The 4 most common project management styles

You need to be able to manage a project correctly. The success of all undertakings depends on different factors, including the styles of management as well.

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Being a leader means thinking less about your needs; more is about the needs of people while correctly setting tasks for project management. 

Few managers think about the management styles in an organization. Trying to define an inherent model and improve it often seems like an unnecessary complication. Why? If things are done, subordinates work, and the business remains afloat. However, it is the leader’s behavior style that usually determines such crucial things for each company as the level of motivation of employees, their loyalty to the company, as well as the ability to generate new ideas.

More than one weighty scientific work has been written about how to choose your management style correctly, and it can take several years to study all existing theories. You can save time by reading the essential information on management styles and how the project management process works. But first, let’s determine the term of project management style.

What is a project management style?

Project management style is a model of interaction with subordinates that is familiar to a leader. On its basis, management styles help to make decisions, delegate tasks, and determine responsible persons.

Even if the leader is not aware of what kind of management style is typical for the business, he or she still has an established pattern of behavior. The leader makes this choice due to the natural characteristics of the character, the current situation in the company, different phases of project management, and other factors.

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It is crucial to understand that there is no ideal management style. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages. The primary skill of an effective leader will be the ability to adapt their management styles depending on the current situation and the personality type of a particular employee.

And now, it’s time to dig deeper and have a close look at management styles.

4 project management styles

There are different styles of project management. And speaking of any classification, you need to know which criterion was taken as the main one. At this point, we will consider not all styles. However, the choice fell on those that you can apply in most situations.

The first style: command

project management styles

This type of management involves many oral assignments with a minimum of support. Its essence lies in that you simply explain to your subordinates what to do, how to do it, and when the work should be done.

This style can hardly be called inspirational. However, it can be very relevant if you work with freelancers or third-party contractors. You need a specific result, and you know exactly when the work needs to be done, but you do not have time to do everything yourself. Then you give the job to remote workers. Or, for example, you may need to complete some tasks urgently, and then you turn to your assistant and tell him or her what needs to be done.

So, it’s easy to guess that this management style is unlikely to help you build a corporate culture. The best implementation of this style lies in when you have freelancers or third-party contractors under your supervision.

The second type: mentoring

project management styles

The next type of management implies a lot of oral assignments and a lot of support from the leader. It is best to stick to this style when the result is beyond your team’s control, but you want your people to be motivated and inspired.

You can achieve this through mentoring and persuasion.

A typical use case for this project management style is that you’ve taken a new direction for your brand. You have to achieve not only that marketers, copywriters, and designers work together, but also be motivated to get the best possible result.

It will be meaningful for you as a leader in such a situation to explain to your subordinates constantly, why you made this decision. Your team should get as much information as possible from your side. You also need to convey the promise of the idea to employees and convince them you are acting in the common interest. And the great project management experience will be helpful and useful in this case.

This management style is best maintained when you are leading a team of full-time employees. However, if you have deputies or managers, it is best to turn to the Support and Delegate styles.

The third style: supportive

project management styles

As the name suggests, a supportive management style involves a minimum of instruction and maximum support. Typically, you will need to listen to ideas and suggestions from colleagues and then make a final decision.

When using this management style, all employees must understand who will make the final decision (you). However, your team needs to get that each of its members makes a valuable contribution to the result and all the suggestions will be considered.

Thus, this style of personnel management applies best when you also have managers, department heads, and deputies in your subordination.

The fourth style: delegation

project management styles

This management style requires a minimum of assignments and a minimum of support. You can apply it only if you are completely confident in the person who will be responsible for making the final decision.

Of course, this management style does not always yield good results. In situations where the CEO finds his subordinates are making ineffective decisions, he is better off switching to tactics that involve closer collaboration with the team.

This management style will work for you if your team consists of senior executives, deputies, and department heads. But the further result will still depend on the chosen management style.

Changing management styles over time

Over time, your company will grow, and therefore the project management styles of personnel management will change. Below you will find some examples of how the leadership style changes depending on the size of the business.

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Example # 1: Startup (5 people)

A startup usually has a small team, so you will most likely be the sole leader. It means that most of the time, you will adhere to styles of mentoring and support.

If you have a co-founder, then, most likely, you delegate some part of the responsibilities to him. For example, he may be involved in finance and sales, as he understands this better than you.

As soon as you have several managers in your subordination, you can mostly stick to the Support style, moving at some points to guidance and delegation.

Example # 2: Medium business (300 people)

A medium-sized company usually has several levels of leadership, with a CEO at the head. In most cases, the leader will combine support and delegation styles depending on which team members they are talking to.

If the team is made up of experienced managers, then they may be allowed to make more responsible decisions. Ultimately, for a medium-sized business leader, an important task is the professionalism and efficiency of the employees they hire.

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Four types of leadership

Let’s look at how you can communicate a decision in the context of each management style.

Let’s say you are the CEO of a software company (100 employees) and you decide to launch a new product. Here’s how you can communicate this decision using one of the styles listed above:

Command: ‘I decided that we are launching a new product. Here’s what you need to do to get it ready for launch …’

Mentoring: ‘I decided that we are launching a new product. Now I will tell you why it is so important for us to launch it and how you can help prepare it for entering the market …’

Supportive: ‘We need to launch a new product. I ask you to prepare your launch strategy options and show them to me so that I can make the final decision. ‘

Delegation: ‘We need to launch a new product. However, the decision on how we do this is up to you.’

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The consequences of a wrong chosen style

All people make mistakes. It is impossible to move forward without this. However, when it comes to choosing project management principles, such a failure can, in every sense, cost the company dearly.

The chosen management style effects:

  • The psychological climate in the team. Here, everything is usually fine with the leaders of the Democrats, but the dictators’ subordinates driven by fear feel underestimated, lose interest, can’t see an end to work.
  • Staff turnover. The first point leads to the second. The best employees, who are dissatisfied with the style of management, leave; only mediocre opportunists, as well as retirees, who are accustomed to the fact that the boss can be different from the days of their youth, remain.
  • The presence of new ideas that are necessary for the development of the company, like air. If they are generated by only one person (CEO), they gradually lose their novelty. All this leads to the fact that the organization stands still. In an environment where competitors are running forward, this is virtually equivalent to walking backward.
  • The ability to pull together and act as one in difficult times. It is usually problematic with an overly democratic management style. The right of the last word should always remain with the leader.


So, in this article, the four project management styles have been described. You can start using them in your work right now. Besides, it is essential to remember that finding one perfect option is impossible. The development of a startup is influenced by both internal and external factors: a market with prevailing characteristics and mentality, investors, competitors. Be mentally prepared for the fact that the management model can change more than a dozen times. Don’t dwell on one business model, choose the best of each theory to fit a specific project lifecycle.

The types of management styles are different, and their application to the business too. The wrongly chosen style can lead to harmful consequences. That’s why you should come to this question carefully. If you are not 100% sure what style fits you best, then there is always a way to ask specialists for professional help. Purrweb can help you with the project management issues and grow your project rapidly and accurately. The company which has helped others and will help you!

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