5 Management Styles to Strive For
There are countless articles out there about management styles and leadership.
In today’s business environment, managers need to wear many hats. They can be coaches, professors, mentors, guides, consultants, or ferocious, autocratic leaders. The truth is that management styles will often depend on a leader’s personality. The work environment and organizational culture and maturity will also determine which management style is required.
Another truism is that no one manager is always managing in one single style at all times. Astute managers are free to pick the management style to match the business situation they encounter. Below are 5 management styles to strive for, with sample situations where these styles should be applied.
The Autocratic Manager
Autocratic is often synonymous with authoritarian, and maybe even tyrannical.
Therefore, this type of management often gets a bad rap. It might seem that this is the least desirable of the management styles to strive for. However, certain situations call for the guidance and quick decision-making of an autocratic manager.
For instance, in periods of intensive change or in times where there is no consensus, a snap decision sometimes needs to be made to move forward. In any case, an autocratic management style should only be used when all options have been considered and when it is in the best interests of the entire team.
Indeed, the autocratic manager is often unilaterally making decisions and giving orders. In fact, this manager is seen as the opposite of the laissez-faire manager, detailed below. Yet, this is not a reason to view this management style in a bad light. However, it is important to know what kind of situation calls for this kind of management style, and to use it only in those instances.
The Democratic Manager
Also sometimes referred to as the participative manager, this management style is the most inclusive. As opposed to the autocratic manager, the democratic manager always gets input from employees.
Indeed, employees working under democratic managers report feeling valued, included, and respected. Furthermore, Democratic managers support brainstorming sessions and encourage creativity. This must be the most revered of the management styles, right?
Nevertheless, it is not a good management strategy if the objective of the team is to save time or to be efficient in decision-making.
The participation process of this management style can take a while, and decisions can get delayed. Hence, this style undoubtedly leads to slower decision-making. However, that may be the price to pay in order to create a collaborative and inclusive environment.
The Transformational Manager
As previously mentioned, astute managers will know which of the management styles they need to pick for their teams. However, the business environment can also dictate which management style is more suited to the situation.
The Transformational manager is necessary for a team that is undergoing a major change. This manager needs to be inspirational and motivational. He or she needs to have a clear vision for the future. Then, he or she needs to talk about this vision clearly and often.
Moreover, the Transformational manager needs to be positive and promote an optimistic moral during uncertain times. He or she needs to act as a role model for the group. This manager will have to encourage employees to work together and complement each other’s weaknesses in order to rise above the organizational transformation.
The Transactional Manager
Transactional managers use the “carrot and stick” approach of motivation to drive employee performance.
With this approach, rewards are awarded to employees to encourage desired behaviors. These rewards can be given in the form of a promotion, a salary increase, and other financial or non-financial benefits. As for the punishments, these are exerted to make employees push forwards, toward the desired behavior.
This type of manager often focuses on employee evaluations and on employee progression. Transactional managers perform annual or bi-annual reviews of employee performance. In short, when employee evaluation time rolls around, many managers put on their Transactional manager hats.
Overall, it’s the least creative or “out-of-the-box” of the various management styles.
The Laissez-Faire Manager
Last but not least is the Laissez-Faire Manager. The term “laissez-faire” in French translates as “let them do as they please”. It’s probably the riskiest of the management styles outlined here, because it will only work with a team that is already high performing.
The laissez-faire manager prefers the “hands-off” approach. This type of management will only be effective if employees are self-starters. The employees must be clear on their roles and responsibilities, otherwise, this management style will not yield positive results.
This management style will work really well for a manager who is managing a team with a great amount of technical knowledge. In many cases, the team might have a better knowledge of the job to do than the manager. However, the manager still holds the responsibility and is there to guide the team toward the objectives in a more laid-back way.
Take Away for Managers
In short, good managers should strive to be as flexible as possible.
They need to adopt the management style that is best suited to the team and to the situation.
Nevertheless, whether you are a Democratic manager or a Laissez-faire manager, you can help yourself and your team is more effective in any situation with the right tools.
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