Defensive or Explanatory Management Style

Defensive or Explanatory Management Style

Management styles can either be defensive or explanatory of their position(s) or action(s).


A defensive management style is authoritative, where management has no desire or time to listen to other people’s input on ideas related to a topic or strategic direction.  Often defensive management styles are the result of leadership having no real idea as to what they are doing strategically, so management wants no one to question what they are doing or failing to do.  Defensive management style never apologizes or takes blame for mistakes or the results of any decision or outcome involving them.  Owner(s) and management that use a defensive management style often have other bad leadership traits too and the business tends to have higher employee turnover rate and lower profitability compared to their industry peers.


An explanatory management style listens to input from various levels of managers and employees, weigh various options and then makes their decision.  Management will always be able and willing to explain the reason for their decision.  Owner(s) and management that use an explanatory management style know the direction which they want or need the business to move in, but management wants to make sure that people understand why the business is moving is a certain strategic direction and want the employees to help the business succeed moving forward in that strategic direction.


There are times when decisions need to be made quickly and with minimal input, such as, when the business is in a turnaround situation or an opportunity that needs to be acted on quickly and confidentially by management.  It is how management handles communicating these decisions after the fact that will determine whether owner(s) or management is approaching their decisions from a defensive or explanatory management style.


Businesses that have owner(s) and management that use an explanatory management style tend to be more successful and profitable.


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