Management Styles -
Management literature describes numerous management styles including:
Are there really that many styles? No! I believe there are three basic styles - directing, discussing, and delegating. Each style is unique in terms of how managers communicate, set goals, make decisions, provide feedback and recognize good performance.
Managers must determine which management style will be most appropriate for the employee's knowledge, skills, and experience. Using the appropriate management style provides employees with the right amount of guidance, involvement and support for the task that needs to be accomplished.
Managers tell people what to do, how to do it and when to have it completed by. They assign roles and responsibilities, set standards, and define expectations.
Points to Remember When Using the Directing Style
The directing style is appropriate when there is a mandate from above that describes what must be done and how it must be done. The manager is the "Commander-in-charge" simply carrying out the orders. The directing style is also appropriate in emergency situations as well as when employees have limited experience performing the assigned task.
Managers using this style ask questions and discuss relevant problems, opportunities, and work projects. What happens in a good discussion? People present ideas, ask questions, listen, evaluate information, and provide feedback. It's important to make sure ideas are fully discussed and debated. Managers often perform the role of facilitator, making sure the discussion stays on track and everyone has a chance to contribute.
Points to Remember When Using the Discussing Style
The discussion style is appropriate when there are opportunities to influence answers to questions such as, "What are our goals? What quality standards are needed?" "What work process should be used?" Who should do the work?" "What type of controls and feedback is needed?" The discussion style is effective when employees have ideas and confidence to speak up. Involvement in determining what must be done and how it will be done increases employee commitment to making it happen.
Managers using this style usually explain or get agreement on what has to be accomplished and when it must be completed. The how-to-do-it part of the equation is left up to the employee. Responsibility and authority are given to employees to get the job done.
Points to Remember When Using the Delegating Style
The delegating style is appropriate when people have the knowledge, skills, and motivation to get the job done. Experienced people don't need a manager telling them what to do. They want the freedom to choose how to get the work done. The ability to effectively delegate provides managers with more time to spend on other tasks such as benchmarking and strategic planning.
Each style (directing, discussing, and delegating) is unique in terms of how the manager behaves. One senior executive states, " I often use a hybrid approach. I'll use a directing style on what needs to be accomplished and a discussing style to determine how it should be done. Other times after a good discussion, I'll delegate. I tell my associate it's his or her decision to decide how to proceed." Effective managers use all three management styles to work with and through people to achieve organizational goals. The appropriate management style challenges and motivates people to achieve the desired results.
Paul B. Thornton is an author, consultant, trainer, and professional speaker. His company, Be The Leader Associates designs and delivers seminars and workshops on various management and leadership topics. His latest book Leadership and Leadership - Seeing, Describing, and Pursuing What's Possible is available at www.amazon.com and www.bn.com. He can be reached at PThornton@stcc.edu .
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