There’s been lots of research around this topic of management methods, and one such study, conducted by management consultant firm Hay/McBer, found there are six basic leadership styles used in business. Here are their brief summaries (for more in-depth information on each style, read this article):
- Directive: manager makes all the decisions and maintains close control over employees.
- Authoritative: manager has the main objective of developing long-term vision for the team and motivates through feedback.
- Affiliate: manager has the main objective of keeping peace between employees and management, and is usually paired with another method of management.
- Participative: manager focuses on building commitment and encourages team input.
- Pacesetting: manager expects employees to perform at his/her level and motivates by setting high standards.
- Coaching: manager focuses on the professional development of employees and motivates by creating opportunities for growth.
After reading those brief summaries, what kind of boss do you think you are? Or what kind of boss do you think you work for? The answer is probably a lot more complicated than one simple answer. That’s because every team is diverse in their own way, and it takes more than one approach to get effective results.
So here are 5 general tips to keep in mind when managing a team of people.
1) Get to know your team on a personal level, but don’t try to be too ‘buddy-buddy.’ You don’t need to know too much about their personal lives, but showing interest in and remembering important life events will help develop a stronger, healthier bond between management and employees.
2) Provide clear direction. What makes perfect sense to you may not be the case for someone else, so when delegating tasks or providing instructions on projects you need to make sure that you are being understood. You also need to find that balance between leading and micromanaging.
3) Make everyone accountable. This goes hand in hand with providing clear direction. You need to make sure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are, so if you encounter any problems along the way, you won’t have to play endless rounds of ‘Pass the Blame.’ This will help keep business running smoothly.
4) Acknowledge and reward good work. It’s easy to pay less attention to high-performing employees, as you are confident of their abilities so you trust them to get the job done on their own. However, you need to reinforce and support their talents. If an employee feels that their skills are going unnoticed or unappreciated, they may start looking for a different job. Find out how you can support their professional development and make sure they are satisfied.
5) Set the example. A manager needs to be a solid role model for their team to look up to. How you behave will help dictate how the rest of your team acts, so think about the image you want to portray. If you take personal calls on work time, then prepared for your employees to do the same. You don’t want to abide by the mantra: ‘do what I say, not what I do.’ No one likes it.
No matter where you work or what your job title is, you may find yourself managing a team. You’ll need to draw from a variety of techniques to create a well-oiled machine, and you’ll need to avoid common management pitfalls. You’ll need to be some kind of blend of good listener, supportive friend, focused mentor and firm disciplinarian. It’s not easy to keep many differing personalities and working styles in harmony, but following these tips and experience will help shape you into the kind of leader you need to be.
About the Author
Gemma Falconer is a member of the Demand Generation team at Citrix and GoToMeeting, a cloud computing company that enables mobile workstyles. She has been using collaboration tools/video conferencing/online meetings for the past 6 years and splits her working time between the office and home. Having experienced the flexibility and various advantages of using such technology, Gemma would love for employers to seriously consider offering collaboration tools and flexible working for their employees so they too can truly benefit. Gemma is a mother, keen volleyball player and writer. Find her on Twitter on LinkedIn.’