Whether you are leading a department or a business unit, your job is to create a high-performing team with a sole vision and understanding of success.
While the responsibilities of a manager are similar, it is natural to adapt your management style to your personality type and communication preferences. To grow as a leader and team, you must identify your default management style.
Skilled leaders are dot connectors, clarity providers, and context creators. Each manager is unique, has different experiences, education and will approach differently each situation.
Your approach makes your management style.
Even if you are not aware, you are using a management style. By identifying it, you can improve your management skills and tailor your style to best support and empower your team.
Next, we dive into the central management styles, their benefits and drawbacks, and when to use them.
What you will learn in this article?
A management style describes a manager's distinct approaches to support and guide a team.
Management style includes planning, making decisions, delegating, and managing your team. Throughout your career, you might use different management styles rather than sticking with just one. Your approach depends on the company, the level of management, industry, country, and culture, as well as your personality.
Effective managers adjust their management style in response to internal and external factors while focusing on achieving targets.
Internal factors include the company culture, policies, staff skill levels, and employee motivation. You and the leadership have a say when it comes to internal factors.
Efficient managers fit their style into the company culture. Their style must comply with the policies set by the organization, and they must achieve the vision and goal of the company. Managers are responsible for leading an effective work team and must uphold organizational beliefs within that team.
Staff skill levels and motivation affect management styles and vice versa. Less skilled employees would require a controlling management style that fosters supervision to ensure productivity. On the other hand, highly motivated employees need less guidance. As author Daniel Pink mentions that autonomy, motivation and mastery are the elements that help technically skilled people to stay motivated. These employees would benefit from a more relaxed management style.
External factors affecting management styles are outside the organization's control, but they influence both managers and employees. Managers lack control over employment laws, the economy, competitors, suppliers, and clients.
For example, a competitor who offers a more friendly work environment will control the job pool by attracting and retaining the most talented employees. When the laws for a specific industry change, employees must change and adapt to the new rules.
One of the most crucial decisions companies make is who they name a manager. Yet, according to a Gallup study, they get it wrong 8 out of 10 times. More precisely, Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.
When discussing management styles, it is vital to understand that management is not one size fits all. The most effective leaders will change the management style used at work to better fit the situation, tasks, problems and people.
Morover, a good leader requires knowledge, skills, and plenty of practice. One thing is for sure, if you're looking for good outcomes, be flexible with your management approach.
Find below the best management styles to inspire the leader in you.
The autocratic manager makes unilateral decisions without seeking the input of the employee. They decide what the team should focus on, the short- and long-term goals, and which tasks and projects are associated with these initiatives. An autocratic manager delegates work to the team member they think is best suited for the job.
The advantages of an autocratic management style:
The disadvantages of an autocratic management style:
Best for crisis situations, when decisions need to be made quickly, and there is little room for error. Within the authoritative style, there are subcategories: paternalistic and persuasive.
Paternalistic management is a one-sided decision-making process that minds the best interests of a team. Employees are like “family” members; the manager asks for and considers their feedback. However, the manager does not consult the staff about the decision itself.
The advantages of the paternalistic style:
The disadvantages of the paternalistic style:
Best for organizations with excellent company culture, trustworthy environment, and strong employee connections.
The persuasive managers aim to convince workforce that their decision is the best to follow. Managers have complete freedom in decision-making but have to share the judgement behind their decisions. The practice helps team-mates feel more connected with the overall decision-making process.
The advantages of a persuasive management style:
The disadvantages of a persuasive management style:
Best for managers leading a junior-level team. Under this style, the manager is the sole decision-maker based on their experience but should share explanations to help their team grow.
The democratic or participative management style actively involves all members of the team. Every employee has the opportunity to participate, exchange ideas, and share their opinions. This management style encourages creativity and employee engagement. However, the manager still needs to provide guidance and direction.
