Management Styles

  • 24 December, 2021

Management styles come in many forms and can be used strategically for many reasons. Whether you are managing an individual, team, project, or client, the method you choose depends on whom and what you need to manage. Great managers understand how to be flexible with their style based upon key factors supporting the overall outcome (i.e., goals, culture, development, processes, projects, timing, personality, etc.). Here are the advantages and disadvantages of five common management styles that can be used both stand-alone and/or blended to ensure a successful objective.

Management Styles

  1. Authoritative

    An authoritative manager leads from the top. Their pyramid approach relies on a mantra of "this decision will start and end with me." They believe their past experiences and responsibilities have prepared them to make these types of decisions, as well as understand the associated consequences surrounding each. Speed is usually the factor that guides managers to this style. Pressure rises with deadlines, late-minute requests, or frequent problems.

    Advantages: Helpful when both expediency and immediate action are required. Decisions that need to be efficient and effective usually fall into this category.

    Disadvantages: Alienates those that want to contribute and become a part of the decision-making process. Creativity and innovation can be lost since the luxury of time is unavailable. Trust and resentment can become part of the culture when members of the team feel their voice is not heard.

    Example: Restaurants/fast food chains commonly rely on this method since their customers expect quality food in an expeditious manner. Restaurants run on slim margins already, and this management style can be productive for employees to focus on efficiency while remaining effective.

  2. Consultative

    A consultative manager utilizes the strength of others to come to an educated decision. Their environment is more of an open-door policy. They encourage feedback from their employees and are constantly looking for ways to improve based upon how others would like to be managed. They tend to check their ego at the door while providing a mutual playing field when it comes to the specific roles needed to accomplish the task at hand. Although research, development, and processes are mutually defined and evaluated, the manager will ultimately retain sole decision-making authority.

    Advantages: This type of management builds trust, empowers others to take calculated risks, and provides a culture that enables a more conducive, problem-solving environment. Due to the investment in each team member, the turnover rate tends to be quite low.

    Disadvantages: The word consultative alone allows discussions and opinions to take place, which in turn can lead to a delay in progress and decision-making efficiency.

    Example: Meetings, one-on-one interactions, project analyses, and coaching calls all allow the manager to evaluate employees' feedback as well as set schedules, allocate resources, and ultimately make educated decisions.

  3. Easy-Going

    The laissez-faire manager is seen as more of a peer/mentor than a leader. They offer a reactive approach to management. Rarely will they get involved in day-to-day activities unless requested. They view their team as capable in their duties and offer very little in terms of guidance and direction. Although the hands-off method can be inviting for some employees, it is not for everyone due to its free and loose style.

    Advantages: The easy-going manager allows pure autonomy for their employees: the freedom to make decisions, adopt creativity. and learn by experimentation. This style requires managers to have a strong team of self-motivated individuals that thrive on being self-sufficient.

    Disadvantages: Isolated, distant, and disconnected are just a few words that employees have used to describe these types of managers. When following the easy-going management style, teams often ask themselves; "where are we going, what's the actual goal, and how do we get there?"

    Example: The tech and fashion industries take pride in hiring individuals with a ready-to-run mentality. This environment allows management to take a step back and encourage their teams to begin with the end in mind and execute through innovation.

  4. Persuasive

    Persuasive managers have the unique ability in communicating to employees as to why decisions made by management are what's best for the company. Building trust while empowering employees produces a level of influence to create inclusivity and belief that everyone is fighting the same fight. When an organization is productive, employees generally accept executive decisions and will work hard to execute them.

    Advantages: Empowers the employees to do the job, as it has been backed by reason and logic. Motivation typically occurs once the roadmap has been communicated. Newly formed teams tend to adopt this style more so than tenured teams.

    Disadvantages: Although this style is not as assertive as authoritative management, it still creates a one-way form of communication to the team. Using this style over time can alienate the team and not discourage productive feedback.

    Example: Whenever an outside agent makes a recommendation or potential solution to the team, skepticism begins to develop. A persuasive manager has the ability and confidence within the team to convince employees that these potential recommendations are indeed valid.

  5. Collaborative

    The collaborative style became a more practiced and accepted approach within the millennial generation of workers. Managers believe that if an employee feels professionally and personally fulfilled, then their level of efficiency and effectiveness will complement their behavior. Creating a team environment, focusing on employee satisfaction, and encouraging each employee's purpose within their job function is a recipe for success that has been proven time and time again. Establishing a culture that gives each employee a voice, provides mutually defined goals, and guides toward a pathway to success are more reasons this style has become a popular management method.

    Advantages: Using a collaborative approach, managers gain a strong sense of loyalty and commitment from their employees. The culture cultivates a "team first" mentality while assisting with decision- making and positive engagement. Managers using this style tend to look to hire individuals who welcome mentoring and coaching.

    Disadvantages: The collaborative approach ensures managers are heavily involved in day-to-day tasks as well as in providing what is needed for their employees. They may become reactive and have difficulty finding time to create a more strategic vision for the team.

    Example: Managers having meetings, one-on-ones, and/or coaching sessions on what resources are necessary, what pressing issues need to be addressed, and how they can help to accomplish certain goals.

    Scientia potentia est: knowledge is power. To help gauge what management style would be best applied, evaluate the individual, team, project, and situation. Utilize the management style that best fits those areas and lead accordingly. Be careful not to default to just one style every time. Great managers are constantly asking themselves, "How can I improve?" Ask yourself that question and you are off to a great start!

About the Author: Scott Bush

Scott Bush received his bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in business from California State University, Pomona. He is President of Bredison and Associates, a global training and coaching company specializing in maximizing performance, increasing productivity, and making each individual's best even better!

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