As a manager in a business, it can be helpful to have an understanding of your management style. There are different approaches to management, and different people are better suited to different styles. In any case, your goal is to motivate employees to succeed and be productive. You are also responsible for handling situations where your guidance and direction are key.
This article explores the question of management styles to help you better understand the way you work.
What is the difference between leadership and management?
There is a fundamental distinction between leaders and managers. The former has people who follow them while the latter has people who work for them.
Many successful business owners are able to succeed because they have both strong management and leadership skills. This motivates their team to give their all and make their vision a reality. The important thing is to understand where leadership and management differ.
Leadership is all about getting people on board with your vision. They will learn to understand and believe in what you’re trying to do, then they will work with you to achieve that. Management is more about the nitty gritty. Administering and making sure day-to-day tasks are being carried out in an organised and coherent way.
What are some common traits of a strong manager?
There are various traits that are quite common from one manager to the next, regardless of management style. These include:
- The ability to execute a vision by breaking it down into a roadmap that the team can follow.
- Being able to direct the day-to-day work efforts of employees, reviewing resources and predicting needs as you go.
- Managing processes by establishing standards and work rules as well as schedules.
- Being people focused so that your team feels valued and engaged.
It can definitely be helpful to be both a leader and a manager. And the more leadership qualities you have, the more that will play a role in determining your management style.
What are the different management styles?
To be able to determine your management style, you need to take an honest account of your qualities. Your strengths and weaknesses are key to this, and it may be necessary to bring in someone else to help you identify them. This could be someone that knows you well or someone that has worked with/for you for some time. This outside perspective can be invaluable in getting an accurate picture.
This is a management style that enables you to push employees to be at their very best. You achieve this by encouraging them to improve and enhance their existing skills whilst developing new ones that can boost their effectiveness. This will nurture a team spirit that revolves around innovating and solving problems in order to be more productive and achieve more.
Visionary managers have strong leadership skills that enable them to harness and communicate a vision that encourages employees to achieve their goals. Once you lay out the goals of that vision, you are confident that you have inspired your team enough that they can be left to their own devices to accomplish them. From here, your role as manager is to monitor employee progress and check in on them to ensure everyone is clear and on-task. If additional guidance is needed, you are there to provide it.
This is focused on long-term growth. Career opportunities like promotions and new projects can motivate employees to keep learning and advancing. Coaching managers use these and are not put off by short-term failures. Instead, these mistakes are understood to be learning opportunities that can yield long-term benefits.
Democratic managers give great value to the ideas of their employees and place a lot of emphasis on them. If this is you, a key feature of your management will be to allow team members to play a significant role in making key decisions for the department. This encourages your team to feel more engaged with projects as they play a role in identifying the goals they will be working towards.
Consultative managers put an emphasis on team building. They will leverage the skills of others to work collaboratively on creating plans and making big decisions. These managers consult with their employees to gather their opinions and suggestions, trusting in their experience, skills and expertise. This forms the basis of making informed strategic decisions.
If you are a laissez-faire manager, you allow your employees to make most of the decisions for themselves. You trust them to work on projects with very little supervision. This type of manager often believes that employees do their best work when trusted to do it their way. You make yourself available to assist if requested but otherwise you keep faith with your employees.
This is often seen as a negative management style as it is too passive. Some autonomy is good, but employees need support and guidance from their managers. Other less productive management styles include:
- Autocratic Management: Basically the opposite of laissez-faire management.
- Servant Management: When managers are afraid to provide constructive criticism for fear of making employees unhappy.
- Transactional Management: When the only motivators for employees are things like bonuses.
Why is it important to understand your management style?
If you understand what your management style is, you will be able to determine whether you are the right fit for a certain team. This can be particularly useful if you are looking for a new job. But it can also help if you are exploring opportunities to improve productivity or success in your current role. If both you and your employees are on the same page about the way you work, it can be conducive to a positive work environment.
Consider how your skills and personality traits translate to:
These are key skills for management, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to them. What type of leader are you? What approaches to planning and strategy work best for you? How do you like to communicate and are you a great organiser? These are the questions that will lead you down the path to discovering your management style.
It’s also important to remember that you can choose your management style. It might take time, and some self-reflection and self-conditioning but you can be the type of manager you want to be with time and some effort.