on the "link-only" non-answer. On SE answers should actually contain an answer to the question and just as book recommendation questions aren't welcome, answers that just refer to books are largely useless for what this site aims to do.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 7, 2016 at 11:11

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