In the world of business management, leaders have a wide range of styles that they can adopt to inspire, motivate, and manage their teams. One such style is the paternalistic management style, which involves the leader acting as a parent figure, making decisions for employees based on what they believe is best for them. In this article, we will explore what a paternalistic management style is, how to use it, and its good and bad points, including relevant examples.

What is Paternalistic Management Style?

The paternalistic management style is a leadership approach that involves the leader acting as a parent figure, making decisions for employees based on what they believe is best for them. This style is founded on the belief that the leader knows what is best for their employees and that they have a responsibility to take care of them. Paternalistic leaders make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of their employees, even if it means sacrificing short-term gains for long-term benefits. This style is suitable for cultures where respect for authority is highly valued, and for leaders who are willing to take responsibility for their employees.

How to Use Paternalistic Management Style?

The paternalistic management style can be effective in situations where employees are looking for guidance and support from their leaders. Here are some ways to use the paternalistic management style effectively:

  1. Build Trust: Paternalistic leaders build trust with their employees by acting in their best interest and taking responsibility for their well-being.
  2. Communicate Effectively: Paternalistic leaders communicate effectively with their employees to ensure that they understand the goals and expectations.
  3. Encourage Collaboration: Paternalistic leaders encourage collaboration and teamwork to ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal.
  4. Provide Support and Resources: Paternalistic leaders provide the necessary support and resources to help their employees succeed.

The Good and Bad Points of Paternalistic Management Style

Like any management style, paternalistic management has its good and bad points. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this style of management:


  1. Builds Trust: Paternalistic management style builds trust between leaders and employees, which can lead to higher levels of engagement and commitment.
  2. Encourages Collaboration: Paternalistic management style encourages collaboration and teamwork, which can lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making.
  3. Supports Employee Development: Paternalistic management style supports the development of employees by providing guidance and support.


  1. Can Be Condescending: Paternalistic management style can be seen as condescending and paternalistic, which can lead to resentment and low morale.
  2. Can Stifle Creativity: Paternalistic management style can stifle creativity by limiting employee autonomy and decision-making.
  3. Can Be Ineffective in Diverse Environments: Paternalistic management style can be ineffective in diverse environments, where different individuals have different needs and expectations.

Relevant Examples of Paternalistic Management Style

There are several well-known examples of successful leaders who have adopted a paternalistic management style. One such example is Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple. Jobs was known for his strong vision and leadership, and for making decisions based on what he believed was best for the company and its employees. Another example is Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, who is known for her maternalistic leadership style, which involves building relationships with employees and acting as a mentor and coach.

In conclusion, the paternalistic management style can be an effective way to build trust and encourage collaboration between leaders and employees. However, it can also be seen as condescending and paternalistic, and can stifle creativity and autonomy. Leaders who adopt this style must carefully consider the needs and expectations of their employees, and ensure that their decisions are made in the best interest of everyone involved. By balancing the needs of their employees with the goals of the organization, paternalistic leaders can create a workplace that is productive, engaging, and supportive.

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