What Is A Management Philosophy? (With Examples)

By Caitlin Mazur - Jul. 5, 2022
Articles In Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

Every manager is different in the way they interact with their employees, make decisions, and strategize. When you become a manager or start a new managerial position, it’s important for you to figure out your management philosophy so that you can be consistent in your leadership style.

To help you do this, in this article we’ll explain what a management philosophy is, what a few of the standardized, overarching leadership styles are, and how to create your own management philosophy.

Key Takeaways

  • Your management philosophy will help guide your decisionmaking and your responses to situations.

  • Your experience, employees, and company culture will influence your management philosophy.

  • It’s helpful to write your management philosophy down so you can revisit it, whether it’s a sentence or a page long.

Management Philosophy

What Is a Management Philosophy?

A leadership philosophy or a management philosophy is a structured approach that assists managers in leading others. A leadership philosophy acts as a statement that can help managers, both new and old, lead their teams.

The typical management philosophy can vary depending on the person and the management style they bring to their team. It will also vary by department, specific team goals, and company initiatives.

However, most leadership philosophies encompass components like theory, attitude, guiding principles or beliefs, and behavior. All of these components are extremely important when thinking about management style. Depending on your needs and goals, your statements might be a single sentence or a full page in length.

Remember, management philosophies are personal documents that act as a reference document for you, as a manager. This means that you can make them whatever you want them to be. Any length, structure, or components are acceptable, depending on what works best for the individual manager.

There are a variety of benefits of having a management philosophy, but some of the most important are as follows:

  • Confidence. With your leadership philosophy in your back pocket, you can find more confidence in your decisions and management style as time goes on. Being able to have a document you can reference will help with consistent management style and decision-making.

  • Hiring. Knowing what you want and what makes your team successful will allow you to make better hiring decisions. It will help you identify the type of individual you want on your team and ensure you don’t stray from your beliefs, despite your initial reaction.

  • Clarity. Having a management philosophy document will allow you to be consistent in your expectations. This has a trickle-down effect ensuring your direct reports are clear on your expectations across positions, projects, and deadlines.

  • High performance. With more clarity, better team member fits, and confidence, your team and you as a manager will undoubtedly perform better.

    A management philosophy will take away the guesswork from your team, allowing them to better use their skills, leading to a more productive, engaged, and innovative team.

  • Retention. Retaining your staff is an important thing for any manager. By having a management philosophy and being consistent in your management style, you’ll likely retain more of your staff than if you didn’t have a leadership philosophy.

Creating a management philosophy is fairly easy, especially if you’ve been managing for a period of time.

It’s simply taking your existing style, or what you imagine your management style to be, and writing it down on paper, such as: What are your goals as a manager? How do you want to manage your team on a daily basis? What’s important to you?

It also helps to have this in your pocket when you’re interviewing for a management position. Hiring managers will appreciate the specifics when asking about your management process. It will help give your credibility to the potential employer and allow you to answer your questions with more confidence.

List of Management Philosophy Examples

So, what does a management philosophy or leadership philosophy look like in action? There are a few different types of leadership philosophies depending on the position the specific individual holds. Based on the different types of philosophies, these examples will have different frameworks and end goals.

  • Democratic leadership philosophy. Similar to democracy, democratic leadership is when the entire team is empowered to help make decisions. This means the manager is adamant about collecting team feedback and implementing it into the final solution or project.

  • Autocratic management philosophy. This type of management or leadership style is where the decision-making and execution sit solely on the manager’s shoulders. Rather than providing strategic feedback, the team is there to execute.

  • Laissez-faire leadership philosophy. Laissez-faire leadership provides equal power of final decision-making and implementation to the leader and the team.

    Typically, the manager is hands-off and allows the team to run the projects and manage deadlines. The leader in this situation will focus their efforts on higher-level strategy matters.

