The Four Management Styles

As a manager, you will work with a wide range of personality types, and it’s your job to lead all of them to success. That’s why there are various management styles — different styles are used best with different people. Which of the four management styles is your strongest — and which is your weakest?

Qualities That All Good Leaders Share

The most important things you can do as a manager are:

· know yourself,

· understand what motivates the people around you, and

· communicate effectively with others.

It is equally important to know when you are communicating from your own place of stress and how to pull yourself out of it.

As a leader and a manager, your attitude and approach will determine the outlook of everyone on your team. Whether you are upbeat or depressed, determined or resigned, accepting or skeptical — whatever your mind-set — it is contagious. You set the tone for everyone else.

Management style, leadership, and communication.

What Kind of Management Style Do You Use?

Take a moment to think about the type of manager you are. For example, do you want your team to participate in decisions, or do you prefer others to obey your orders without explanation? Do you want your team members to manage themselves, or do you nurture and proactively support others?

The four management styles are:

1. Autocratic

2. Democratic

3. Laissez-Faire

4. Paternalistic

1. Autocratic

What is an Autocratic manager?

An Autocratic manager:

· retains power and decision-making authority,

· does not typically consult or receive input from other people, and

· motivates through a structured set of rewards and punishments.

When is Autocratic management effective?

Autocratic leadership has been criticized as being overly harsh because Autocrats rely on threats and punishment and are usually not perceived as trusting their employees or subordinates.

However, Autocratic leadership is effective when:

· decision-making time is limited, and organized action is essential,

· a poorly-managed team needs to get back on track,

· a team questions a manager’s authority, and

· team members do not understand tasks, procedures, or priorities.

2. Democratic

What is a Democratic manager?

A Democratic manager:

· encourages all stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process,

· keeps their team members and stakeholders informed about everything that affects their work, and

· has the final say only after first gathering information from all sources.

When is Democratic management effective?

Democratic leadership provides opportunities for employees to develop personal growth and job satisfaction by fostering a sense of community and shared purpose. It is used most effectively when:

· the employees on a team are highly skilled or experienced,

· implementing operational changes,

· resolving individual or group problems, or

· a large or complex problem requires input from many people for its solution.

Personal growth, job satisfatction, and community.

3. Laissez-Faire

What is a Laissez-Faire manager?

A Laissez-Faire manager:

· provides little or no direction and

· gives employees freedom to determine goals, make decisions, and resolve problems.

When is Laissez-Faire management effective?

The Laissez-Faire leadership style is effective when:

· team members are highly skilled and experienced and thus can make choices for the organization,

· roles and responsibilities are clear, and

· little change in expectations, time frames, or constraints is anticipated.

4. Paternalistic

What is a Paternalistic manager?

A Paternalistic manager:

· cares for and nurtures employees,

· proactively takes responsibility in supporting others,

· encourages open and honest communication,

· delegates broadly, and

· fosters mutual trust and respect.

When is Paternalistic management effective?

The Paternalistic management style is effective when:

· teams are hemorrhaging due to low morale or

· employee attrition is high because of previous harsh leadership.

What Are the Common Characteristics of Mismanagement?

Mismanagement takes many forms, including:

· Unwillingness to listen to employees

· Favoritism

· High employee turnover

· Lack of decision-making

· Inappropriate behavior (e.g., sexual and racial harassment)

· Lack of respect toward employees

· Bullying or creating a fear-based environment

· Micro-managing, creating mistrust in workplace relationships

Whatever the form, mismanagement wastes the most important resource in business: the people.

When under stress, everyone can exhibit difficult personality behaviors, regardless of their leadership style. To avoid this outcome, be proactive by paying attention to how you react to stressful circumstances.

Personality, leadership, and a productive team.

How to Use the Right Approach in Any Situation

No single communication style is better or worse than any other. However, some forms of communication fit certain tasks and positions better than others. To have the most effective team, you should ideally have people with different communication styles in the appropriate positions.

Depending on the situation, each of the four management styles can be appropriate or destructive. A good leader feels comfortable working in all four styles and applies the correct style to the situation and people. In any one day, it is possible to use Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-Faire, and Paternalistic styles with different teams or situations.

To improve your leadership skills, practice using styles that you are not as comfortable with as a way to increase your range. Ask yourself:

· What is your most comfortable style of management?

· Does it match the team you are leading?

· Are there any changes you can make to your style of management that will build happier and more productive teams?

The most effective manager can switch between management styles in response to the task and the team’s abilities. By learning about and practicing management styles you are better able to bring out the best in each of your employees, thus creating a team of high-functioning, satisfied, and productive workers that have trust in your ability to lead them.




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