Often it said that successful managers have a knack for managing people. They always seem to be able to motivate people to get the job done. Yet, if you ask them to explain how they do it, they often are not able to describe what they have done. Usually, they say that they have just found what works in different situations and that they use common sense.
There is a lot more to it than that. In this section, we will examine various management styles and there use.
What is the ideal management style?
Ask yourself the questions:
What kind of a manager are you?
How effective are you as a leader?
What is the ideal or most effective management style?
Most managers may have vague feelings about these questions. Very seldom do most managers really find the answers.
Introspection and self-analysis are not activities that many people are good at. Most of us, to one degree or another, tend to downplay or rationalize our shortcomings and failures. However, if we look at our lives and our careers, we invariably find that real growth in our personal lives and as managers has come by confronting our shortcomings and learning from our failures.
There is no best management style—there is no single, all-purpose leadership approach that meets all situations.
The consistently successful leaders are those who constantly adapt their style to the people and situations that they encounter.
Largely, the management style of managers is the result of how well they master and apply the various leadership styles.
What are the various leadership styles?
As you read, each description takes an honest look at your own management style. Ask yourself; do you think your employees would agree with your perception?
We have used a six-sided figure to illustrate the major types of leadership styles. They are
The Coercer is a person who controls or restrains by force, a person who compels that other follow their instructions.
Most people would find this approach distasteful whether they are on the giving or receiving end. History has proven that to
take constantly this approach is not an effective way to get long-term results. Berating and intimidating employees with threats of job loss or other dire consequences loses its effect rather quickly and actually is more of a de-motivator if continued for long.
However, the Coercer is a valid management style and is the style of choice in certain circumstances.
The leaders in these situations often must take charge and issue direct orders, whether or not they turn out to be right or wrong. There is no time for discussion or interference from others. Failure to act immediately may result in loss of life or major property damage.
Even in a business environment, there can be infrequent occasions when the manager may have to be the Coercer and demand immediate action. However, always be aware that this mode of behaviour must be used very sparingly or it quickly loses its effect.
The Authoritarian likes to have everything in order and requires strict adherence to rules and regulations.
At times, this style of management may be confused with the Coercer but they are quite different.
Authoritarian managers may be successful for a period but, if you look closer, you will often see that their personal success leaves a trail of destruction.
Do you know an Authoritarian manager? If so, you will recognize the following common traits and business conditions.
Common Authoritarian traits:
•Costly turnover of good employees
•A lack of personal growth among key employees in the organization
•They are not good people developers who can groom a successor
•They find it hard to be a mentor
•They are not delegators who will spark people’s imaginations
•They don’t make their employees feel empowered to make decisions
•They seldom involve employees in the decision-making process
•They feel that nobody can do it as well as they can
They will go to great lengths to ensure that there is no deviation from the way they personally would do a job.
All these traits are a control issue in the mind of the Authoritarian who, at the extreme, can even be paranoid. They are afraid of losing control, so they implement rigid rules and regulations.
Of course, this can be a stifling environment for employees where there is little opportunity to exercise initiative. Temporarily, in task-oriented situations, an authoritarian approach will appear to work but it is very damaging to the future growth of the organization and people with ideas and energy will go where their talents are used and appreciated.
An Authoritarian should be very aware that even a benevolent dictator finds it exceedingly difficult to groom a successor!
The Pacesetter feels that nobody can do it as well as they can but they also view themselves as a point man—a Field General whose job it is to lead bye xample.
This style of management is commonly (but not exclusively) seen in sales organizations where typically the manager was promoted from the field sales force.
Downsides of the Pacesetter style of management can be:
This type of manager frequently burns out from trying to carry the organization on his or her own back.
The organization can become too dependent on the efforts of one individual.
Administratively, Pacesetters are often a disaster because they are too busy to attend to details.
They usually only survive if supported by a strong team of people to make them look good while they are off ‘leading the charge.’
The Coach knows that, in the long term, consistent achievement depends on training and motivating other people to get the job done.
The Coach often takes a very personal interest in the team and feels that success is never luck or the results of any individual’s effort but rather is the result of the team pulling together.
The Coach may take charge occasionally to show how it’s done. Nevertheless, he or she is not afraid to let people prove their worth although mistakes will be made. The Coach knows that if controlled properly, making mistakes is a learning experience.
It is also more productive to promote initiative than it is to stifle it.
The Coach is capable of showing many faces. During a single situation, the Coach may be:
The Democrat is team oriented and accepts responsibility for leadership. However, rather than giving strong personal direction to the group for settinggoals and achieving them, the Democrat chooses to consult with the group to arrive at a consensus.
This style of leadership is common among, but not exclusive to:
Groups of professionals where the training, experience, and educational background of the manager and staff are not very different
•People who are equally talented
•People who are self-starters in situations that require little supervision
•Teams of people who are task oriented or have common objectives
However, in all of these instances, the conditions have to be right including good chemistry between the personalities of the people
The Democrat is administratively strong as a rule and may be they also are liked as an individual but, in many cases; staff will lose respect for them as a manager and colleague.
The Facilitator likes everybody and everybody likes her or him. At least, that is the way the Facilitator would like it to be.
The Facilitator may have good administrative skills but is so busy pleasing everyone that he or she becomes ineffectual as a decision-maker. Like the Democrat, Facilitators may be well liked as individuals but nobody has respect for their abilities as managers.