Management is the process of getting people to work together to accomplish a desired goal or objective using available resources efficiently and effectively. How the desired goal or objective is achieved is left up to the managers within an organization. A leader's management style can impact how productive employees are. Management styles have been categorized in numerous ways; but no matter the approach, the focus is on either the project or the people.
Management styles that tend to place more emphasis on a project's goals or objectives than the team are:
- Transactional managers clearly define the tasks and expectations in an if/then proposition. If employees do "x", then I will do "y". Transactional environments may stifle creativity and innovation because everything is pre-determined.
- Autocratic managers make decisions quickly, often without employee input. The project remains on target, but the employees can feel ignored, restricted, or abused.
- Bureaucratic leaders provide a systematic approach to leadership, where processes remain constant even when people or projects change. This management style can lead to the "change is bad" mentality, which leaves little room for creativity or innovation.
Several management styles focus on motivating or empowering employees to achieve the stated goal or objective. These include:
- Transformational leaders create a high level of trust with their employees and can drive them towards a goal. Their desire for change can disrupt operations and make some employees uncomfortable.
- Democratic managers encourage creativity and innovation, but trying to achieve a group consensus before moving forward can be inefficient and costly.
- Servant leaders boost morale, generate a high level of trust, and create a positive environment for employee growth. The challenge to a servant leader is the emotional and psychological toll it can take when always putting others first.
- Charismatic managers inspire their employees and can get them invested in a common goal. Sometimes charismatic leaders are so focused on the vision they forget about the critical steps to get there, leaving the team without direction.
- Laissez-Faire leaders are hands-off. They give their employees the independence to get the job done, which works if the employees are organized and self-directed. If not, chaos results and the objective is not met.
You aren't stuck with a particular management style and you may need to adapt your style to the circumstances. This situational adaptation or situational leadership is highly flexible and suggests that leaders can change their approach as needed. Acquiring management skills is a learning process, so don't be afraid to try.
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