  • Strategic management philosophy. Strategic management typically splits the focus of the manager between the higher-level strategy and team management. This means they’re adamant in ensuring everyone on the team has clear roles and responsibilities to produce maximum efficiency.

  • Transformational leadership philosophy. Transformational leadership’s main focus is on constant evolution. This means continuously updating benchmarks, goals, and strategies.

    Typically, managers who use transformational leadership spend a great deal of time learning new practices or processes to ensure their teams perform at their best.

  • Transactional management philosophy. These types of managers rely on compensation and incentives to help their teams meet certain goals. They may establish the reward with their leadership team to confirm that they would be rewarded with something specific if their team should meet a specific goal.

Choosing the type of management philosophy you gravitate towards will solely depend on you as an individual and manager, as well as your team’s experience and needs.

For example, suppose you have hired younger professionals who may be entering the workforce for the first time. In that case, an autocratic management philosophy might be a better strategy to ensure your team is successful on various fronts.

However, if you have hired a team of individuals for their unique expertise on their roles or the industry, a democratic or laissez-faire leadership philosophy might be better so that you ensure you’re getting the best perspectives from all sides.

The same goes for team types. For example, transactional management may work well for a sales team but not so great for an administrative team, as their job doesn’t revolve around specific goals.

How to Create a Management Philosophy

Your management philosophy is going to be unique to you, and while it can change as you gain experience or find yourself in different management settings, nailing down your personal philosophy as it is now will be helpful for making decisions that are consistent with what you value.

Here are some tips for figuring out what your management philosophy is:

  • Compare your natural leadership style with the types of leadership philosophies. By identifying a few that sound like the type of leader you want to be, you can start to get an idea of what you believe makes an effective manager.

  • Consider what you want in a leader. Think through your past bosses, both the ones you liked and the ones you didn’t.

    What did you admire in their leadership skills? What made them good managers or poor ones? What might your employees want or need from you? The answers to these questions can help you form your management philosophy.

  • Think about the goals of your position. Different management roles have different purposes, so keep your job’s purpose in mind as you create your management philosophy.

    If your overall goal is to keep manufacturing production up, for example, you’ll likely need to have a slightly different leadership philosophy than you would if you were managing a team of designers tasked with highly creative projects.

  • Leave room for growth. While your management philosophy should help you stay consistent as a leader, you should be intentional about revisiting and adjusting it regularly.

    As you take classes, get feedback, or see the results of your efforts, your philosophy can (and probably should) change, so keep an open mind as you gain experience.

Tips for Writing Your Management Philosophy

As we mentioned previously, there are a variety of ways to approach a management philosophy. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Brief introduction. Your philosophy should have a brief, one-line introduction that encompasses what you consider to be best management practices. This could come in various forms, such as ensuring managers get feedback and input from their teams or what specific responsibilities you believe managers have.

    You can also consider the fundamental things you believe makes a manager successful in any organization.

  • Expand in the body. Now, you’ll work on the real meat of your philosophy. The body should explain how you think about the relationship between employee and manager. Is the main focus relationships, communication, strategy, execution, or specific goals?

    In addition, you’ll want to write out what you believe your role is as a manager. This should be what you strive to build towards and what you believe is necessary to ensure you are a successful and efficient manager.

  • Management strategies. Once you have your ideal management qualities down, you’ll want to think about strategies like the ones listed above. You want to list where you learned the strategy and how you can be most effective using the specific strategy.

    You can consider even adding examples of other managers you’ve worked for or strategies that have worked for you in the past.

  • Goals. Consider the specific goals you have as a manager. What do you want to accomplish during your time managing a team?

    Establish those goals even before you begin writing to ensure you’re crafting your leadership philosophy around them. The actions you take after establishing these goals will impact your success.

  • Conclusion. Your conclusion should be a concise summary of your statement that includes the ideal relationship between managers and employees and how you view your role and management strategies.

    You can also include how you envision implementing your management philosophy moving forward.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Articles In Guide
Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Caitlin Mazur

Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

Related posts