Management Styles: Where Your Personal Style Falls on the Scale
Every manager has their own way of doing things, some are pretty laid back and open while others are more formal and structured. Knowing where you fit on this scale as well as your management type will help you interact with your employees more and get better results overall. So how do you know where your management style falls on the larger scale? Let’s take a look and find out the best ways to get more out of your employees as well.
There are two main types of management styles out there: formal and informal. You may have heard these referred to as “authoritative” and “affiliative” styles, dictator and democracy style, and so on. No matter the terminology, knowing where you sit on the scale will help you find better ways of dealing with your employees and getting the best result. Here are the basics of both ends of the spectrum so you can see where you fit in:
- Formal style – This type of management style is also referred to as authoritative or dictator style and means that you expect complete compliance from your employees and staff members. You’re very direct and to the point with instructions and you like to tightly control any situation, job, project, etc. It also means that you want employees to follow your directions to the letter without fail. While this might sound like a little bit of a rough style, many great managers use this to their advantage and get the job done on time, every time. You know how to make tough decisions quickly and you don’t care to socialize much with employees, as keeping your distance works the best for you.
- Informal style – This type of management style is also referred to as affiliative or democracy style and it means that you prefer a more laid back, group style approach to managing employees. You like to hear more of what your employees have to say and think about different approaches to projects, jobs, and plans so you prefer meeting with employees constantly. You also prefer to make schedules and positions flexible for all to cope with family problems/emergencies/needs, and you want to make sure that you put your employees first and the job second. You trust your employees have all of the skills and education needed to do the job at hand. You prefer to include employees in tough decisions and value everyone’s input as well as friendship.
Sounds like two totally different styles that are extremely far apart, doesn’t it? Well, they are, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t managers out there that sit somewhere in the middle of these two. In fact, many managers have learned that there are certain times both management styles are good to use and each different situation can require a different mode of management. If you find that you are one of these two different types and don’t really fit in the middle anywhere, don’t worry, that is your personal style of management and you can easily learn to use that to your advantage.
From these two main styles come several branches that probably describe your personal management style best. Here are the branches of these main two styles:
- Participatory – In this branch, these types of managers will give their employees a task to complete from beginning to end without much involvement on their part. Of course, when this isn’t really an option, such as a larger project with multiple employees, the manager has to learn how to talk with each different employee and ensure that they completely understand their role and what’s expected from them. When problems arise, employees need to know that they can come to you and get help if needed or seek direction on another way to go. A problem with this style is that managers can get too comfortable and rely on employees too much so that projects stop getting finished and employees can start to overstep their boundaries.
- Teamwork – In this branch, managers who prefer this style will find that by grouping employees together they gain a better overall result. By grouping employees with different skills, it’s easier to get things finished faster, especially for larger projects. But there will be cases where a group is not needed, and you will need to know your employees well enough to determine which one is best for solo projects. This branch also means that you need to know all of your employee’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can determine who is best suited for what areas. You’ll want to make sure that you communicate with them all very well so they know what is expected from them in any role they take. A problem with this style is that some employees begin to expect being in one certain role all the time and don’t take the initiative to learn new skills or branch out their talents. Managers can also find that they get dependent on one certain person or group of people and fall short on dealing with others.
- Directing – In this branch, managers normally find that they prefer to keep a tighter reign on employees and projects. This means that you want to control most aspects of a job, and this is great for tight deadlines, urgent matters, and other projects that mean a lot of workers in one area. You will want to learn to delegate a bit to other employees that are capable of handling smaller management areas and ensuring that all employees know that you expect them to finish their parts quickly and correctly. Yes, you’ll have to learn to communicate your exact needs to each employee involved as well, so that they know if there are any concerns or issues, you need to know immediately so you can help solve the problem. A problem with this style is that managers can become too guarded at times, feeling the need to control everything. Even to the extent that they feel the need to have an iPad security lock on all tablets that hold specific information to keep those iPads under their personal control.
Rewards vs Pitfalls
Each different management style has good and bad that go along with it. For example, some managers that have a more formal style of management may need to learn better communication with their employees and learn to delegate more often. Others may need to learn to tighten the reins a bit and ensure that their employees know that they are still the boss and everyone has a job to do.
The key is finding a comfortable style that works for you and your employees. You want to know your personal management style when hiring so you can find those people that mesh well with how you manage. When you have employees that respond well to your personal type of management style, projects will go more smoothly and both you and your employees will be happier in your positions.
Jason Monroe has learned to take his personal management style and run with it when hiring employees. Knowing how to use his style to hire employees offers a great peek into how those new to the company will respond to his direction on projects, giving the company a better turn around time on jobs. Of course, he also loves iPad security locks for keeping expensive equipment safe at work although not for keeping them out of employee’s hands.
Further Reading on Management Styles and Leadership: