What’s it: Management style is a manager’s approach to managing resources to achieve goals. It includes how a manager organizes work, exercises authority, makes decisions, delegates authority, and manages his staff. The approach taken can vary from democratic to authoritarian. And each has its pros and cons and, therefore, is suitable for different situations.
Management is about bringing staff together and encouraging them to work towards achieving set goals. Some managers may dictate what should and shouldn’t be done without tolerance for abuse. While others may involve subordinates more actively participating and complementing each other, encouraging them to work together.
Why is understanding management style important?
Understanding management style is important for a manager for several reasons. First, managers understand how best to use resources, especially staff, to achieve their desired goals.
Second, managers understand their own strengths. It became their foundation to lead the staff.
Third, managers know how to adapt their style to different situations. Indeed, often a manager has a dominant style. However, often, due to a changing environment or an emergency, they must be able to adapt and change their leadership style, for example, to support quick decisions.
Take a simple example. A company is going through a crisis. The business environment requires a manager to be authoritarian to bring everyone to carry out the planned steps to achieve goals. Though, usually, he might prefer to adopt a democratic style.
Fourth, when the manager demonstrates a clear management style, it makes it easier for the team to be more deeply involved. They can more easily adapt to the manager’s leadership style. They understand how to behave, perform tasks, do work, or play a role in decisions.
Without clarity about the leadership style, it will create confusion among subordinates, creating frustration. For example, a manager exhibits a democratic style, and his staff perceives it as such. But, as it turns out when they have an opinion, managers don’t like to accept their opinion. Finally, subordinates feel their ideas are not appreciated.
On the other hand, if the manager exhibits an authoritarian style from the start, subordinates are likely to be self-conscious. As a result, they will not voice their opinion and tend to wait for direction from the manager.
What are the types of management styles?
There are various management styles, and we will take a few examples. Each is needed or effective for different situations and times. They are:
- Autocratic or authoritarian style
- persuasive style
- Consultative style
- Democratic style
- Inspirational style
- Laissez-faire style
The autocratic style, also known as the authoritarian style, emphasizes a top-down approach. Managers wield sole and powerful authority. Managers encourage obedience from subordinates and expect them to follow orders.
An autocratic style is usually appropriate when a crisis or critical situation occurs. It enables fast decision-making, and decisions are implemented immediately without deviation.
However, this management style can lead to frustration among subordinates. They feel the manager doesn’t value them. As a result, they are afraid to voice their aspirations. As a result, this situation can lead to a bad working relationship.
Like the autocratic style, managers wield strong authority. They control and control decision-making.
Nevertheless, managers are open to feedback and discussion under a persuasive style. And they tend to give subordinates reasons why they should do as they are told. The latter does not appear in an autocratic style.
This management style is appropriate when managers better understand the material and what is good and bad for the organization. Managers then effectively communicate their thoughts and plans. Next, managers give subordinates reasons why they should execute the plan and why it is a good and interesting idea. Managers then encourage subordinates to commit to the assigned tasks to carry out their ideas.
The consultative style involves subordinates participating more deeply. While managers hold the decision-making authority, they take the team’s opinion more seriously before making a decision. Managers try to consult and explore their thoughts to decide the best.
This management style does increase team engagement. However, decision-making – and implementation – can come too late because managers have to weigh a lot of opinions. For this reason, the consultative style may not be suitable when a crisis occurs within the company.
The democratic style is almost similar to the consultative style. Both are the same because involving employee participation. But, both differ in whether they are involved in decision-making or not.
Under the consultative style, the manager solicits the feedback and opinions of subordinates to reach a decision. Once done, he made up his mind and had the sole authority to do so.
In contrast, under a democratic style, subordinates do not just engage in discussions to reach a decision. But, they are also involved in decision-making. Managers trust them to make some independent decisions. Thus, decision-making authority is divided between managers and subordinates. In some cases, managers may offer assistance and guidance when needed.
