Management Styles

How much you know of management styles – oh! I know it; learnt in my school during early days.
Something like Directive, Consultative, Authoritarian, and so on ….
Well, when do you use it – for what?

Primary objective of following this style is immediate compliance

Follow the way I tell you
• Closely controls employees
• Motivates by threats and discipline
It is only effective when there is a crisis, or when deviations are risky
However, it is not effective when either employees are underdeveloped – little learning happens with this style; or,
When they are highly skilled – they become frustrated and resentful at the micromanaging.

The AUTHORITATIVE (Visionary) style has the primary objective of providing long-term direction and vision The “firm but fair” manager
• Gives employees clear direction
• Motivates by persuasion and feedback on task performance
Effective when:
• Clear directions and standards needed
• The leader is credible

Ineffective when:
• Employees are underdeveloped – they need constant guidance on what to do
• The leader is not credible – people won’t follow your vision if they don’t believe in it

The AFFILIATIVE style has the primary objective of creating harmony among employees and between manager and employees:
• The “people first, task second” manager
• Avoids conflict and emphasizes good personal relationships among employees
• Motivates by trying to keep people happy
Effective when:
• Used with other styles
• Tasks routine, performance adequate
• Counselling, helping
• Managing conflict
Least effective when:
• Performance is inadequate – affiliation does not emphasise performance
• There are crisis situations needing direction

The PARTICIPATIVE (Democratic) style has the primary objective of building commitment and consensus among employees:
• The “everyone has input” manager
• Encourages employee input in decision making
• Motivates by rewarding team effort
Effective when:
• Employees working together
• Staff have experience and credibility
• Steady working environment
Least effective when:
• Employees must be coordinated
• There is a crisis – no time for meetings
• There is a lack of competency – close supervision required

The PACESETTING style has the primary objective of accomplishing tasks to a high standard of excellence:
• The “do it myself” manager
• Performs many tasks personally and expects employees to follow his/her example
• Motivates by setting high standards and expects self-direction from employees
Effective when:
• People are highly motivated, competent
• Little direction/coordination required
• When managing experts
Least effective when:
• When workload requires assistance from others
• When development, coaching & coordination required

The COACHING style has the primary objective of long-term professional development of employees:
• The “developmental” manager
• Helps and encourages employees to develop their strengths and improve their performance
• Motivates by providing opportunities for professional development
Effective when:
• Skill needs to be developed
• Employees are motivated and wanting development
Ineffective when:
• The leader lacks expertise
• When performance discrepancy is too great – coaching managers may persist rather than exit a poor performer
• In a crisis


Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprpise

My thoughts in writing above are inspired by write of Hay-McBer

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