Whether you’ve been managing staff for years, or are preparing to take on your first role as a team leader, there is one question you should be asking yourself: what kind of leader am I?
The answer to this question will vary depending on who you are, who you manage, your line of work, the environment, and any number of other factors.
But while every manager is different, there are a few clearly identifiable styles that can help us understand the different kinds of managers out there, and how your approach can affect results.
The 7 Different Manager Styles
There are seven main styles of management that we can identify, let’s begin with a brief overview of each.
The first and one of the most extreme is Autocratic, which is when you make decisions unilaterally, with no input from your team. This style trades trust and innovation in favour of greater control and consistency.
At the other end of the extreme is the Laissez-faire style, where you allow your team to function with minimal input from you. This signals trust and encourages creativity, but runs a greater risk of mistakes being made.
Next is the Consultative style. A consultative manager will bring in others to ask them for their opinions, and then decide whose thoughts and which ideas are worth considering, and adjust their plans accordingly.
Unlike a consultative manager, a Persuasive manager already has their own path in mind, but they will try to excite their team and get them to believe in the idea at hand.
In both cases, these managers are quite confident of their own judgement, and although a consultative manager is more open to input than a persuasive manager, both realise the importance of having a team that genuinely believes in the work they do.
The Democratic style is one that has become increasingly popular of late. Simply put, this style leaves the decision-making up to the majority. This encourages cooperation and compromise, but at the cost of creativity and personal accountability.
Next comes the Chaotic style, which is sort of like the republican answer to the democratic style. Chaotic management involves outlining the overall goals of the company, and leaving it up to the individual to pull their own weight and contribute. This encourages creativity and accountability, but at the cost of coordination and support.
The final style we will examine is Management by Walking Around (MBWA), which is a very on-the-ground style. Managers who adopt this style will be actively involved with their team, listening to their concerns, trying to identify problems early on, understanding the overall atmosphere and culture of the workplace, and providing support.
This style can offer a range of benefits to team members and businesses, but only with a big-time investment, which can add pressure to other duties.
Identifying Your Style
When identifying which of the above managerial styles you think would be most effective for you, is important to consider:
- The kind of person you are
- The space you work in
- How many people you manage
- Their level of experience
The most important thing to remember is that you’re not choosing which style to use, but identifying your natural style.
Understanding all of these styles both alone and in relation to one another will help you identify your managerial style and allow you to recognise the advantages and shortcomings of your natural approach.
Although there will be one style that you identify with more than others, you will likely find that certain styles are more applicable in certain situations.
While you will always have a natural style, you are likely to end up switching between them every so often.
The ability to identify which situations call for which type of leadership will help you approach things on a case by case basis, saving you from your own limitations and making you a more effective leader.
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This article was originally published in 2017 and has since been updated and republished.