If you are a manager, you likely have a specific style that you gravitate toward. However, the best managers know how to use a variety of styles based on situations and the individual employee.
Generally, there are six different management styles:
- Autocratic: This style is directive. The manager tells employees what to do and they fear consequences for not following specific directions. Employees are not allowed to think freely and managers don’t seek feedback. This style is efficient because one person makes all the decisions but it also alienates employees.
- Consultative: In this style, managers ask for feedback and have an open door policy. However, even though employees are consulted, they have little power and the manager still has the final authority. Decisions are delayed because it takes time to gain feedback.
- Persuasive: The manager tries to gain buy-in from employees using this style. The manager makes the final decision but spends time proving or “selling” why it is the right call.
- Democratic: This is a collaborative process in which employees and management work together to create a vision. A democratic style includes open forums and effective communication among various levels of the organization. Employees have buy-in because they are involved in the whole process and their input is valued.
- Chaotic: The manager gives all power and decision-making responsibility to the team. This style can cause confusion regarding roles, and decisions can be stalled. But it can be successful in higher level creative or technical roles.
- Laissez-faire: In this style, the manager mentors and coaches. Employees make their own decisions and consult their manager for guidance when needed.
If you are a new manager to a team or have a new hire, one of the first questions you should ask is “How do you like to be managed?” Each person is an individual and works best under different leadership. Other important questions include the following:
- How often do you like to meet? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?
- How often do you like direct feedback on your work?
- Do you prefer specific work instructions or do you like more general guidance?
- What is your preferred method of communication? E-mail? In-person? Instant messaging?
- Describe your ideal manager. Tell me about the best manager you had and his or her qualities.
The top managers will realize that managing is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Get to know your employees so that you can work together most efficiently to reach your common goals and ensure success.
What is your preferred management style?