Is Your Management Style Effective?
When it comes to management, half the battle is knowing when to use the right management style. Some styles tend to focus on people, while others gravitate toward a specific project or product. The management style that ends up working in a particular situation depends on your people skills, knowledge, resources available to you, and the results you’d like to achieve.
It’s important to choose the right management style for each situation. Without styles that align with certain circumstances, you may find your business moving more slowly and making costly mistakes.
The following management styles may be effective in getting your people to do their best work:
- Participatory Style - Managers using this style give employees tasks to complete from start to finish. For projects in which that is not possible, managers must communicate to each employee how his or her part relates to the larger project. People who understand their role in the bigger picture are often more motivated to complete their tasks. Explain the details of the project and why the employee’s role is essential to it. Solicit their feedback on the task he or she is to complete as well as its significance. People who have the opportunity to be involved in the process are more likely to feel valued and to take ownership of their tasks as part of the project. Another factor that influences people’s motivation is their understanding of the tasks. Make it a habit to ask questions that may seem obvious to you – the employees’ answers will reinforce that they grasp the project, their task, and their importance. You may find that the tasks to be done are divided among groups. In that case, try to coordinate the groups so that they know where and how their particular contribution fits into the larger project. Your biggest task as a manager in this case is to minimize problems and other obstacles that are sure to arise. Communicate with the teams that you are willing and able to clear their paths. Encourage them to inform you of any problems that arise in a timely manner so that you can do so.Finally, be sure to reward motivation just as you do accomplishments. Letting people know that you value their efforts will help to maintain the momentum that you’ve built.
- Directing Style - Some situations, such as those under a tight deadline or that involve numerous employees, call for a top-down management approach. In the directing style, managers must outline five key goals for their employees: what, how, when, where, and why. Managers must be specific about what their people need to do, how they should do it, where they should do it, why they’re doing it, and when it must be finished. Although you may find this style cold and impersonal, there is still ample opportunity for you to be motivating and accessible. One example would be during role assignment: you should take that as an opening to provide tips to employees or to share experiences you have gleaned from similar projects. Setting specific expectations and standards is important for this style to work. Make sure you are unambiguous in your communication.Be as detail oriented as possible, and avoid jargon and buzzwords. Clear, short-term goals like “complete four reports each day” are best. As a manager, you must also be able to make decisions on the fly. For example, you may have to tell an employee to switch from one task to another. This will go over more smoothly if you let your employees know at the start of the project that such shuffling may occur. If they’re prepared for it, the transition between tasks is far less disruptive.
- Teamwork Style - Managing by teamwork is the best style if you are trying to expedite a project or optimize processes for completing that project. This style motivates people by pooling their knowledge, and often the results far exceed expectations. Teams may be able to solve problems more quickly than a single person could. If a good give-and-take develops within the team, you may be able to replicate that process with other projects. Coordinated efforts and solid communication among staff are the key to successful teamwork. Presentations and reports must be concise and clear, and they must answer all outstanding questions. It’s also very important to understand logistics. However, most important, you as a manager must be willing to give the team credit for its independence and success, and not your management skills.
When employee evaluation time rolls around, you must remember to reward and recognize those employees who collaborated well and maintained a team spirit under pressure.
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