Simplify and direct your management style with a ‘step-up mindset’

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Type ‘Management Styles’ into Google and you will get over 13 million+ results.

Anyone inspiring to become a manager (or existing managers) may very well be overwhelmed by this figure.

Question: Where do you start when considering your own management style?

Answer: Get the foundations in place. Simplify your management style and find a direction that suits you and your persona.

In order to increase confidence some new managers often get caught up spending a lot of time researching new methodologies, frameworks, tools etc.  The belief being that if they know lots of theories then they will be able to apply themselves better, be able to talk about and categorise work based around a particular label.

The issue is that until you’re in a management role, how do you know what you will be facing? The danger here, is that you may read hundreds of articles on management styles, buy lots of books on leadership, spend a lot of time thinking about your management tasks and how best to address them and not be able to apply these in the real world. All bases covered, tick.

Having to remember hundreds or even thousands of methods, tools and frameworks directs attention away from the job at hand.

Step-up mindset

The step-up mindset entails a change of attitude and behaviour.  A move from a more junior role where you are potentially being told and directed on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, to a role where you have more control over these factors. The step-up mindset prepares you to take on a role whereby you are directing, telling, encouraging and asking amongst other tasks.

In order to deliver on this, there is a requirement for managers to understand some of the methodologies and tools that are out there; these will assist you within role, however, the challenge is finding the ones that do work amongst the lots that don’t.  So, which do you need to know?

Some of the key areas within management are: time management, communication, performance management, task management, reputation and brand management amongst others. New managers would do well to strip the constant stream of methodologies and frameworks that are around and to start focusing their attention where they will gain the best return on investment.  Start with the foundations and build on from there.

Simple foundations

As you take on your new role, take the opportunity to reflect upon your role.

Working with others within your team and your manager, as well as your peers and your customers, understand what are the essential tasks and those that are desirable. Desirable tasks must be carried out as well as the essential; however, it goes without saying that necessities must be carried out before you focus your attentions on the desirable.

Working simply on essentials will not give you or your team the opportunity to learn. And, is often the case the it is the desirables that has the positive impact for your clients and your team. The desirables are generally the tasks that are enjoyed. Remember, there are other implications to your management style other than the tasks that you carry out.

Start the build

Basing your decision to use each style on time and importance; each approach has its own benefits and limitations. Consider the following four simple management techniques:

Asking – low importance and long timescale

This is perfect as a learning opportunity for others. It allows the individual to work with a task that is not crucial and can be worked on at their own pace, however this approach can fall short when the task has a dependency for others.

Directing – high importance and long timescales

When considering the capability and potential of others, this method is ideal. It allows you to manage and assist; ensuring that the task is completed to the correct standard.  The long lead time gives the individual an opportunity to use their own initiative.

Encourage – low importance and short timescale

The process here lends itself to measuring others time management.

By delegating a low priority task with a tight deadline gives others the opportunity to prove or improve their time management skills. 

Telling – high importance and short timescale

This particular management style must be used with caution. A manager who continuously uses this tactic could potentially be seen as someone who is not managing their team or their time correctly.

However, there are always occasions when you will have to tell others. Often this will be when there is new legislation, or processes that must come into play with immediate effect.

Being flexible with your management styles is important; applying different management styles as and when needed. A ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work; find the best method for you and your team.

About Margo Manning

Margo Manning

Margo Manning, author of A Step-Up Mindset For New Managers (£14.99 Panoma Press) previously worked in the development arena for over 25 years.

In the last 15 years, Margo has been delivering talks as one of the UK’s top Leadership and Management Coaches and Facilitators. Margo is the architect of the 3:2 Management Model and subsequent 3:2 Management Development Programme that is delivered and adopted within many businesses, large and small, nationally and internationally.

She has worked, and continues to work, with new managers through to senior managers in companies such as Goldman Sachs, Hobart Lovells, Brunswick Group, Tower Hamlets Homes, Aon, Balfour Beatty, Kantar and many more.

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