Management styles

152We discussed Management Style in previous lessons.

Management and Leadership are often confused or discussed as if they are the same thing. They are similar and do overlap, but there is a difference. The distinction is that leaders have the Vision, define the strategy, are guiding and directing. The manager’s role is to implement the vision, make it happen, complete the task they are given by the leader. They are not expected to come up with changes of overall strategy or direction of the company unless they are in a leadership position too.

So although leaders define the direction, they will also need management skills to guide their team effectively to implement the Vision.

Management styles

There are many ways of analysing and distinguishing styles of management. Everyone’s style is unique, because it is affected by their personality as well as the approach they adopt.

For a more detailed discussion on styles, follow the link

Let’s briefly consider a number of well recognised behaviours;-

  • The Democratic Manager will give their staff flexibility to use their own methods as long as they achieve the desired results. Will usually liaise with them about targets and then leave them to work in their own way.
  • The Autocratic Manager will make decisions and then give instructions to staff. This style is controlling and managers usually have a tight control on staff tasks and deadlines.
  • The Persuasive Manager is a cross between the democrat and the autocrat, in that they consult with staff before making decisions, but do make the decision themselves.
  • The Paternalistic Manager is a “people person“ is known as firm but fair, will discuss rationale for decisions with staff
  • The Bureaucratic Manager will not deviate from the laid down procedure and never allows anything out of the ordinary to happen.
  • The Laissez Faire Manager leaves everyone to get on with their job without interference, but will freely give mentoring, coaching and help as requested.
  • The Chaotic Manager allows staff to have total control over the decision making process.

Which is the most effective method?

It helps to be comfortable with using a range of styles you can move between as appropriate. This will vary with the staff you are managing, their age, their experience, capabilities, and the type of work you have to complete with them

What is the best style?

The best management style depends on the culture and situation you work in, and the staff you have to work with.

They may be process staff who do not want to take any responsibility or professionals, such as accountants or engineers, who expect to make their own decisions.

A manager may adopt a style in a particular situation, and then radically modify their style in another situation with different employees.

What affects management style?

Management styles can be affected by cultural influences. E.g. Russians will more naturally be autocratic managers, whilst Americans will be more democratic.

In some cultures, managers are not specialists but generalists, with their management skills seen as more important than technical skills. In this case the manager will have technical experts in their team, but it is their role to lead the team and get the best performance from them, not to be a technical expert.

In other cultures the technical expert will act as team leader, with management skills considered less important.

So the leadership and management style is affected by various factors , not least their personality, the culture, the task and the staff and situations they need to manage.

Over the years Management styles have evolved, even as society and management theory evolve. Profit is always an important objective but it is also now considered just as important to ensure job satisfaction for employees, who are recognised as a significant company asset