To run a business, organization, or team effectively, proper leadership is an indispensable factor that you cannot ignore. To be a good front-runner, you need to understand the different management styles, especially when and how to apply them. Balance, they say, is the key to success and growth.
When it comes to handling a team, there is no leadership technique better than the rest. The most effective management style is the one that considers every scenario and alternates to fit the situation at hand. Flexibility is what makes the difference.
Daniel Goleman rightly pointed out in his book, Leadership That Gets Results:
New research suggests that the most effective executives use a collection of distinct leadership styles each in the right measure, at just the right time. Such flexibility is tough to put into action, but it pays off in performance. And better yet, it can be learned.
In this article, we’ll discuss these successful management styles, what they’re all about. We’ll also show you how to apply them, and when to apply them. This will put you at the top as a star manager at whatever organization you find yourself in.
Types of Management Styles
Below is a list of the best management styles. Some of them will be familiar to you, while some will be new. Whichever is the case, continue reading to gain more in-depth insight and learn something new. To tap into your potential as a manager, enriching yourself with new knowledge is a must.
1. Democratic Management Technique
This is a management style where the manager follows a democratic style or approach in handling their team or members of his organization. When employing this technique, they ask the question, “What do YOU think?”
In asking this question, the manager considers the opinions of their subordinates and involves them in the decision-making process. In essence, this method encourages collaboration, communication, and participation amongst members of the organization.
You should use the democratic management style if the members of your team are competent but somewhat unmotivated. This will allow employees to share their opinions and thought processes. An avenue to voice out and give input will not only boost morale, it’ll also improve confidence and thereby increase productivity.
Everyone wants to feel valued, especially when they’re competent and have something of worth to offer. By allowing such individuals to participate in the decision-making process, you strengthen their loyalty. This will make them put in more effort because they now feel like part of the business.
Keep in mind that this style of management is most suitable for teams comprising of capable employees who can offer valuable insight. Therefore, use this when you want to implement a particular strategy and need a consensus of your workers.
However, if you need to have something done quickly, this might not be the most suitable technique because it is time-consuming.
2. Coaching Management Technique
There are times when employees don’t need directions; instead, they need counsel. In such instances, the coaching management technique comes in handy. In using this style, the manager takes the position of a coach and teaches his employees new skills. They can also help their team members improve on existing talents as well.
While this style is not as common or well known as the other management methods, it remains a critical one. The importance of this method becomes evident when you consider that it’s more expensive to hire new employees for certain positions instead of training existing ones. This is as a result of a talent shortage in the market pool. For example, research carried out by U.C. Berkeley, has shown that employers looking to hire new talent will spend as much as $4,000 to $7,000 on average, above salary. This means that as a manager, you will save more resources by coaching your team members instead of looking to replace them or hire new hands.
There are other advantages to utilizing this style of management. One of them is that you’ll save time (a precious resource) in the long run and also have more capable employees at your service. It helps you to build an internal network of talent that you can use to operate large projects. In addition, by promoting competent employees, you can easily delegate tasks and encourage your workforce to take on multiple roles and responsibilities.
Keep in mind that this style is not about overworking your employees. It’s about creating a more competent team that can handle complex projects and allows you to delegate without worry.
3. Pacesetting Management Technique
A pacesetter manager has a high drive to achieve bigger and harder goals. This means that such a leader sets high standards for his team and expects them to follow him. His motto is “follow my instructions and follow them now, not later.”
This style of management works only for a team with highly motivated employees. Using this for an averagely motivated group will lead to disaster because the workers will be unable to see the leader’s goals. This will lead to a failure to accomplish whatever the manager wants to achieve.
Think of it this way: trying to push a team to carry out bigger and more challenging tasks when they don’t understand your goals will discourage them. Even if they understand, keep in mind that continuously setting high standards without pause can eventually lead to a negative work environment. Therefore, you should only use this management style when you need to tackle a big challenge or project quickly. Also, ensure that you have a competent team that’s highly motivated and can handle the pressure.
4. Authoritative Management Technique
An authoritative manager is often confused with a pacesetting or coercive leader. However, they are not the same. They are highly focused and driven individuals who have great vision for not just their team but the organization as well. They are managers that want to carry their employees along in achieving their set goals.
When a manager is using the authoritative style of leadership, he or she shows the final plan to the team. They will then go ahead to explain to their employees how they’ll achieve this goal together. Such leaders carry everyone along and believe that great things are accomplished when everyone has a common destination in mind.
You should use this management technique when you need to make big changes in the organization. It is especially important when the plans are overly ambitious, and the team isn’t sure if it’ll have a successful outcome.
The authoritative manager has a motto that goes, “come with me.” There are popular authoritative leaders that have driven great changes in their organizations. Examples include Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.
