Management StylesWhat are management styles? Management styles are the characteristic ways that people make decisions relating to or affecting their subordinates.The style used depends on a number of things including the decision to be made, the competence of the employees, the confidence of the employees, who the decision affects and the urgency or importance of the decisionThe styles generally fall into four main categories:
Autocratic management style Autocratic managers take all the important decisions themselves with no involvement from their employees.This can be exactly the right thing to do when decisions are required immediately or there is an emergency. It is also effective when working with people with limited skills or who are new to a job or position.The disadvantages include little or no two way communication; this can result in poor worker morale and the creation of a “them and us” culture in an organisation.Autocratic managers believe that they have the ability to make the right decisions when decisions are needed.There are two sub categories of the autocratic management style:Directive AutocratThis manager makes all the decisions unilaterally and manages all employees closely.Permissive AutocratThis manager also takes all decisions unilaterally but does allow employees some leeway when carrying out their workPaternalistic management style The paternalistic management style is still dictatorial but takes into account the best interests of the business and the employees.The manager will usually explain decisions to employees and actively encourages. The responsibility for making the decision still lies with the manager. This management style can develop a more motivated workforce who perceive their needs are being met.The disadvantages are slower decision making due to consultation; it is still a more autocratic/dictatorial style of management.Democratic management style The democratic style of management takes all employees’ points of view into consideration before a decision is made. Decisions are often made by the majority and communication is essential between managers and staff. This management style is extremely useful when managing highly skilled employees whose points of view will be essential to the success and implementation of any decisions. This management style also has a positive impact on company morale as staff can see that their direct input has a place in the decision making process.Disadvantages are the time it takes to make a decision. Also, errors can occur if staff are not as competent as they need to be or not as competent as the management believes them to be.Laissez Faire The Laissez Faire style of management lets the staff manage their own areas of the business; the manager may only have a limited input or even none at all.The advantages of this style include more time for the manager to concentrate on the things where they can have the most impact or produce the best results as well as improved staff morale, involvement and responsibility.Disadvantages include staff making decisions where they are either not competent or don’t have sufficient information as well as a potential lack of focus or direction.There is also a risk that the staff end up feeling neglected or ignored.What style of manager are you? Now that you understand the styles of management can you figure out which category you usually fit into?Most of us tend to use one or two styles more than the others.You should ask yourself whether that is the right style of management for you and your business at the moment or for any particular decision or group of staff.Moving to a new style or being able to switch between styles may increase your company’s profitability and effectiveness.Sales Training International has extensive experience in helping managers develop their management skills and to use the appropriate styles in each situation.