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5 Management Styles in the Workplace

Apr 16, 2018

The way a person is managed can shape the way they work.

At the same time, knowing how to effectively communicate with your manager - by understanding their management style - can bring out the best in you.

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Here, Communicate Better delves into the world of management...

Autocratic

Such managers make decisions on their own, with very little input from anyone else. Autocratic managers don't ask for your opinion - they deliver it.

Advantages: Ideal for people who want to work with clear direction, and in situations where a decision needs to be made quickly.

Disadvantages: Will depend on who’s in charge. Can be demoralising, discourage open communication and stifle creativity. Modern workers tend not to react well to autocratic leaders.

How to handle it:

  • Never challenge an autocratic manager directly
  • Avoid springing any surprises
  • If there's an issue, feed information to them bit-by-bit

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Democratic

This is a leader who is willing to listen and actually wants to know your thoughts.

Under democratic management, everyone has the opportunity to give ideas and any decision relies on the majority vote.

Advantages: Encourages creativity, communication and collaboration. Gives a sense of autonomy to employees, and often leads to greater job satisfaction.

Disadvantages: Can take a long time for the team to make decisions, and sometimes leads to uncertainty. As there is no clear leader, can end up with too many opinions i.e. ‘too many stakeholders spoil the broth’ (or something along these lines which makes more sense).

How to handle it: 

  • Never be afraid to speak up
  • Be open with your democratic manager - they really care

 

Laissez-Faire

Laissez-Faire literally translates as ‘let them do’ and, essentially, that’s what these managers do.

Such a leader prefers to wait and see what happens rather than make any actual decisions.

Advantages: Great for people who work better under their own direction. This can work out well if that person has greater expertise in a certain area than their manager.

Disadvantages: Not ideal for those who look for more guidance when completing tasks and meeting deadlines.

How to handle it: 

  • Embrace the responsibility and trust placed in you
  • Be confident in your own abilities and decisions

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Transactional

Think a stressed parent with an unpredictable child... sure you'll get a reward... but only for good behaviour.

Advantages: Clear and easy to follow. Can be a powerful motivator, especially if employees are goal-orientated. Staff are always aware of the benefits of doing a good job.

Disadvantages: Goals can be set too high or may be unrealistic, leading to greater pressure, demotivation and a bad working environment. Can also be detrimental to the team dynamic, as everyone is looking out for their own interests.

How to handle it: 

  • Complete a task and collect your reward
  • If goals are set too high, speak up

 

Transformational

Such leaders recognise change to be important. They almost manage their team like a puppet master. They understand everyone's strengths, as well as how to get the best out of every staff member.

Advantages: Offer positive reinforcement and encourage personal growth. Work especially well in companies with low morale amongst employees, and can help create the vision that inspires change.

Disadvantages: Often blinded by passion and instinct, with ideas a long way away from reality. May also over-reward people based on charisma, rather than hard work.

How to handle it:

  • Advice from a transformational manager is like gold, so take it - they want to bring out the best in you
  • Work together - you most likely share the same vision

 

Do you recgonise a management style from the above? And which leader are you? Drop us your thoughts over on Twitter (@CommBetter)...

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