Gallup's research in to managers suggests that choosing the wrong person for the job is happening frequently, in 82% of cases. Risky business perhaps when managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.
A study by Leadership IQ challenges this view somewhat, with their findings showing that it's actually often the case that it's the manager's style that isn't appropriate, rather than them not having the inherent ability to develop line management skills.
With management styles, there is no one-size-fits-all and different personalities will manage people in different ways. However, it is important to recognise that you can adopt different styles that suit you and get the best out of your people.
You will find that the stage your team members are at in their careers, will influence which management style you will use. When someone is in their early career, for example, or the team are in a state of emergency you may need to be more directive and autocratic. When team members are more experienced and established you will be better placed to be more collaborative and give more freedom.
There are a number of widely agreed-upon types of management styles commonly used today. Each of these styles has their own strengths and weaknesses, and a person can use more than one style, depending on the situation. Here’s a summary of the main ones.
Autocratic: Autocratic managers make decisions unilaterally, without much (or any) input of others. This style can be perceived as a good management technique if the direct report is inexperienced and the right decisions are made. However, this style of management can drive away employees who are looking for more ownership of decisions, and more autonomy.
Selling: A manager who uses this style will look to get people on board with their ideas and proposals but will maintain the final decision-making control. This is positive from the point of view that they’ll encourage people to ask questions however the influence that employees have is limited.
Consultative: the manager consults his or her employees, but ultimately the leader makes the final decision. Decisions attempt to take the best interests of the employees into account but also focus on the business. This type of management style often leads to loyalty from employees included in decision-making processes, but those who are left out are more likely to move on.
Collaborative: managers offer employees an opportunity to fully discuss and engage in decision-making. This means all decisions are agreed upon by the majority. The communications go from both the manager down to employees and from the employees up to the managers. This style works when complex decisions must be made that have a variety of outcomes.
Laissez-Faire: Employees are allowed to make the majority of decisions, with management providing guidance when needed. The manager in this case is considered a mentor rather than a leader. This style of management is good to use where risk taking is acceptable or the employee is very experienced.
Consider your own management style. Are you using the same style in every situation and for every person in your team? Could you adapt your style to ensure it more appropriately reflects what each individual need?
It's important to reflect on where you are now and whether your style is getting the best from your people. The right style for each person can take time to develop and you may need to consider incrementally how you can adapt to move towards this.
Management talent exists in every company. It's often hiding in plain sight.