What kind of manager are you?
There are so many different management styles, and there is no one and only ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ one, however some prove to be less effective than others.
Typical extreme styles are:
- The ‘micromanager’ or ‘pace setter’ and ‘do as I do now’: usually this type of manager ‘manages the process’, giving all the instructions and all the steps for his team to achieve the end result. This style is typical in people who do not like to lose control or delegate, and feel they need to be on track of everything. The risk here is that the team members will feel like they have no freedom and no added contribution to the process, which can be extremely frustrating. Managers who have not made the transition between ‘doing it’ themselves and ‘having it done’ by others, have to be willing to accept to distance themselves from their original technical skills.
- The ‘result oriented manager’ or ‘authoritative’ and ‘come with me’ tells the team member what needs to be done, but allows them to complete the process, as long as the deadline is met. This gives more freedom and allows creativity, so the team will generally feel that they had some added value in the process (and not just merely carrying out the task).
- The ‘autocratic manager’ or ‘coercive’ and ‘do what I tell you’ makes decisions unilaterally, and without much regard for subordinates, which will result in a loss of motivation within the team and usually a high turnover rate. It can be extremely pertinent when tough decisions have to be made, i.e. putting a declining business back on track.
- The ‘democratic manager’ and ‘what do you think?’ encourages team members to participate in the decision‐making process, which is beneficial as it exploits skills not held by the manager and builds the commitment of team members. However, there is an obvious time cost to this approach, so it is not appropriate when quick decision-making is required.
- The ‘handsoff manager’ or ‘affiliative’ and ‘people come first’ places a great deal of authority in team members to understand and deliver on objectives. However the risk lies in the potential misunderstanding of what the team is working towards, and consequent underperformance.
Depending on the situation of the business, every style can have its own merits, so a good manager should master several of them. With the emergence of coaching in the workplace, it is beneficial to combine a hands‐off management style with one that employs a coaching approach in which the manager acts as the agent, helping team members to achieve bigger and better things. Applying coaching to a management style requires shifting from a ‘telling them what to do’ approach to ‘asking them what they are going to do”. Rather than interjecting and solving the issues, a coaching manager would look to provide support, challenge, feedback and guidance. And developing this coaching style, as a manager, is inspiring to those who are on the receiving end.
One of the first benefits of getting people to think and decide for themselves is that when people work things out for themselves, they are more engaged in the solution, feel more responsible for the outcome and more committed to making it work and not fail, overcoming potential barriers and in consequence gaining a sense of empowerment and pride of its success, which will lead to an increase in their confidence.
Do you have what it takes?
The role of a ‘Super Manager’ is actually to get things done through other people. This is done by communicating the end result and, in turn, empowering the team members to achieve it. Coaching is crucial here as it is all about bringing empowerment, allowing your team members to achieve the result, remaining available for them should there be any obstacles or ideas they need to discuss.
To develop yourself into becoming a ‘Super Manager’, you have to start by knowing what kind of manager you are or you’d like to be. A question you should ask yourself is “what value do I add as a manager?”
Understanding your natural and typical tendencies – and having this self‐awareness ‐ is essential before deciding if you want to change them. As with almost everything in life, we have a choice to change. Being a manager doesn’t mean you have all the answers or the final word. Sometimes more value can be added to a team by encouraging them to find answers on their own.
A manager who uses coaching skills places value on people’s ability to think for themselves, making sure that they have what they need to succeed. This kind of manager believes that their value is to develop their team, offering feedback and challenge, rather than advice and ideas.
As a ‘Super Manager’ you need to be fully aware that:
- Building rapport is essential when you are encouraging people to think for themselves, as an environment of openness and trust helps people express themselves.
- Practice focused listening, meaning attention focused on the other person, but clearing your assumptions about the other person, letting your beliefs aside. Being fully present, rather than being in your own mind with your own thoughts and ideas.
- Treating each person as an individual is key. Challenging and motivating team is not a ‘one size fits all’. Team members are challenged in different ways.
We are all different. A good manager will recognise these differences and treat each person as an individual
Mary Kay Ash, founder Mary Kay Cosmetics
- Give constructive feedback, with a positive intention, be objective, focused on behaviour, not personality. When you take a customised approach with each of your team members, taking into account that each of them has different abilities, strengths, needs and preferences, your job is to manage them in a way that maximizes their performance. And that is what coaching is all about.