Some managers keep an eye on every single task and decision. Others take a laid-back approach.
Management styles vary greatly, and different approaches work for different people, depending on the business environment. What management style is best for you and your staff? Finding the answer to that question can be the key to a harmonious work environment and provide valuable insight that can help you move up the corporate ladder toward a career in management.
There are four main types of management styles:
An Autocratic Style
In the autocratic style, decisions are made by the manager with very little or no input from staff. This ensures a manager puts his or her stamp on the business, reflecting their own personality and opinions. It can be particularly effective when quick decisions are needed, and in dealing with a workforce that is less skilled and experienced. However, it can leave employees feeling powerless, and affect their level of involvement and commitment.
There are also hybrids of autocratic management types, in which final decisions are still made by the manager. However, subordinates get some input in the day-to-day aspects of their jobs. Management can also spend time presenting workers with the reasoning behind policies, and explaining the benefits, while still maintaining the ultimate say. Again, there's a chance this will keep employees from truly owning their role in the business.
A Democratic Style
Employees get a much larger say under the democratic management style. Communication is the key to this method, with input from all leading to a majority or consensus decision. This can bring a higher level of commitment, because employees are respected for their view on how things can be done better. On the other hand, a "too many cooks in the kitchen" scenario is possible, where a stalemate can result from too much conflicting input. This approach is often seen to be most effective in a complex business, where there are different specific skills that need to be melded for ultimate success.
A Consulting Style
Somewhere between the autocratic and democratic management style is the consulting management type. Decision-making still comes from the top, but employees are encouraged to provide feedback. This can give workers a sense of importance and loyalty, as they feel like they have a role to play in the process. As in the democratic method, communication between management and employees is a critical component.
A Laid-Back Style
The least-invasive management style can also be the riskiest. In the laid-back method, employees receive very little or no direction, and are encouraged to use their own ideas and creativity. In this case, the manager is viewed more as a mentor than as a leader. Workers in this case need to be highly-motivated, intelligent and driven, as they are ultimately in control of the decision making process.