Like the consultative style, the democratic style is essential for strong engagement among subordinates. It also provides space for them to show their best abilities.
However, the democratic style can also result in slow decisions. In addition, subordinates’ decisions may be poor because they are not good decision-makers – perhaps because they are not trained and are more often involved in routine tasks than decision-making.
Managers prioritize encouraging subordinate involvement and compliance by inspiring them. Managers have a genuine desire to help them both professionally and personally. Managers seek to create positive change and motivate them towards a goal or success.
Inspirational style driven by values. And managers have deep responsibility for what they plan and for what they currently have, including the team.
This leadership style may be innate. Or, it requires a long experience with various successes and failures experienced. In addition, communicative skills are needed in this management style.
The laissez-faire style contrasts with the authoritarian style. And this style is broader than democratic. Managers encourage subordinates to take responsibility for their work. Managers give employees more trust and freedom by encouraging them to organize themselves, how to work, and make their own decisions.
This management style allows employees to self-actualize. They have the opportunity to bring out the best in them, experiment with something new, and implement it. They do it all without the manager having to keep a close eye on it.
Indeed, this management style allows subordinates to do their best. But, for some subordinates, it may create confusion because they are not used to working independently and prefer guidance. In addition, laissez-faire often leads to a relaxed culture, which can be dangerous when the business environment demands rapid change.
Which is the best management style?
Each management style has its pros and cons. They are needed in different situations and times. Ideally, an effective manager applies different styles, depending on the situation they are in. They are flexible to change styles. However, it is often difficult to do. And usually, a manager will have one dominant style.
So when is each management style suitable to be applied?
An autocratic style is appropriate when the environment requires quick decision-making without deviation. Managers must have a grand vision and be able to break it down into several specific steps or tasks which subordinates must carry out. Large companies with well-established organizational structures may adopt this. In addition, crisis situations usually also require a manager to act authoritarian.
The persuasive style requires managers to be effective communicators. Without it, they cannot encourage subordinates to be more involved. This style may be appropriate when managers face complex and difficult problems to solve in an authoritarian style.
In other cases, the manager may have a good plan and understand how to implement it. Then, they persuade employees to do it by giving reasons why they should do it and what the benefits will be for them.
Then, the persuasive approach is also suitable when new rules or decisions are introduced. In this situation, a persuasive style may be appropriate where the manager conveys the benefits or reasons behind the decision. In contrast, forcing subordinates to do so can be risky, perhaps frustrating or demotivating them.
The consultative style is appropriate when managers expect more ideas and suggestions before making a decision. For example, managers may lack ideas and try to get fresh ideas from subordinates. Or, managers avoid bias in decision-making when they only depend on their own ideas.
The democratic style is suitable when the team consists of people who are competent but less motivated, perhaps because they are bored with everyday life. Allowing subordinates to give opinions and make independent decisions helps them to increase their morale and self-confidence. Ultimately, it leads to higher productivity. This style also fits in an environment where fresh insights and ideas are needed to drive innovation.
An inspirational style may be needed when major changes are needed. For example, managers share their values to move employees’ emotions into deeper engagement. As a result, subordinates are motivated and eager to achieve what the manager wants, even when it requires them to try or do something new or deemed impossible.
The laissez-faire style is appropriate when subordinates are competent and understand their rights and responsibilities. For example, they know what they have to do and when to complete a task regardless of how and where they do it. As a result, they don’t need too many guides or instructions to work effectively. This style requires management to set goals for each employee and let them work independently by leveraging their creativity and experience.
What to read next
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- General Manager: Definition and Brief
- Lower-Level Management: Examples, Roles and Skills
- Management Level: Why It Matters, 3 Levels
- Management Style: Importance, Type, When Appropriate Adopted
- Management: Meaning, Five Main Functions
- Manager: Definition, Interests, Types, Functions
- Middle-Level Management: Examples, Roles, Skills
- Top-Level Management: Examples, Roles and Responsibilities, Skills