What management style do you use? An Introduction to Management and Leadership (Part 1)

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.

A combination of one or more of these styles is your likely default setting, but analysing which style you use most often and understanding how that might be motivating or demotivating for your employees can help you retain great employees, and create a workplace that meets with the standards of excellence that you require for a successful business.

While ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ are distinctive and different terms, the two terms work in tandem. One way to approach the terminology is to understand that a manager oversees tasks, while a leader directs people. Managers have people working for them; leaders have people following them. A manager guides the day-to-day organisation and administration of tasks, while a leader guides people to understand an overall vision.

In his book ‘On Becoming a Leader’, Warren Bennis defines the differences between managers and leaders as follows:

  • A manager focuses on systems and structures, while a leader focuses on people.
  • A manager administers, while a leader innovates.
  • A manager relies on control, while a leader inspires trust.
  • A manager administers, while a leader innovates.
  • A manager generally looks at things in the short term, while a leader thinks long term.

When you search ‘management styles’ a plethora of terms and concepts will be thrown at you. This is because there really are so many styles and it is hard to put people into clearly defined boxes. Most leaders have more than one approach and great leaders know which style to use and when.

The following blogs explore six of the most common styles. They all have positive and negative aspects. What is important is knowing which style will work for the structure of your business and how to use different approaches in different situations to guide your team towards their goals, be it as a manager, a leader or both.

In our next blog, we discuss the Autocratic style of leadership, when this can be harmful and when this can be useful for your business.