Know Thyself: Management Styles

Written By Steve Watson


Employee Engagement

One of the defining qualities of good managers is that they have more than professional knowledge. They have self-knowledge—in other words, they can look inward to examine their own strengths and weaknesses and they are also willing and happy to listen to outside input on how they can grow and change.

One of the most important things you can do for your employees, as a manager, is to know yourself.  Your management style has the power to help or hurt the professional development of those working for and around you.  Additionally, before you can begin the path to a lasting change, you have to understand your baseline.

Four of the most common styles managers fall into:

1.  Autocratic- This style is defined by the leader who maintains total control.  He or she takes little or no input from subordinates and makes all decisions unilaterally which often leads to disengagement of subordinates.

2.  Bureaucratic- Bureaucratic leadership is “living by the book”.  Policies, rules, and regulations are taken very seriously and are seldom, if ever, neglected.  Issues regarding safety policy and government regulation would be instances in which a bureaucratic style should be enacted.

3.  Democratic- This style of leadership allows team members to let their opinions be known.   They are openly involved in the decision making process.  This leads to more involved employees that are more satisfied and motivated to perform their jobs.  This can be a time consuming process, but it will likely yield quality results.

4.  Laissez Fair- This “hands off” style of management is valuable when team members are skilled and self driven.  This allows for creativity and innovation to flow freely.  Regular communication is essential though to ensure the job is getting done up to par.

Be aware that an adjustment of your style may be necessary depending on the situation.   Here are a few excellent resources on management styles:

Steps to Changing Your Management Style

Modern Leadership Styles