It's not enough to understand your own management style; you also need to know how to highlight it on your resume

When companies are hiring for management positions, they are always keenly interested in understanding each candidate's particular style. They understand that different managers have different styles, and want to ensure that the person they hire will be a good fit for their needs. As a job candidate seeking a managerial role, you will need to ensure that your resume properly highlights your style. But what are the most common management styles and how can you showcase them on your resume?

In this post, we'll explore the seven most common management styles and examine their benefits in the workplace. We'll also provide some helpful tips that can help you to effectively highlight your management style on your resume.

 What are management styles, anyway?

When we talk about management styles, we are really talking about the different ways that any manager can wield authority to organize people, allocate and use resources, and achieve their company's goals and mission. A management style encompasses everything from how a manager plans out each day to how they communicate with every member of their team. Typically, managers adopt styles that align with their personalities and attitudes.

It's important to note that management styles have evolved over time. While authoritarian management was once the dominant style, with managers simply demanding that workers obey and follow instructions, modern management practices have largely departed from that command and control structure. Today's managers often employ more sophisticated methods as they organize and direct their teams.

With that noted, let's take a look at seven of the most common styles that today's managers use to lead their teams and achieve their company's goals. As you read through these management types, you should also note that managers often employ aspects of multiple styles in their own careers. Remember, no two managers are ever exactly alike.

Top-down management styles

The top-down management style is well known and has been used throughout the history of commerce. Also known as the autocratic or coercive management style, it's characterized by an authoritarian manager who makes all decisions and expects the team to simply follow directions. You often see this style of management in companies that are highly structured, with detailed rules and processes in place to guide and direct every employee action.

While this top-down approach to decision-making can stunt employee innovation, it can be an effective way to manage inexperienced teams. It's also a useful strategy to manage crisis situations and can even enhance productivity when it provides the right guidance and structure. However, too much top-down management can inhibit employee growth and development, destroy morale, and lead to a loss of creativity in the workforce. To counter that, many top-down managers also encourage at least some input from their teams to maintain employee engagement.

How to highlight a top-down management style on your resume

Even if you tend to be an authoritarian leader, you probably don't want to describe yourself as such in your resume. Instead, you should focus on descriptions that highlight your decisiveness, structured approach to management, and commitment to achieving results. You should also provide examples of how your style of management has produced positive results for your previous employers, of course.  Since a top-down management style is often used in crisis situations, you may want to emphasize a time when your leadership style helped your company to overcome an unforeseen challenge.

Engagement-focused management styles

The engagement style of management focuses on a different approach to organizing and directing a team. Instead of adopting top-down leadership that seeks no input from team members, this type of manager is committed to ensuring that their employees are all fully engaged in most areas of the business. This manager will regularly seek out team members' opinions and often maintain open-door policies for all employees.

At the same time, however, engagement-focused managers still make the final call on any decisions. Their commitment to consulting with their team to ensure that all good ideas are heard and considered can help to ensure that employee engagement and morale remains consistently high. Moreover, this type of leader typically has a strong rapport with their team, which can be leveraged to ensure increased productivity and team cohesion.

How to highlight an engagement-focused management style on your resume

When highlighting your engagement-focused style, be sure to include skills like active listening, collaboration, and team building. The goal is to illustrate how your focus on engaging your employees enables you to motivate them to achieve superior results. You will also want to include details about how your style helped your team and company to achieve some measurable goal that benefited the organization.  

Democratic management styles

The democratic approach to management is pretty much what it sounds like. This type of manager avoids the top-down approach to leading a team, instead opting for a style that encourages employee participation in the decision-making process. Their style works to decentralize as much authority as possible, collaborating with their team members rather than dictating their every action. Often, these types of managers will create teams that are highly motivated and empowered.

The democratic management style can result in increased performance when teams feel that they have a great deal of ownership in their results. In addition, teams built by democratic managers typically have high retention rates. However, this style can also create problems when the collaborative decision-making process fails to produce consensus in a timely manner. To counter that, democratic managers tend to reserve the power to make the final decision when necessary.

How to highlight a democratic management style on your resume

If you're a democratic manager, it is important to highlight the traits and skills that bring you success in your managerial role. For example, you can focus your resume on your commitment to collaborating with employees, your role as a facilitator for innovation, and your success in creating empowered teams with high performance rates and strong company engagement. Try to cite a few examples of how this management style enabled you to create value for your employer.

The lead-by-example management style

Managers who lead by example can be some of the most effective leaders in any team environment. These managers set clear objectives and expectations and work tirelessly to set the example that all employees are expected to follow. Typically, this management style is most effective in workplaces where quality is a necessity. It's also successful in environments where teams are relatively new and can benefit from having a strong example to follow.

This type of manager can often get their team to be extremely productive and highly motivated. However, it can also cause burnout for managers who struggle to know their own limits and can create problems throughout the team if expectations are set too high.

How to highlight a lead-by-example management style on your resume

If you're a manager who likes to lead by example, it is important to highlight that style in your resume by describing successes that have added value for your employer. You should note your skill at setting the pace for your team and emphasize the positive impact your leadership has had on building teams that exceed expectations.

