Self-awareness is an important tool to master in both your personal and professional life. It is especially important for business owners and managers, as they are responsible for the success of their business and managing key business relationships, i.e., staff.
Business owners and managers often develop a management style over time. Depending on the type of style, this can either help or hinder their business.
If you are looking to improve your management skills, understanding your style is important. You do not have to adopt one single management style; you can use different styles for different situations to achieve the best results.
Consider the most common management styles:
Bureaucratic managers direct their team by making sure everyone follows the rules and procedures. This style is common in workplaces with hierarchies where the manager has the final say in every decision. These workplaces usually feature roles with strict responsibilities and decision making capabilities. It is helpful for environments where safety is of utmost importance, ie., engineering or health-related jobs. A bureaucratic style is not suitable in workplaces that require creativity and agility to succeed, ie., creative industries.
The democratic style speaks for itself. Management collaborates with the team before making decisions. Employee consensus and cooperation is important in making this style work. Due to the amount of consultation involved, the democratic style can impact efficiency. It can take a while for decisions and solutions to arise as the input of all employees is necessary. However, it is beneficial in promoting a culture of effective communication through discussion and debate. It can also facilitate trust between management and staff, as employees can feel appreciated by sharing their opinions and contributing to solutions.
This style instils a fear of consequence as a driving force. There is no leeway for employee feedback and employees are instructed on what to do without any control over decision making. The manager takes on a dictatorial role and motivates staff through threats and discipline. It can be beneficial to use this style during periods of crisis or stress, however, in most circumstances, it stifles creativity and innovation. It can also result in low employee morale and limits any room for employee development.
Laissez-faire management, sometimes known as delegative management, is all about giving employees the freedom to do the job themselves. Generally, the manager delegates decisions and allow staff to choose their direction over the work. Unnecessary formalities and hierarchy often diminish creativity in the workplace, so this style is excellent for creative industries. It can also be useful in industries that have teams of experts, as the manager can trust that their staff have the appropriate knowledge and experience to perform tasks without too much oversight. The downside is that employees need to be committed and responsible for their work at all times as there is very little guidance from their managers. It may not be ideal for workplaces with employees who are not willing to be held accountable for their work. This style can also cause role ambiguity where employees are unsure of their manager’s expectations for the role or project.