5. Affiliative Management Technique
An affiliative manager is one who believes that “employees come first.” He or she operates on the principle that even as leaders, they’re also part of the team and not above it. This makes them focus on keeping their team happy and involved.
As humans, we have an emotional side that wants to connect with the people around us. This style of management taps into the power of emotional bonds to resolve conflicts in the workplace. It brings the team together and rebuilds trust, especially during those stressful moments when there’s a lot happening, and workers can easily get overwhelmed.
Affiliative leaders are more flexible when it comes to management. If changing a rule will make a team happier and more productive, these managers will make an effort to adjust it or even remove it completely. If it becomes necessary, they’ll ignore or totally remove arrangements that prevent a team from acting as a group.
Let’s say that in an organization, strict formal communication channels impede team members from acting as a unit. In this case, affiliative managers will look for new ways to eliminate this problem. Another example is when changes need to be made to how employees track their time, especially when trying to improve salary payments.
Affiliative leaders are not insistent on maintaining a process that doesn’t work for their team or rules that make employees unhappy as a whole.
6. Coercive Management Technique
At one point or another in their career, every manager encounters that one employee who gave him or her a hard time. When faced with such scenarios, leaders have to use the “do as I say or face the consequences” approach. While this management style is not usually ideal, it’s the better evil, especially when you consider the negative outcome of such problematic behavior.
The downside of using this leadership approach is that it can reduce the overall positivity of a team. Therefore, it’s recommended that you only use it when the company is facing a rough patch and needs an urgent turnaround. For this technique to work, the manager needs to be someone who is highly motivated with a great drive to achieve.
Avoid using this technique, except when necessary, because it can be disastrous when applied at inappropriate times or if used in the wrong situation.
7. Laissez-Faire Management Technique
When it comes to handling a team, some leaders believe in a free approach to management. Such managers do not try to control his or her employees or tell them what to do. They allow team members to use their own initiatives on tasks. While they give this free reign to their workers, they also provide them with feedback once they complete an assignment. This leadership style is the laissez-faire management technique.
Some managers won’t dream of using this approach. However, it’s quite common and effective and can lead to increased creativity and productivity in a team. This method is used by organizations, such as Google, as a way to come up with new ideas easily. Google allows employees to use 20% of their time to work on projects that have nothing to do with tasks assigned to them by their boss. Workers are encouraged to pursue anything they choose, no matter how big. This technique has led to the birth of amazing innovations such as Google Maps, Gmail, and Twitter, among many others.
For sure, this approach only works if you’re managing a highly competent team where everyone knows what they need to do. The purpose of using this style is to boost creativity, accountability, and responsibility.
8. Persuasive Management Technique
It is a fact that as a manager, you hold the power, which puts you in charge of affairs going on in your organization. However, in running a business, trying to pull rank or use authority doesn’t always work.
There are situations where a new decision or rule can put you at risk of losing half of your workforce. This is because your employees can decide to quit their jobs and look for employment elsewhere if they don’t like the new change. In such cases, trying to use force, rank, or power won’t work. This is where the persuasive management technique comes in. By using this style, a manager lays out the benefits and reasons for the new decision to their employees. They then go further to explain why this change had to be made.
This technique maintains peace and harmony in a team while ensuring the organization achieves its set goals.
Deciding on a Management Style for Effective Leadership
To manage a workforce effectively, a leader needs to switch seamlessly from one management style to another. This is because no employee wants a boss who is too strict or one who is too relaxed and doesn’t carry their own weight. In addition, nobody wants to work for an employer who doesn’t listen to suggestions. Therefore, striking a balance between these techniques is necessary.
To achieve a perfect balance as a manager, you need to understand the work environment, what it’s missing, and what it needs. This will enable you to choose the right style. By selecting the right method for each situation, you can achieve your goals in the most effective way possible.
Pro Tip: Use Traqq to Make Team Management Easier
Any responsible leader would agree that any management style would only be a success if there is mutual respect. While ensuring productivity is important to any business, a manager should still remember that they are working with humans. So, when it comes to employee monitoring, you should only use Traqq—the ethical time tracker. While this tool takes screenshots and video recordings, the quality of the images is intentionally reduced. They are blurred to the extent that would prevent sensitive information like private messages and passwords from getting exposed.
Of course, as a time tracker, Traqq offers several features that will make team management easier. This tool works both online and offline, so your employees can still track their billable hours even when they don’t have a network connection. With the weekly and monthly reports, generating invoices is a lot easier.
Remember, you must assess every situation properly and understand your team. This will help you choose the fitting management style to grow your workforce and organization effectively. A flexible approach is what you need to grow your business and build a healthy company culture. We wish you all the best as you lead your company to new heights with a better leadership style.