What does your management style say about you?


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Healthy, effective and inclusive management is an integral part of the growth of a business or a firm. We no longer live in a world defined by autocracy and power concentrated in a singe hand. Therefore, management styles have come to evolve and become more democratic and less hierarchical through the times. However, we rarely see a manager purely functioning on any one of the management styles. Instead, what we see is a system of management that is essentially a hybrid of four broad management styles:

Autocratic style of management:This is probably the oldest and the most authoritative styles of management. In this, the managers do not consult anyone in decision-making and are dictatorial in their approach towards dealing with the employees. There is an extreme lack of trust and confidence in this approach and managers tend to micromanage everything to the last-minute detail. 

Paternalistic style of management: This is an evolved version of the autocratic style where the interest of the employee is brought into consideration in decision-making. The manager assumes the role of a mentor and considers the team as a family that he is overlooking. They expect trust and dedication from the team in return for their paternalistic or “fatherly” presence in the team. Here as well, there is very minimal contribution by the team in important decisions.

Democratic style of management:As the democratic principles suggest, this style of management works on power sharing and collaboration. Every member of the team is an active participant in decision making and their feedbacks are valuable to the firm. There is a healthy and two-way communication between the manager and the team and they are answerable to the team. 

Liassez faire style of management:This is the most recent and liberal form of working style where the employees are given a great extent of autonomy in their work. Managers are there to overlook things but they have minimal powers vis-a-viz directing the team on what to do or how to do them. The motivation to work and perform well does not come from having to report to a manager or reach a deadline but to simply grow in the organisation. When imposed in the right environment, this management style encourages trust, space and autonomy in decision-making, problem-solving and work.

Here are a few markers based on which you can understand your own management style:

  1. Trust on employees
  2. Believing in their merit and willingness to work
  3. Approach towards failures or setbacks
  4. Willingness to take feedback and collaboration

The need for change:

If you seem to be leaning towards the authoritarian or paternalistic management styles, maybe it is time to redo some of your approaches. Recall a boss you did not like working under. Try not becoming the boss you disliked. Democratise your office space, give everyone the agency to make decisions and commit mistakes. Find ways to collectivise the team, increase team efforts and induce motivation other than the fear of losing one’s job. Traditional set-ups no longer ensure the best out the talent at your hand and with the changing world, the office cultures have made huge progress. You might not realise the ways in which you might have inherited autocratic traditions of the companies you have worked at and the managers you have worked under.

Unlearning is the first step towards change. Unlearn habits that your colleagues no longer need. Say yes to a healthy work environment!

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