For many years, corporate experts and business mentors have debated on what makes a great manager. Should they be firm and uncompromising, in order to encourage employees to strive for the best? Or, should they take a softer approach and trust teams to push themselves to achieve? The bad news is that there is no right answer. All workplaces are unique and what works in one might be disastrous for another.
This is why all great managers are defined by their adaptability. They understand that success in business is an endlessly complex process. It involves a hundred different ways of speaking, presenting, and promoting. From customers to investors and sponsors to suppliers; to be an exceptional manager, you have to know how to communicate with them all.
This guide to the most common managerial styles will explain why, in the end, the manager who can be a chameleon will always triumph.
According to the experts at Pure Magic Business, the pacesetting manager leads by example. They can be summed up by the statement ‘Do exactly as I do.’ They expect employees to observe and assimilate, so as to rid themselves of the need for lengthy explanations and tutorials. This style of management is best suited to times when a team is already motivated and inspired. They have the skills to do an excellent job. They just need a little guidance.
The authoritarian allows for a little more independence within a team. They would be defined by the statement ‘Follow my lead.’ Unlike the pacesetter, they are keen to encourage innovation and free thinking. They believe that employees can handle the technical and practical details by themselves, as long as they feel free to be creative and inventive. This style of management is best suited to the start of projects, when teams are brainstorming and trying to settle on a direction.
The affiliate manager emerges when teams are trying to recover from a disappointment or need extra support and praise to continue performing at a high level. This management style is defined by compassion and sensitivity. It is reflected by the statement ‘People are the main priority.’ While there are lots of situations in which it is valuable and effective, it should be used sparingly because too much softness often leads to a lack of discipline.
This kind of manager aims to refine talent and help employees advance. They provide the right opportunities and push people to challenge themselves in the right way. The mentor is defined by the statement ‘You should have a go at this.’ When faced with a stubborn team member, this style of management can be a calm, constructive way to show them that they still have much to learn.
This is the most firm style of management and, as such, it is best suited to times of intense action. When the stakes are high and there is a lot to lose, the coercer is not afraid to take charge and become a commanding, uncompromising leader. They are defined by the statement ‘Do as you’re told.’ Clearly, this is a very powerful way to operate but it should not be used long term. Too much harshness or control can alienate and drive employees away.
The democrat is always asking ‘What is your opinion?’ They want to get every team member involved and channelling their ideas into the project. This is a very effective and popular style of management and it works well in all kinds of workplaces. Generally speaking, all managers should be aiming to operate democratically. On the other hand, in crisis situations, they must also be able to step up, delegate, and identify the strongest employees.
Why There Is No Winner When It Comes to Management Styles
Ultimately, there is no ‘best’ management style. If a single style were to be used exclusively, a business would run into all kinds of problems, because a ‘one fits all’ approach isn’t effective. Instead, exceptional managers are able to match the situation to the leadership style. They can recognise the need for a firm, no nonsense demeanour. Yet, they also know when employees require a softer, more subtle mood and atmosphere.
Like all things, becoming a great manager isn’t an overnight process. It takes a lot of hard work and patience, as well as a huge amount of passion. One thing that can point new managers in the right direction is leadership seminars and classes. These programs teach managers how to choose the right leadership style for the right situation, how to interact with employees in a positive way, and how to grow into a person who inspires others to achieve.
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