Management & Leadership

How do Management Styles Vary?

Nov 17, 2021 | By Saranne Durham
How do Management Styles Vary? - SACAP

Over time management styles have varied. Some have been shown to work better than others. Within this evolving dynamic, the attitude and approach of individual managers also influences the style of management. The type of management that a company or manager adopts is also contingent on the context they operate within. Certain industries work better with a specific style of management. Additionally, where in the world a business is located influences the management style adopted by it. As does the skill level of employees, their ability of self-motivation and their attitude towards working.

Why is the Type of Management Important?

A manager’s approach to management of their team can be enormously impactful on their individual wellbeing and job satisfaction. It also plays a role with regards to the overall success and productivity of the company. This is because management styles shape the ethos and approach to attain goals within a company. They do this by directing how communication, delegation, responsibility as well as the adaptability of a business takes place. This has a direct impact on the long-term viability of a business within an industry and its profit margins.

“The Style of Management can impact a business and its employees on multiple levels.”

What Management Styles are there?

Management styles can be divided into many groups. These three types of management are helpful in understanding the various approaches within the broader context of management styles.

3 Management Styles

1. Autocratic

This is often regarded as an “old school” type of management. It is hieratical in nature and also known as top-down management. It’s seen to have more advantages for those managing than employees carrying out instructions. Within it the buck stops with the manager and technically they therefore assume responsibility for mistakes. However, it also can mean that they take the credit for their team’s successes.

2. Permissive

The permissive style of management is one which has a more democratic incline. Decisions are made within a group context and bosses take more of a backseat. Theoretically, this approach has the advantage of being able to harness individuals’ strengths and allow for discretionary productivity. It should also enable better feedback to decision makers from those carrying out tasks.

Three Permissive Management Approaches:

  1. Laissez-Faire: Staff are left to their own devices by management. Therefore, there is an expectation for staff to find solutions and follow through with processes to accomplish tasks. Some companies find this approach very effective, whereas for others it results in disastrous chaos.
  2. Persuasive: This is a softer version of an autocratic style and sometimes seen to be coercive. Processes are driven by the boss’s ideas with various means of persuasion used to get employees on board.
  3. Democratic: Staff are encouraged to give input into the decision-making processes. This allows for two-way communication and generally creates a better sense of cohesiveness. Usually, to ensure productivity, a manager will make the final decision. Although, the input received from their team has a strong influence on the final decision.

3. Servant

Servant Managers tend towards prioritising their team’s well-being above all else. The idea is to foster a good environment to work in, such that employees feel valued and can grow as individuals. Within this context, the expectation of management is that staff are motivated, dedicated, work hard and perform well. However, the danger is that servant management styles often lead to staff becoming complacent and work not being timeously completed. This is because management has deprioritised performance and usually expectations placed on staff are low. The result of which is compromising the success and viability of the company.

What are examples of Progressive Approaches to Management?

These types of management approaches work within specific contexts. Their success can be quite dependent on the character of the company’s CEO. Additionally, the professionalism and skill levels of individuals within a company, influence the success of these management approaches. Often these types of management approaches work well within the context of start-up companies and newer or rapidly evolving industries.

3 Examples of Progressive Management Approaches

  1. Coaching Approach: Employees are motivated through managers providing professional development opportunities. Managers aim to upskill their team and utilise the strengths of each individual for the purpose of better work performance and attainment of company goals.
  2. Transformative Approach: Managers and their teams are innovative. A link is apparent between the company’s success and remaining ahead of the curve within their industry. Thereby, being able to successfully and quickly adapt to industry changes. Managers can accomplish this through working alongside their team and pushing members to go beyond their comfort zones in order to succeed.
  3. Visionary Approach: Motivation and success of the company is driven by management’s vision. It is contingent on staff understanding it and buying into it. Visionary managers provide continuous feedback to staff on their performance as well as progress of a project. They are also willing to adjust the processes of achieving tasks based on employee’s advice. 

“Management Styles need to vary according to their context to be effective and efficient.”

What Type of Management Style is most Effective?

The most effective style of management is largely contingent on the industry and company context. However, there are styles of management which are apparently universally problematic. As such they are best avoided. For example: Servant management, where worker happiness takes priority over successful productivity. The opposite of this is an Autocratic style which can be equally problematic. It over prioritises productivity in such a way that it severely compromises a worker’s well-being. Both of these styles negatively impact the productivity of staff and threaten the long-term viability of a company.

Thus, the most effective style of management is one which motivates staff and helps them to develop their professional skills. Thereby, assisting to create a happier work environment, which is mindful of employee well-being and their job satisfaction. These factors should balance with safeguarding a company’s long-term viability. Which is, in part, accomplished by management ensuring good employee productivity and enabling the company to adjust successfully to industry changes.

How to be a Good Manager

Once qualified and after finding a job, success in climbing the corporate ladder is often linked to your personal motivation and attitude towards work. Often successful employees are then promoted to be managers. However, if a new manager lacks adequate management training, this new role can be unnecessarily challenging for both the manager and their team. SACAP offers management courses through its Management and Leadership faculty. Enquire today and discuss your options, including part-time and online courses, with an advisor.

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