The 4 Leadership Styles In Management

Volume 14 • Issue 1

Welcome to our e-Newsletter on the leadership styles in management!

To share some recent news, an editor from contacted me about my book, TOPS Managing Up: How to Identify Your Manager’s Style and Build a Stronger Relationship, (available on Amazon) with the intention of interviewing me about this timely leadership styles in management topic. And so, with little preparation, I found myself ‘on the other side of the desk’ so to speak. Some of you may know that I have interviewed virtual team leaders for my book, “A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams,” and it was a pleasant change to answer, rather than ask, the questions! Through this interview, I realized that here was a topic (the manager – employee relationship) that deserved more attention, and what better place to share my ideas about how to manage your boss and sustain this key relationship than in our AIM News.

In This Issue

Why Managing Up Matters More Now Than Ever…

Managing Up was always a sensible approach to one’s professional growth. Today, heightened competition and evolving technology creating uncertainty and potentially fewer opportunities in the workplace, nurturing this key relationship becomes even more important. You may consider yourself a reliable employee who produces high quality deliverables within budgetary and time constraints, but an uncomfortable relationship with your manager can work against your advancement. Even if you enjoy a good working relationship with him/her, there are always areas which you can improve, such as ways of communicating and handling differences.

Essentially, Managing Up is about creating a more successful working relationship between you and your manager. It is not about flattery or politics; it is about cooperating and building trust so that individual, shared and organizational goals can be achieved. More specifically, it involves being sensitive to your boss’s preferred leadership styles in management and adjusting your behavior to better facilitate a smooth working relationship. Failure to “manage” this important work relationship can lead to missed opportunities to demonstrate skills, lost promotions, damaged reputations and even forced resignations.

Four Primary Points of Leadership Styles in Management

Employees who work effectively with their managers are sensitive to their boss’s leadership styles in management while fully recognizing their own needs and styles. You cannot change your boss’s style, but you can become aware of what it is about him/her that facilitates a good work relationship. Through this understanding you can establish a way of working that makes you both more productive; in addition you can adjust your style in response to your boss’s preferred leadership styles in management.

What are these four leadership styles in management? Although there are four primary categories of managers –TOPS: Trendsetter, Outgoing, Perfectionist and Stable – I said in my interview that “most humans are complex creatures who can have a little of each quality. Once you’ve figured out your boss’s style, you can come up with an appropriate approach.”

Most people would probably agree that managers don’t have to be liked or admired; however, it is your responsibility to manage your boss because s/he is your resource for achievement, and a major stumbling block who can thwart success.

Characteristics of The Four Leadership Styles in Management

Below are some characteristics that depict the leadership styles in management. It shouldn’t be too hard to recognize not only your manager, but yourself. (Remember, everyone has a combination of the four leadership styles in management; however, within the work environment, one style is usually more predominant than the other three.)

1. Trendsetter

• Willing to experiment, likes change, is a risk taker.
• Acts with self confidence.
• Prefers variety and challenges to a routine job.
• Takes on leadership roles.
• Is competitive and controlling.
• Creates chaos with constant change.

2. Outgoing

• Prefers flexibility, little control by others.
• Communicates easily with many people.
• Responds well to recognition; values helping people.
• Loses focus and wastes time with too much talking.
• Enjoys conversation and loses track of time easily.
• Committed to everyone in the group having a say.
• Wants people to feel involved and appreciated.

3. Perfectionist

• Wants everything to be right, in compliance with laws, standards, policies and procedures.
• Dislikes chaos or unpredictable working environments.
• Expects him/herself and others to be experts.
• Overly critical and demanding of self and others.
• Always wants to find a better way to do something.

4. Stable

• Avoids surprises.
• Works/communicates well in a small group.
• Works steadily on routine tasks; is neat and organized.
• Needs detailed directions.
• Has difficulty in an unclear, changing situation.
• Prefers to work in established patterns and make changes gradually.

For additional details about how to develop a better relationship with your manager as well as practical strategies for working with each style please see TOPS: Managing Up.

Enhancing Your Working Relationship

Fortunately, common sense and following a plan will work wonders to improve the most important working relationship you have. After identifying the behaviors and characteristics you share with, or differ from, your manager, you are ready to select a specific issue or situation and work to enhance the relationship. Think of a situation you recently experienced with your manager and consider these six points (an example is provided below):

1. Your Situation: you have too many projects on your plate. Your manager just gave you a new one which shares the same due date as another high profile project.

2. Your manager’s preferred Behavior Pattern: TRENDSETTER

3. Your manager’s actions: Because the business unit became responsible for a new product, your boss assigned each team member additional various tasks required to meet the release date.

4. Your actions (to date): You started working on it knowing that you have a full plate.

5. Your planned strategy: Knowing he is a Trendsetter, keep him informed about the relative difficulty of sourcing supplies for the product (some went out of business overseas – complex instruments needed, with only 3 available suppliers). So you need to set up relationships with other vendors, and hopefully you can network across the organization to get practical insights.

6. Your planned actions: Inform the manager – in his/her style – brief, direct – need to find new suppliers and establish quality control!

Key Pointers:

• Think about what your manager says/does in specific situations and how you react.
• Then strategize/plan for ways you can manage him/her in these recurring situations.
• Be specific – think of a potential verbal response and or concrete action for each behavior exhibited by your manager.
• ‘Managing Up’ effectively is a continual process where you work towards developing and maintaining relationships that are mutual. It’s not a onetime fix.


It may seem easier to complain about a tough situation than to put forth the energy required for improvement. But these days that’s not a wise course of action. By allowing a difficult relationship with your manager to continue you could find yourself marginalized at best, or downsized at worst. Keep in mind that your manager’s concerns are real, and it’s up to you to selectively use his/her time and resources. Spend your energy on the half of the relationship within your control – your attitude and actions. Knowing that you cannot change your boss’s leadership styles in management, it’s up to you to figure out what it is about him/her that facilitates working together. Admit that you might not be managing the relationship properly and do something to change it. For the full interview, please go to:

About AIM Strategies

AIM Strategies® Applied Innovative Management® is a results-driven Human Capital Consulting firm specializing in the areas of: Global Leadership Development, Co-located and Virtual Team Facilitation, Cross Cultural Communications, and Change Integration Services. To request information about AIM’s experiential learning methods (5D’s™ Consulting/Proprietary Training Methodology and ACT™ Coaching Process), please email In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we’ll update you on tips and techniques related to raising your innovative management IQ. We are confident that the solutions we develop fit your needs and culture. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and visit to learn more about how our services unlock the people potential of your organization!

Posted in E-News, Managing Up
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