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If you’re asking yourself what kind of manager you are or what kind you should be, you’re not alone. All managers need to consider their very own management style at some point or another. So if you've recently become a manager or if you just aren't sure what your style is, take a look below.
A democratic leader shares ideas and works collaboratively with their team. Rather than making decisions just at the top level, a democratic leader will empower all staff (regardless of their experience with the company) to contribute ideas. Of course, as a democratic leader, you still make the final decisions.
It can be super helpful to collaborate on ideas, specifically when difficult decisions or creative projects are on the table. Plus, when you adopt this style, employees feel engaged in their work, encouraged to do better and morale is improved. While this style has many benefits, it does sacrifice something very important: time. If a decision needs to be made on the fly, maybe this isn't the best management style to employ at that time!
An authoritative style leader brings to mind famous dictators, but it really isn’t that horrible! The authoritarian type of leader comes up with the decisions at the top level, without consultation with lower level employees. This means the employees simply have to adopt these decisions. It may seem very restrictive and it definitely can be if used in the wrong manner.
While being restrictive, the authoritarian style can be really helpful in times of crisis when decisions need to be made quickly. It can also be a great way to lead when you’re working with large groups or with new hires. Taking this style on for the long-term, sacrifices employee engagement and increases the risk of employee turnover. Employees can feel very separate to the company and unmotivated to perform to the best of their abilities. So if you are considering adopting this particular style, consider it in times of crisis and when it's necessary to make a decision now.
A visionary leader will lead through inspiring their staff. Their aim is to move the business towards an innovation. This manager will convey their goals and aspirations to their employees, convincing them to work towards these goals and aspirations. This style of leadership inspires motivation among employees, as they are trusted to follow the managers vision.
This leadership style often drives employee engagement due to their motivation to work towards the vision. But this style can fall short without a charismatic and inspiring leader. The fact is, not everyone can adopt this management style as it is only achievable with the right personality type.
The servant management style focuses on the employees, rather than focusing on projects. This manager prioritises the employees wellbeing, by supporting them and trying to make them as happy as possible.
This style obviously sounds really attractive as all managers should care about their employees and should work to improve their workplace and employee satisfaction. The approach can dramatically improve morale and make employees feel respected and appreciated. However, this approach perhaps goes too far in that direction as a servant manager has no focus on performance and often avoids confrontation (even though it may be necessary) at all costs. By focusing on bonding rather than work, employees become frustrated and complacent. Rather than completely adopting this style of management, it should be more a philosophy in your own unique style.
The Laissez-Faire manager will completely take their hands off the wheel and expect that their team will perform. They will likely make themselves available for mentoring and guidance when need be, however they let the employees do their work without interruption.
This seems like it can be a really cool way to let employees do their work, but it operates on almost no guidance at all. The fact is, employees need some guidance to help them focus on accomplishment. It is thought that this management style leads to the least amount of productivity among employees. This style will most definitely have employees feeling neglected and disengaged.
Transactional leaders will use incentives to drive employee performance. It’s the ‘if you do this, I’ll do this’ approach. Incentives can include bonuses, raises, stock options and more to encourage employees to carry out their work productively.
A little bit of competition and an incentive at the end of the year or quarter can be really attractive to employees. The issue here is that it can create almost a toxic work environment. With this management style in effect, employees are discouraged to use their own creativity and find innovative solutions to problems. The incentives can squash creativity as employees are focused on gaining known and quantifiable results for their work. It leaves employees churning out their work, rather than being intrinsically motivated to do a good job.
Being a manager is extremely hard, but still important. Deciding exactly what management style to inherit is definitely one of the most difficult parts, as your style directly relates to performance and employee engagement. Sometimes, your management style will come naturally to you and sometimes it takes a bit of discovery and experience to figure out which works best for you and the business.