Everything rises and falls on leadership.
So the leadership experts say.
And in all honesty, it is true.
Every organization rises and falls depending on the management at the helm.
And like a ship sailing the oceans, the direction it is steered in will determine whether the voyage will end a success or shipwreck.
This is why as a leader in a management position, you need to understand which of the management styles you possess and how to effectively put it to good use.
What is Management?
According to The Business Dictionary, management is the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives.
In simpler terms, management is the process of coordinating your organization’s resources in order to accomplish the organization’s goals effectively and efficiently.
And this is exactly why everything rises and falls on leadership. Because management is the rudder that directs and determines the outcome of an organization, the process and style of management is critical for any organization.
But different managers and organizations have different ways of getting the people and resources under them to fulfill the said goals.
They have different management styles.
This brings us to our next point - the 4 main management styles.
As you get a better understanding of these perhaps you will better understand your own management style and learn how to strengthen your management abilities and, if need be, shift to another style that will benefit your organization more.
4 Main Management Styles Common to Most Managers
These different ways of dealing with people and resources in order to fulfill the company’s objectives are commonly referred to as management styles.
Just as we all have different personality types, managers have different management styles – different ways in which they deal with people and situations.
Let’s take a look at the 4 different management styles and see which you exhibit and how to use your style to better relate with your subordinates in a way that will mutually benefit everyone.
1. Autocratic Management Style
In an autocratic management style, the manager does not consider the ideas and suggestions of other team members.
All decision making is the sole responsibility of the superiors. And the duty of all his/her subordinates is to follow.
Because all the decisions are made by the manager, the employees become totally dependent on the manager for instructions and decisions. The employees don’t feel like part of the organization as their input is not valued.
They are like robots and have no room to be proactive.
In this kind of setup, the employees lack motivation and their creativity is stifled.
This management style demands that the manager be hands-on in everything that concerns the organization and this can be quite demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Although the autocratic management style is frowned upon in many circles, it does have its advantages.
One of those advantages is the way in which decisions can be made speedily as there will be no need to negotiate with employees.
2. Paternalistic Management Style
The word paternal is derived from the Latin word “pater” that means father.
It has to do with parenting or taking care off.
That is why paternalistic management styles are more about making sure employees and the organization both get some benefits.
In other words, a paternalistic manager always has the best interests of the employees at heart.
Paternalistic managers make sure that the organization’s policies are designed to benefit the organization, but not at the expense of the employees.
The employee’s suggestions, views, and feedback are taken into consideration before the final decision is made.
The biggest advantage, for the manager and organization, of the paternalistic style of management is that it breeds a strong sense of loyalty towards the manager and organization from the employees.
And because the employees know that the organization (and the manager) is considerate towards them, they are motivated to see the organization succeed.
Work becomes more enjoyable and less of a burden.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
The only downside to this management style is that decision making can be clouded and can actually drag at times since every member of staff has to be catered for and their views taken into consideration.
3. Democratic Management Style
The democratic style of management is a management style in which management welcomes the feedback of employees.
Employees are treated as team members and are given an open forum to discuss and formulate plans and ideas that can benefit the entire organization.
The major advantage of the democratic style of management fosters healthy and effective communication between the management and the employees.
And like the paternalistic management style, the democratic management style fosters strong loyalty and a strong work ethic.
Because management listens to what the employees have to say and involve them in decision making the employees feel (and actually are) part of the organization.
The same pitfalls that are found with paternalistic management styles are also found with the democratic management styles – the bureaucracy and gathering of feedback can prolong decision making.
And there are times when decisions have to be made quickly.
Another drawback is that when the workforce doesn’t have the necessary experience to make informed decisions that will be advantageous for the organization, they may end up driving the organization into the ground.
4. Laissez-Faire Management Style
This is one management style whereby the manager is actually redundant.
The term “laissez-faire” is a French word that literally means “let do”. And that is exactly what the managers who employ this management style do – they let their employees do as they wish.
That is to say, the manager(s) is employed for the sake of filling a position but does not really contribute much to the general running of the organization.
You could call this a “free” working environment as the employees manage their own workspace and duties and even make decisions their own.
Management is only hands-off and usually steps in once in a while to arbitrate in certain issues and give guidance where it is needed.
Although this may seem like an unproductive environment, it actually benefits those employees who are ambitious as they will easily outshine those who just show up to the office for fun.
The Laissez-Faire is one of the management styles that may seem counterproductive because of the employees having too much freedom, but with the right team, it can actually inspire creativity and innovation.
And that is what every organization needs in order to thrive.
Management Styles – Which One are You?
After having seen the 4 different management styles, I’m sure you’ve probably identified what kind of leader you are.
It may also have enlightened you on why your staff relates to you the way they do.
For example, autocratic leaders are not the most loved leaders. Not because they are bad or wrong, but because they are usually drivers and get things done at all costs.
On the other hand, paternalistic managers may be loved because of their care and concern for their employees. But at times it may come back to haunt them as the employees may mistake that care for weakness and thus try to take advantage of the manager or management.
None of these management styles is wrong per se. But whatever your management style, you have to be aware of its pros and cons and know how to use it for the betterment of the organization and the people who serve in the organization.
Management is not easy and you can’t please everyone. But to make it easier for yourself, always manage in a way that will be beneficial to both the organization and the employees.
What If You Want to Change Management Style
After reading this and understanding the different management styles, it can be that you feel you need to shift from one style to another in order to better serve your organization and inspire your team to work in a better environment.
That is definitely not a sign of your management style being wrong, it is simply a sign that you are a true leader.
The mark of a true leader is that they adapt to change.
At other times, the organization you are serving may need a different approach in the management style, and you have to adapt to what the organization needs at that time.
Although you may have a predominant management style you lean towards, as a true leader, you need to understand that there are times you may need to fit into the management style you find in your organization.