The advantages of a democratic management style:
The disadvantage of a democratic management style:
Best for the teams that are constantly looking to improve their work. Within the democratic style, there are subcategories: Consultative, collaborative, and transformational.
A subset of the democratic management style, consultative managers assume their team has the capability and knowledge to excel at their jobs. While the leaders make the final decision, they ask and consider employees’ thoughts, views, and opinions, allowing them to feel involved.
The advantages of the consultative management style:
The disadvantages of the consultative management style:
Best for creative teams. Consultative managers want to take on more of a mentor role. They focus on new thoughts and ideas from a variety of individuals.
Collaborative management brings managers, executives, and staff to work together and get results through collective intelligence. In collaborative workplaces, information is shared organically, and everyone takes responsibility for the whole.
The advantages of the collaborative management style:
The disadvantages of the collaborative management style:
Best for innovative organizations, open to new ideas, viewpoints, and skill sets. The collaboration management style is suited for the globalized, digitalized, interconnected modern world.
Another category of democratic management is the transformational management style. This is a management style in which leaders encourage adaptability, inspire, and motivate employees to create change that will shape the company's future success.
Transformational managers put a lot of emphasis in professional development of each member of their team. They care less about short-term projects and more about long-term development. They think about career plans, improving the skills of each team-member and even challenge themselves in how they can become better managers.
The advantages of a transformational management style:
The disadvantages of a transformational management style:
Best for building effective teams that are adapting to new circumstances. By encouraging adaptability, transformative managers prepare their team for whatever may come their way.
Laissez-faire managers are the most hands-off managers. The word sounds French, yes. This is because the words 'Laissez Faire' translates by “leave it alone” or “let it be,” in French language. The Laissez-faire management style leans into a relaxed and autonomous approach.
Instead of micromanaging employees or giving too much guidance, laissez-faire leaders boost employees to use their creativity, resources, and experience to meet their goals.
The advantages of a laissez-faire management style:
The disadvantages of a laissez-faire management style:
Best for dynamic teams that can deliver work in an individual way and constant supervision is not needed. Within the laissez-faire style, there are subcategories: visionary and delegative.
A type of laissez-faire management, visionary leadership, is a style where an individual can see, develop and communicate a business vision of the future to the team who in turn will help transform it into reality.
Visionary managers can exhibit great energy and persistence in the pursuit and achievement of their desired goals. They overcome obstacles and maintain their vision and motivation, regardless of how difficult things become.
The advantages of visionary management style:
The disadvantages of the visionary style:
Best for innovative teams looking to transform the team. When you're interested to disrupt an industry, or to visionary leaders are the right hiring decisions to make.
Another type of laissez-faire management, the delegative leadership style, focuses on trusting and delegating initiative to team members. This is one of the least intrusive forms of leadership, where managers and team members only interact when managers are assigning the tasks and at the end of the project when they review the work.
An effective delegative manager will take responsibility for decisions taken by the team. Such manager is not afraid in empowering the right people, and know very well the strengths of each individual. Having the power to decide is motivating for the employee, however if the accountability part remains with the manager, the sense of trust is boosted also.
The advantages of the delegative style:
The disadvantages of the delegative style:
Best for highly competent employees that have more professional expertise than the manager. In such situations like this, the manager acts as a facilitator, delegating their responsibility to the expert employee.
Understanding different management styles helps leaders identify where, when, and why they should adapt their style. Effective leadership is not linked to a singular management style. It is a combination of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors while focusing on the task and concern for those undertaking that job.
For you as a manager, leadership is the key to success. Understanding your management style is vital for accomplishing your goal. Why? Once you identify your leadership style, you can have a clear idea of your strengths as well as your weaknesses. You will become a more effective leader with a clear image of your strengths and weaknesses.
Your management style guides you in your role as an authority figure. Knowing your leadership style will help you better communicate with those you lead.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each style of leadership can help you make better decisions and implicitly boost your your success and the results of those you are guiding.
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