Inspirational management style

The inspirational manager uses a style of management that focuses on charismatic leadership and securing buy-in from every member of the team. These managers are the consummate “company men” (or women), who are focused on driving value throughout their area of influence in order to secure the company's goals. They are also extremely personable and skilled in building rapport with their subordinates. An inspirational manager always seems to be able to convince his team to drive themselves to greater levels of excellence.

If you're an inspirational manager, it's because you have a visionary approach to leading your team and pursuing the company's goals. You also have a knack for empowering your team members' creativity, sparking innovation, and a forward-thinking approach to getting things done. You are a motivator, a skilled communicator, and an expert in facilitating brainstorming and conflict resolution.

How to highlight an inspirational management style on your resume

When highlighting your inspirational management style on a resume, you should use terms like visionary, trust-building, and motivation to highlight your emphasis on inspiring your team. Include mention of your strong communication skills, commitment to empowering your team, and your dedication to the company's vision.

Coaching management style

The coaching management style is typically used by managers whose primary emphasis is on employee development and empowerment. These managers spend much of their time supporting and challenging their subordinates in ways that help them to develop in every area of their career and life. Management coaches are never afraid to pick and choose from other management styles to achieve their ends.

A good coaching manager can be semi-authoritarian when necessary, delegate responsibilities, or focus on support and empowerment of the team, depending on what the situation requires. Like a coach in the sporting world, these managers are not afraid to go outside of their ordinary playbook if that's what's required to help their team members reach their developmental goals.

How to highlight a coaching management style on your resume

When describing this management style, feel free to use words like coaching, employee development, and team building. Highlight your focus on helping employees to learn and expand their skill sets. Of course, you should also include specific instances where your coaching style has helped team members and the company to achieve measurable results that added real value.

 Transactional management style

Transactional management is focused on getting results and is best used in environments populated with highly motivated team members. A transactional manager is skilled in establishing structure, goals, and processes, and using reward systems to motivate employees to reach those expectations. It's a common style of management in many companies where workers are expected to meet certain sales expectations, but can also be effective in other corporate environments when used properly.

To be an effective transactional manager, you need to understand the types of personalities you have on your team and the things that motivate them to exceed expectations. As a result, this type of management style is most effective when used by managers who are skilled at building some type of positive rapport with their teams.

How to highlight a transactional management style on your resume

Including information about your transactional management style in a resume should be easy. The very fact that you rely on rewards-based transactions to motivate employees to achieve goals should provide plenty of examples of success that you can cite in your work experience section. In addition, you can include relevant skills like project analysis, team building, process creation, and more in your skill section.

Some tips to help you to effectively convey your management style in your resume

If you are still struggling to determine your management style, or are not quite sure how to include that information in your resume in a compelling way, these tips may help to set you on the right path.

Tips to identify your management style 

  1. If you're like many managers, you may read through those examples of management styles and notice that your own style seems to be a combination of two or more styles. That's perfectly normal! Good managers are capable of shifting between styles as needed, adopting the methods and ideas that work for them and discarding the ones that don't.

  2. One way to determine your management style is to think about your personality. Which traits do you employ when managing people? Are you someone who likes to dictate outcomes, or do you prefer a more collaborative approach? Write down a list of your preferences and what works best for you, and then compare that list to the examples we cited above.

  3. You can also consider how you prefer to reach decisions, and which questions you might ask yourself when a decision needs to be made quickly. If you're focused primarily on making a quick decision, chances are that you tend to be more top-down in your management style; if you find yourself wondering how the decision will impact your team, you may be more democratic, and so on.

Tips to include your management style on your resume

  1. When adding your management style to your resume, focus on three main areas: your resume summary, your work experience section, and your skills section.

  2. In your resume summary, include a sentence or two that emphasizes your management style by using powerful keywords that create a compelling narrative about you. For example, “Experienced manager committed to creating collaborative work environments for team members, encouraging greater engagement to drive innovation and improve productivity and end results.”

  3. In your skills section, be sure to highlight relevant skills that you use as part of your management style. These can include both hard and soft skills, as well as specific interpersonal abilities that enable you to successfully lead your team. Examples include things like team building, conflict resolution, creative thinking, problem solving, delegation, brainstorming, collaboration, and many others.

  4. When adding achievements to your work experience section, be sure to focus on accomplishments with measurable results. This is the most effective way to ensure that your reader can easily imagine the type of value that you could add to their organization. For example: “Created and implemented a reward system for ABC Inc's sales team that motivated our team members to increase sales by 33% in a one-month period, with a sustained increase in sales success in the three months after the campaign's end.” Select a few of your greatest accomplishments and include them in your resume.

  5. Finally, don't be afraid to brag about all you've achieved. Companies that are looking for managers are not interested in wallflowers. Instead, they want confident, capable candidates who know their own value and worth.

Next steps

If you are a job seeker looking for your next managerial role, it's vital to understand the most common management styles and recognize which one has helped you to achieve your management success. This post has provided you with the insight you need to identify your unique style and successfully convey that information in your resume, so that prospective employers can easily see the type of value that you can offer to their organization.

Want to ensure that your resume does the best possible job in highlighting your management style? Get the peace of mind you need by obtaining your free resume review from our team of resume experts today!

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