When you are driving your business forward, it can be hard to find the time for reflection and evaluation. To work as efficiently and effectively as possible, you need to continually update how your business operates and how each individual can contribute to your business goals.
As part of this reflection, you also need to look at your management style and whether or not this is working for you, your employees and your business.
What Is Your Management Style?
Don’t worry if you’ve never thought about this before, most managers will be so busy that they might not have thought about this either. Plus, self-evaluation can be a little uncomfortable to begin with.
In simple terms, management style is the manner in which you approach your leadership and the relationship with the employees who report to you. To be an effective manager, one who is hitting high performance levels in all areas of responsibility, you need to be able to adapt your style depending on the situation you are managing.
The end goal is to be able to change your management approach seamlessly and comfortably to further the business needs. The Balance describes how to identify and live your personal values for success – to represent your highest priorities and deeply held driving forces.
So, what are the most popular management styles?
This style is a top-down and dictatorial way of managing, with almost all decision-making involving little to no employee input. Most commonly used when communicating safety issues, government regulations and decisions that do not require any employee input. Another appropriate use of the tell method is when communicating directions to a new and inexperienced employee. This is a lesser-used management style in the modern workplace as employees now expect more autonomy and involvement in decision-making.
The sell management style is used when there is a need for employee commitment and support, but the decision itself is not open to much employee influence. Here, as a manager, it is your job to persuade employees that the decision is correct and to promote its positive aspects. While promoting the decision the employees, there can be room for influence on how the decision is carried out and who carries it out.
As with the tell approach to management, this style is not used as much in modern organisations as employees can feel manipulated and not empowered to do their best work.
Consult / Collaborate
Here a manager requests employee input into a decision but they still make the final decision. This style works best when employees are informed of this so that they know they can influence a decision but that suggestions may not be used.
Downsides to using the consult management style are that some employees might feel that their suggestions were not thoughtfully considered before a decision was made. And, unless you can sell them on the merits of the decision chosen, this can cause disenfranchisement. Also, if their input was essentially ignored, it will mean less enthusiasm to participate when the next decision comes about.
This style is high on support and low on direction and is best used when your team is a mix of senior leaders and middle managers. A great scenario is when one of the members of your business is hiring someone new. They will sort through the applicants, create a shortlist and interview the best candidates but it is you who makes the final decision.
Considered the ultimate form of leadership by The Startup, this management style involves you providing very little support in decision-making. If you are completely comfortable with leaving the person chosen to make the final decision, then this can free up your time for other pressing issues. No one can maintain working 100 hours a week so get delegating!
Place trust in the people you have put in place to manage things for you. If you have chosen them well, you can let them run with certain decisions that will take the business forward. If bad decisions start to crop up, you can always switch to a collaborate way of management until things get back on track or you decide to replace the employee with someone more suited to the role.
There’s even software that can help you with this management style that encourages employee involvement in continuing to improve work processes – kanban board software. Who better to help you make decisions about workflow and doing a task more effectively than the people doing the job day-in-day-out?