Management Styles and Approaches

Management Styles

There are many different styles of management which you can use to direct and inspire your staff members. The traditional authoritarian style of management is being replaced by innovative new styles. We shall discuss the advantages of these new styles, such as their ability to boost productivity and maximize profits. The style you choose and the resulting managerial climate will have a profound effect on your organization. For this reason, it is important to determine which style or combination of styles will compliment your company structure.

As a manager/business owner, the message you send to employees determines the manner in which you and the company are perceived and the extent to which tasks are completed. This being the case, take caution when selecting the management style that will be used to direct operations and manage employees. Your chosen style also has an effect on the resulting managerial climate, which is basically your attitude and approach to working with others in the company. Let's look at some of the different styles of management, and their effectiveness with respect to staff and production.


The Controlling Style, often referred to as the Authoritarian Style of Management, is utilized to enforce rules, instill fear, meet deadlines and demand results from employees. The main interests of a controlling manager are production and the bottom line. He has little or no concern for employees, other than their usefulness to obtain goals. The authoritarian style of management is used very effectively by the military, which dictates commands, won't take "no" for an answer, doesn't sympathize with its soldiers, and has no tolerance for insubordination. Although business at times, has been equated to a battle ground, it is not the military. Most people are no longer willing to have orders dictated to them. Use of this style will generally result is short term cooperation. Employees need to be treated with dignity and respect, if you want to generate a loyal, productive staff.


A manager using this style of leadership will be an understanding leader. He will listen to employee concerns and help them deal with their problems, whenever possible. For example, instead of reprimanding an employee whose productivity level is down, a supportive manager would be sympathetic to the employee's problem and offer assistance. Often, this type of manager is afraid to be firm, because it may jeopardize his relationship with employees. The down side to this approach is that production levels generally suffer, and it encourages employees to take advantage of their manager. Employees, however, have to be able to rely on their manager for guidance and direction, if they are to carry out assignments efficiently.

A good management style involves a balanced combination of control, to meet production goals, and support, to satisfy the needs of employees. It also involves giving employees the freedom do their jobs; providing supervision and direction when needed. The right combination, allows the members of your company to achieve greater independence and a sense of pride in their work. This combination, which allows for long term success, can be found in the leadership style of management.


During the restructuring of organizations, middle management is either being eliminated or replaced. Many companies are implementing a team oriented style of management, which places more authority and responsibility in the hands of the employees. Managers are transforming into leaders, enabling them to properly guide these emerging teams. They realize the importance of maintaining a balance between production and staff relations. A good leader works with employees, to remain both visible and accessible. A manager who assumes the role of leader tries to succeed by inspiring employees to maximize their full potential to achieve company objectives. The leader provides the vision and positive outlook, while encouraging employees to help develop the means for realizing that vision. Good leaders achieve goals by allowing employees at all levels to participate in the vision reaching process. Inviting employees to participate in this process, not only increases efficiency in achieving corporate goals, but it improves company moral at the same time. Generally employees support decisions and work harder to achieve goals if they have played an active role in their creation.

Modifications can be made to the leadership style to accommodate one of the four stages in an employee's development. A leader will choose one of the following approaches, based upon the comprehension and ability level of the employees.

1.   Experienced employees who require only a delegation style of leadership
These employees have the ability and experience to perform their job requirements adequately, with little or no supervision. As a leader, you need only delegate the functions of performing the job, then allow the employee the independence to function properly. For example, a carpenter with 10 years experience should be able to carry out tasks with maximum efficiency, provided he is still motivated by the job, is operating at full potential, and the processes do not change regularly. In this case, you would simply delegate a task, such as shingling a roof, and the carpenter is able to work with little or no supervision to complete the job.

2.   Employees who have the ability to complete the task but still need leadership support
In contrast to delegation, these employees have demonstrated the ability to complete required tasks, but lack the confidence to perform sufficiently, 100% of the time. It is important for leaders to support the initiatives of these employees until they gain the confidence to work adequately with little supervision. A carpenter's apprentice has both the training and ability to shingle a roof, but may have little confidence due to his lack of experience. The seasoned carpenter can boost the apprentice's confidence by making positive comments about his workmanship, and providing helpful hints occasionally.

3.   Employees who are still learning, need to be coached by a leader
These employees are in the learning stages of their job. Even though they have been taught how to perform their tasks, they still need support to carry out and complete required tasks. At this point, a good leader will repeat the process with them, until each employee feels confident performing with little assistance. The leader will coach as needed. For instance, a laborer may know how to shingle a flat roof, but will need guidance to shingle the peaks and valleys. The supervisor should review the methods used to do the peaks and valleys, so that the laborer is sure of what needs to be done.

4.   New employees who need to be directed by a leader
New employees will require training, direction and full leadership. The leader must thoroughly explain each task, along with the process needed to complete each required task. To ensure your employees have a full understanding of their tasks, you should take them through the entire learning process several times. Not only do carpentry students need to be taught how to shingle a roof, they must be trained to safely use the equipment. The students will have a better chance of learning, if the teacher repeats the process several times with them, both in class and at the work site.


Management by walking around
Management by walking around is an approach which can be incorporated into your leadership style. Being visible to the members of the company can be effective in shaping how the company is viewed. Many companies have successfully used this approach to address employee ideas and concerns, while instilling unity among its members. For instance, Sam Walton, of the famous Wal-mart chain, frequently walked around his department stores. He would speak to his employees, or in his words "his associates", to seek out their opinions. This practice seemed to work well in developing Wal-Mart's weak areas.

Using this approach, allows the manager/entrepreneur to get a better feel for how the employees are responding to corporate strategies and can therefore change them accordingly. As a manager, if you spend too much time in your office, you may become disassociated from your company and employees, and/or lose sight of improvements that could be initiated to the advantage of the company.

The leadership style of management can have many positive effects on your employees and your company. These may include; increased confidence levels, volunteering to accept more responsibility, improved standards, innovative problem solving, competitive new products, and a positive work atmosphere, which all contribute to profit maximization.

The management style or combination of styles you choose can have a great impact on your business. The appropriate choice should compliment your structure, adding strength to your organization.

Categories: Management