Management styles are characteristic ways of making decisions and relating to subordinates.This idea was further developed by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt (1958, 1973), who argued that the style of leadership is dependent upon the prevailing circumstance; therefore leaders should exercise a range of management styles and should deploy them as appropriate.
An Autocratic style means that the manager makes decisions unilaterally, and without much regard for subordinates. As a result, decisions will reflect the opinions and personality of the manager; this in turn can project an image of a confident, well managed business. On the other hand, subordinates may become overly dependent upon the leaders and more supervision may be needed.
There are two types of autocratic leaders:
- the Directive Autocrat makes decisions unilaterally and closely supervises subordinates;
- the Permissive Autocrat makes decisions unilaterally, but gives subordinates latitude in carrying out their work
A more Paternalistic form is also essentially dictatorial; however, decisions take into account the best interests of the employees as well as the business. Communication is again generally downward, but feedback to the management is encouraged to maintain morale. This style can be highly advantageous when it engenders loyalty from the employees, leading to a lower labor turnover, thanks to the emphasis on social needs. On the other hand for an autocratic management style the lack of worker motivation can be typical if no loyal connection is established between the manager and the people who are managed. It shares disadvantages with an autocratic style, such as employees becoming dependent on the leader.
In a Democratic style, the manager allows the employees to take part in decision-making: therefore everything is agreed upon by the majority. The communication is extensive in both directions (from employees to leaders and vice-versa). This style can be particularly useful when complex decisions need to be made that require a range of specialist skills: for example, when a new ICT system needs to be put in place, and the upper management of the business is computer-illiterate. From the overall business's point of view, job satisfaction and quality of work will improve. However, the decision-making process is severely slowed down, and the need of a consensus may avoid taking the 'best' decision for the business. It can go against a better choice of action.
As the autocratic leaders, democratic leaders are also two types i.e. permissive and directive.
In a Laissez-faire leadership style, the leader's role is peripheral and staff manage their own areas of the business; the leader therefore evades the duties of management and uncoordinated delegation occurs. The communication in this style is horizontal, meaning that it is equal in both directions, however very little communication occurs in comparison with other styles. The style brings out the best in highly professional and creative groups of employees, however in many cases it is not deliberate and is simply a result of poor management. This leads to a lack of staff focus and sense of direction, which in turn leads to much dissatisfaction, and a poor company image.
Management by Walking Around (MBWA) is a classic technique used by managers who are proactive listeners. Managers using this style gather as much information as possible so that a challenging situation doesn't turn into a bigger problem. Listening carefully to employees' suggestions and concerns will help evade potential crises. MBWA benefits managers by providing unfiltered, real-time information about processes and policies that is often left out of formal communication channels. By walking around, management gets an idea of the level of morale in the organization and can offer help if there is trouble.
A potential concern of MBWA is that the manager will second-guess employees' decisions. The manager must maintain his or her role as coach and counselor, not director. By leaving decision-making responsibilities with the employees, managers can be assured of the fastest possible response time.
One downside is that MBWA poses the threat of the manager losing authority as the employees feel that they can run the business.
- Administrative incompetence
- Management science
- Management system
- Management by objectives
- Management by observation
- Seagull manager, management style
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