Leona Barr-Jones looks at how a manager’s style can create a positive impact on performance, productivity and profits.
Once your business starts to grow, you take the big step of taking on staff and putting processes and procedures in place in order to keep your business on track. It is at this point that strong management is critical if you want to continue to drive your business forward with its business growth and move to the next level.
Businesses work best when staff are well managed, understand their role in the business and feel motivated.
An employee’s investment in the company can be influenced heavily by how they are managed. Over the years, research has shown that by using the most effective management style for a particular situation or climate, employee morale and performance can be improved. This theory is based on work conducted at Harvard University by psychologists Litwin and Stringer. They identified six management styles.
Six management styles
- Coercive: emphasis on immediate compliance from employees. This type of leader rules by fear and doesn’t brook any argument. This type of leader can thrive in a business which is in crisis but it is not a recommended long-term management strategy.
- Authoritative: emphasis on providing long term vision and leadership. This type of management style belongs to the best leaders – look at Richard Branson or Steve Jobs. This style of management can be very effective and staff can easily be persuaded to buy into the vision if the long-term path is clear and the team understands where the business is going.
- Affiliative: emphasis on creating harmony. Managers who practise this style give positive feedback to their staff and engender an atmosphere of loyalty and trust. This style can work well particularly to boost staff morale but it has its downsides in that poor performance is sometimes tolerated.
- Democratic: emphasis on group consensus and generating new ideas. This management style works well when there is a team of high performing staff with good ideas. However, this style does not work well when quick decisions need to made in times of crisis so it is critical that it is used as a long-term strategy.
- Pacesetting: emphasis on accomplishing tasks to high standards. Although the quality of the work will be high, this style of management can cause morale issues with staff because they are often made to feel that they are not living up to expectations. The pacesetter will also find it hard to trust their staff unless they are highly competent.
- Coaching: emphasis on professional growth of employees. This style of management is popular in companies with young teams of staff who want to learn. It can work well particularly in long-term strategic planning.
Most managers probably draw on all six of these managerial styles in their day-to-day interactions with employees but by training managers to understand these management styles and adapting their behaviour in particular situations, they can become far more effective in dealing with their teams.
For an HR team, training in managerial styles is especially effective when used in organisational improvement programmes, management development and coaching workshops, and 'train the trainer' programmes. A manager’s behaviour is such a key part of a successful business growth and employee motivation, so it is essential that the manager understands the relationship between his/her style and the work environment.
A successful business means working well with staff, motivating and incentivising them and ensuring that they buy-in to your plans. As a team you can help to move your business forward. Forces outside your control can push your plans off course.
If this happens, work with your team to remain flexible and adjust plans if you need to. Business success is just around the corner if you keep your eyes on the end result, create a good management environment and work together to achieve those shared goals.
Leona Barr-Jones is formerly Managing Director of Barr-Jones Associates and now Operations Director of Focus7 International Ltd, working with fast-growing businesses, providing leadership and business advice as they move forward. For more information, contact Leona Barr-Jones at Focus7 International at [email protected] or visit www.focus7international.com