Types of management styles that seem to work
Management styles in the workplace are important. They have been used even before they had been labeled as a particular style. Some are strictly one leadership style, while others can be a combination of two or more types of management styles.
Some leaders implement styles they think will suit their employees rather than themselves. Others do the opposite.
While it can’t be said that one is better than the other, knowing which management style your organization needs takes time, patience, and keen observation. Your day-to-day workflow will infinitely improve if motivated employees are in sync with your type of leadership. Learn more about management styles below.
Importance of management styles in the workplace
Your organization will always need structure, even if the term is very loosely used. It is important to pinpoint what kind of leadership style your organization needs because this will determine its structure. Having and using a certain management style doesn’t mean overhauling your previous system completely.
Transitioning from one type of leadership to another should be gradual and at your and your employees’ pacing. Depending on your company, branding, industry, country, culture, these types of management styles may vary and overlap with one another. These styles may include the hierarchy, plans, progress, processes, and decision-making of your organization.
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Six types of the best management styles
There are three broad categories of management styles: Autocratic, Democratic, and Laissez-faire. Under these categories are styles that can overlap or coincide with another. There are pros and cons to these management styles, but, ultimately, it will be up to the management to decide which one fits their organization best.
Autocratic Management Style
This approach is the most traditional and hierarchical management style. It is a top-down approach that requires the management to make all the decisions and hold all the power in the organization. It requires you to direct and manage your employees without their input and expect them to meet your expectations at all times. Under this category are authoritative, directive, and pacesetting management styles.
Management who use an authoritative style usually prefers to be heard rather than do the hearing. They will typically give an overall vision and expect everyone to comply. This type of leadership works when you are already a proven credible leader and your employees fully trust your vision and judgment. They will do the execution while you do the organizing.
Many organizations tend to shy away from this type of management style. Most employees want to let their creative juices out in the workplace, especially in the arts and media industry. Some authoritative leaders can also tend to abuse their power and micromanage their workers. This can lead to Big Brother Syndrome and a highly pressured work environment.
Democratic Management Style
This leadership style imitates the term democracy at its core. The management encourages employees to share their input and ideas during the decision-making process. However, the management will still ultimately have the final say.
Communication goes top to down and bottom to up. This applies to projects, progress, programs, campaigns, and the overall structure of the organization. Under this approach are affiliative and participative management styles.
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Many work bosses who use the democratic approach consider everyone’s work friend, leader, and mentor. This often leads to a harmonious and open work environment if the employees return the sentiment. This works well for organizations that rarely encounter internal conflict or deal with high-pressure clients.
Both employer and employee can also abuse democratic leadership. When the line between work and personal relationships is crossed too often, it can lead to overworking or underworking under the guise of being too buddy-buddy with colleagues. Favors can turn into unrewarded labor. This style is also not recommended for organizations under crisis.
Laissez-Faire Management Style
With the literal translation of “let it be,” this management style does away with hierarchies. It uses structure very loosely. Meaning, the management pretty much lets employees decide and execute everything.
They are there to delegate tasks and make sure they are done. Otherwise, employees will need to approach the management if they require assistance.
This management style works well in creative industries. Artists usually have individual approaches when it comes to their work. Their team leaders would best be advised to let their employees do what they need to for their creative process. Very minimal supervision also means you need to fully trust your employees to deliver results with quality and on time.
While this may sound like a dream come true for some, it’s not an ideal management style for every organization. If you are facing a company crisis or internal conflict, a firmer leadership style may be more effective and needed. This can also lead to management and employees abusing their privilege if there aren’t provisions and guidelines.
Visionary Management Style
As with its name, this approach requires the management to lead with their vision firmly in place. This vision should inspire their staff because it clearly explains goals, reasons, and the long-run future of the organization.
When team members share the same vision, they are motivated and can work on their own. This style also allows freedom and minimal supervision from the management. Trust is imperative on and from both sides.
When leaders are considered visionaries, they can inspire their staff to follow their vision and work together to achieve it. You can trust that your employees will do their best to help achieve this goal even without you watching their every move. This can be effective in an organization that practices the Laissez-Faire Management Style.
When the vision changes, so do the goals of the organization. This can often happen, depending on your company culture and leadership skills. Make sure you are on the same page as your employees.
If they no longer share your sentiments, perhaps it is best to use another approach. Give plenty of constructive criticism and objectives to justify the change.
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Persuasive Management Style
This approach heavily relies on the management’s persuasion skills. They should be able to convince the team or the entire organization that whatever the management decides, it is for the improvement of the company. Unlike the traditional approach where the employer mandates and employees have to comply, this style invites questions and insights to help the management explain the decision-making process to their staff.
Explaining the rationale behind big decisions to your team can boost workplace morale. It makes them feel valued and respected enough to be trusted with the true reason the management decides on certain things. It also lowers tension among team leaders and members when the goals and the reason behind them are clear from the beginning.
With this approach, there is a danger that may make employees feel as if the management comes up with reasons to justify everything, even if the result isn’t favorable. It might not work in organizations that have to make key decisions for their clients often. It can lead to many disagreements, despite the persuasiveness of the management.
Coaching Management Style
As the name suggests, the coaching approach is a mentor and mentee management style. The leader’s job is to guide the team and its members. Long-term goals, professional development, and improvement is always the goal for this style. It can be used together with other management styles to improve the structure of the organization and the skills of its members as well.
Employees who see their seniors as their coaches or mentors tend to look up to them. This means that part of their work goal is to become similar to their coaches or adapt certain talents from them in the long run. This management style is recommended to improve the strengths and determine the weaknesses of your team members.
Proper coaching and guidance work well on organizations that have members willing to learn. It won’t work well on short-term projects but might be effective in programs or projects that span months or even years. You will also need the one doing the coaching to have extensive knowledge and experience in the field.
What is the most effective leadership style?
There is no perfect management style for any organization. At least not in the long term. Human nature always changes, and in turn, so does culture, structure, and environments.
When you’re hiring diverse individuals, what works now may not work in a few years or even a decade from now. Change is constant, and so you should always be ready to adapt.
In short, there is no most effective leadership style. Each management approach should be tailored to your organization’s needs, your employees, and your management. The most effective management style is the one that can improve your strengths and address your weaknesses.
How do you put a leadership style into practice?
Your organization may lean towards a particular management style depending on your policies and industry. This does not mean you should rigidly stick to that approach and ignore all others.
Putting in place a management style will take a while, especially if your staff is used to another certain type. Transitioning from one to another will involve plenty of town halls, meetings, and surveys.
More than ever, you should be flexible. As a leader of your group, putting theory into practice does not mean your employees will immediately comply. Introduce your management style to your workers and see if it fits you, them, and your current situation in the company. This may even require you to use two or more styles in different departments, so be prepared.
Managing people is no easy task. It takes patience, effort, and a whole lot of work. You can define yourself as a successful leader however you want, but ultimately, the outcome will determine if your management style is effective or not.
As a human being, practice empathy and sympathy for your staff. As a business owner, strive to count lives instead of numbers.
Success can mean different things. What works for a certain company may not work for yours. This does not mean that your organization is bound for failure.
As a leader, your job is to make sure everything your team does aligns with a common goal. This ensures a unified workspace, employee engagement and ups your chances for success.