Recently I was asked what kind of leader am I. And while I could describe what I do, I was hard pressed to put a name to my style. So decided to do some research, the following is a quick overview of different styles leadership and management.
In the long run the most effective leadership style will change according to what is required at the time. You must be flexible to achieve your goals, do not adopt one style, because it won’t work for every situation.
So now if I am asked that is my leadership style - it’s flexible and encompassing. I adopt the necessary combination of methods to achieve the desired goal. My value is that I can judge what is required and when.
Management makes decisions unilaterally without consultation or regards for subordinates. Offers quick decision but can alienate workers. Close supervision of staff required as employees are not give much autonomy over their work.
Takes into account employee views and communication is mainly downward but feedback from subordinates is solicited. Decision making is still in the power of management but it does help to build greater loyalty with staff members.
Like the autocratic method all the decision making stays with management thus allowing for quick decision. The difference is that management will take more time to explain and persuade employees to follow management decisions.
Management sets the performance expectations. Goal is to achieve higher standards of productivity and pushes the team towards greater goals. Although this can help achieve better productivity it can often demoralize staff is pushed too far.
Often used when an organization needs a new direction. A visionary leader explains what the goals of the organization are but leaves it up to the staff to work out how to get there. Thus involving everyone in the process.
Management by Walking Around (MBWA)
Managers gather as much information as possible. Attempting to be pre-emptive, understanding a situation as soon as possible so it doesn’t become a bigger problem. MBWA provides real-time information directly from the source allowing to management to get a sense of general feeling. If done incorrectly this can leave the staff with a feeling of being micromanaged
Management allows employees to take part in the decision making process, majority rules. Extensive communication in both directions is required. Although the decision making process is slow it is useful for highly technical projects where expert opinion is crucial to the final success.
Like the autocratic method all decision are made by management, with little regard for staff option. It assumes that management has strong confidence in themselves are there to direct and look after the employees. This method often alienates strong competent staff who feel they are ignored in the decision making process.
The main focus is on developing individuals. Allowing the staff to align their goals to the goals of the organization. Usually leads go positive results - especially with motivated employees. But can, at times, be perceived as micromanaging.
Focuses on teamwork, communication flows both ways, but emphasises horizontal communication amongst staff. The goal is to build well-functioning teams that can be self-directed. Although can be of great benefit must be careful to keep the group on the right track.
Management acts as a mentor and stimulator but staff management themselves and their areas of concern. Leadership must be inspirational and employees must have strong sense of duty and loyalty. Management must be able to have a strong vision that is clearly communicated to all staff, otherwise lack of focus may lead to initiatives that go in opposite directions.
I wish to thank my friend James Smith a Manager at Canada Post for his contribution to my Blog for this article.