How to Use Different Management Styles in the Workplace

Managers play a critical role in the success and wellbeing of employees and ultimately in the strength of a company. No matter how skilled the employees are, they still need good managers to direct and mentor them.

Good management requires skill and talent. A big part of honing those qualities is discovering the different management styles and learning to use them at the correct times. Of course, everyone will have a method of management that reflects their own personality. But if you can learn to use a varied approach for different employees and situations, you will be far more successful. A great manager will be able to shift between styles, even combining them if necessary.


Participatory Management

This style is also known as employee involvement. It involves the employees in the discussion and decision-making process. The employees help to analyse problems, develop effective strategies for solving them and assist with the implementation of these strategies. In practice, the employees can set goals and work out schedules, for instance. The employees are given more responsibility. One way of doing this is to form self-managed teams or committees.


Participatory management is more complicated than merely letting employees take part in the decision-making process. It also means that management considers and respects the suggestions that the employees put forward and treats them as valuable feedback. This form of management can be used in varying degrees. The most wide-ranging degree is perhaps employee ownership of the business.


The advantages of this management style are numerous. Employees develop a sense of responsibility for the company which in turn gives them a sense of pride and ownership. It increases productivity as workers strive to achieve the goals that they themselves have set. It nurtures team spirit and improves self-esteem among the employees. Plus, employees become more receptive to change where they feel that they have had a say in the process.


Participatory management also leads to improved communication. Employees are more aware of upcoming events and changes. Management can hear about areas of concern and unhappiness among employees. The employees themselves can then be held accountable for finding solutions.


This management style allows for, and indeed encourages more creativity and innovation. Because more people’s opinions and expertise are involved, there is a greater chance that unique ideas and solutions can be found. Individuals’ ideas and skills are pieced together, resulting in a unique and truly successful big picture.


Participatory management should be used with employees who have a good understanding of the business’s goals. For instance, perhaps your business values great customer service. The employees are the ones who deal with customers the most, so they will probably have a good idea of how to improve service.


Despite all the advantages, this style of management cannot be used exclusively. There will be times when management will need to be decisive and to take responsibility for the decisions. For instance, when disciplinary action is necessary.


Network Management

This style of management emphasises working in teams with strong lines of communication among them. Management assists teams to build strong connections and then collaborate to get work done.


Management, in this case, is fairly disengaged because team members engage first with one another to get approval and input. The managers’ role is to maintain the links among employees so that they can work well together. Practically speaking, this might entail scheduling team meetings or setting up communication methods.


Network management is great for high-level managers who oversee multiple teams. The essence of network management is to make sure that the correct information is distributed among the team members and that channels of communication remain open.


Mentor Management

This is quite an intensive management style, requiring a lot of input from the manager. It is a means of developing individual employees, training them to be more independent and growing their particular set of skills. As a type of coach, the manager sets up regular feedback sessions with the employee to set goals, teach, and check progress.


This management style is particularly suited to anyone who has been an expert in their field and now occupies a leadership role. In effect, you’re passing on the baton and helping certain employees to master their craft. Mentor management is beneficial to use with employees whose performance has declined. The danger is that the rest of the team can be neglected.


Pacesetting Management

Management determines the pace of work and sets deadlines. However, you do not direct the way in which the work is done. In other words, you’re directive about completion dates but hands-off about methods and execution. The team is trusted to know how their project should be completed.


This management method is useful for teams with an abundance of self-motivation, and perform best when left to themselves. They just need a little pacesetting to provide structure. It’s important to still keep an eye on things, though, so that if things begin to go wrong, you are available to intervene quickly.


Authoritative Management

This old-school management method is frowned upon in modern times and has mostly been replaced by a non-hierarchical approach. It involves the management dictating precisely what happens, who does what, and when it needs to be done. Employees are not invited or expected to give their input.


The main time to use an authoritative management syle is when the business is going through a crisis. When everything is uncertain and insecure, people appreciate decisive, strong leadership. As a manager, you take on the burden for your team and pull everyone together. It will only work if you’ve already built up trust with your employees. They need to know that you care about their best interests.


In Conclusion

The first four styles can be used on a day to day basis. This will ensure that you build a strong foundation of trust with your team.  An authoritative management style should be used only when strictly necessary, and for a short period of time, or you risk undermining the connection you have with your team.

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