What management style do you use? Pace-Setting (Part 4)

Having a management style is an inherent part of being a leader, knowing what your style is and how to use it for the benefit of your team makes you a better leader. When you can recognise what style you gravitate to naturally and how and when to shift gears to another style, it will help your team to be more productive, boost workplace morale and improve staff retention rates. This seven-part series is a look at some of the styles of management common in workplaces, how they can be best used and when, and how employees respond in general to each of the styles of management.



  • Lead by example
  • Task-driven
  • Best used to motivate employees to achieve high standards

This style is as it sounds; a set of tasks to be achieved in a set time frame to a high level of excellence. The manager sets the pace and the employees follow. This style is a lead by example system, whereby a manager will perform a task to show employees how it should be done, then leaves the employees to follow. The style relies on employees to be self-directed. If an employee cannot complete a task or is not able to keep the pace, the task is assigned to someone else.

This style enables employees to be motivated by example. They are given the space to perform tasks and have the example of the manager to follow. It allows for employees to have a degree of autonomy and develop their skills to a high level.

Of course, a pace-setting manager needs to be highly competent. They need to be able to understand that setting a pace needs to take into account the various skill levels of employees and have an understanding that this style is not people-focused, but task-focused, so employees at times might feel they are falling behind or unable to acquire the skills to complete a task fast enough and they fear losing ownership of their task if they ask for guidance. A manager might also feel pressured by this style and face burn out if the pace is too fast.

This style does not work if the development or mentoring of employees is required, or if there is a heavy workload that requires much consultation between management and employees.

Pace-setting is an effective style of management for a team of highly competent employees or experts in their field. People who do not need a mentor for their work, but who need to understand the timeframe of the work. If the manager is credible, this style works effectively in situations where a manager only needs to show employees the basics and leave employees to complete their work. This works well if the tasks require little direction and coordination.

In our next blog, we discuss the Affiliative style of leadership, when this can empower employees and how it can harmonise your workplace.