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How Do Different Management Styles Impact Teamwork?

Do you think your management style impacts the type of teamwork your group experiences? Spoiler alert - it does.

Just as with everything in life, management – like jeans and bathing suits, for example – is a one-size-fits-all silver-bullet kind of deal.

Right? Wrong.

Unsurprisingly, each management style impacts employees differently, so it becomes a matter of finding the right management style that will best suit the personalities, needs and preferences of the team.

Now, not everyone will respond well to one management style that works best for different employees, different situations, building teams and getting results. So here, we take a closer look at eight of the most common management styles in order to determine the results you can expect from each style.

1. Management Type: Autocratic or Authoritative

An autocratic or authoritarian manager asserts, well, authority and makes all decisions of any significance, while implementing policies, procedures, and guidelines. This particular management style is best associated with the military.

Impact: This particular approach can be effective with employees who prefer guidance and supervision, but creative and autonomous individuals may become disengaged. Further, this approach can quickly deplete employee morale and motivation.

Works Best: This management style works best in environments that deal with emergencies or equipment failures, such as hospital emergency rooms or power plant facilities where an authoritarian style can help ensure safety.

2. Management Type: Participative or Democratic

One of the most effective management styles for team-building, leaders who favor a participative or democratic style involve employees in the decision-making process, tends to delegate more willingly, and gives everyone a role within the department.

Impact: This approach fosters a greater two-way dialogue. This receptiveness to input makes employees feel involved and part of the greater organizational goals and encourages the sharing of ideas, conflict resolution, and collaboration.

Works Best: Participative or democratic management is a great fit for team-oriented work cultures. Autonomous employees and those who seek active roles in the decisions that affect their work can thrive with this management style.

3. Management Type: Situational

This management style is essentially a hybrid of authoritative and participative leadership styles. Part of a group of theories known as contingency theories of leadership, situational management establishes a leader's effectiveness contingent on his or her ability to modify their management behavior to the employees’ level of maturity or sophistication.

Impact: By evaluating their team or organization by asking about a current situation or circumstance, the situational leader can successfully lead their team based on the understanding that derived the answers to their questions. It is adaptive, reactive and responsive.

Works Best: Small-business managers can benefit from situational leadership in order to handle different tasks. For example, if a quick turnaround is needed on a particular project or deliverable, a situational manager may delegate tasks as necessary.

4. Management Type: Affiliative

Affiliative management is a management style focused specifically on the development of strong teams and connections. In this style, the primary goal is to develop and nurture a harmonious workplace culture.

Impact: With harmony often prioritized above all else, this management style risks undermining performance or individual accountability. Employees may receive much praise while poor performance may go unchecked.

Works Best: This style is particularly effective when the work structure includes teams led by a team lead or manager where employees need to feel intimately and personally connected to one another in order to succeed.

5. Management Type: Laissez-Faire

Opposite an authoritative or autocratic management style, the laissez-faire approach is far more hands-off. This management style empowers employees and trusts that they have adequate skills, knowledge, and judgment to achieve the desired results without much direct oversight.

Impact: While this management style leaves a wide berth for employees to be creative, collaborative, and take risks, it can also negatively impact the workplace when used inconsistently or in an environment where teams need close supervision.

Works Best: Self-reliant teams and individuals who prefer to work independently respond well to a laissez-faire management style. Additionally, this type of leadership can be used when a new manager takes over a department wants to first assess the situation while developing a rapport with employees.

6. Management Type: Transformative

This management style focuses on change and improvement and collaborates with employees to identify what changes are needed. A transformational leader is often viewed as charismatic and visionary, but should be careful to not change things too quickly.

Impact: This style inspires employees with a vision that will help affect change. But while some employees may react positively to this type of leadership, others who are averse to change are less likely to be engaged.

Works Best: Transformational leadership can be great for team morale and performance – and both come in handy when an organization is in a period of change or evolution. Happy, engaged employees are more likely to be adaptive and receptive.

7. Management Type: Coaching

This management style focuses more on employee learning and creating opportunities for individuals to reach their full potential. With this style, the manager makes employee development their primary goal and dedicates time to training, evaluating, educating, and coaching employees to improve performance.

Impact: This style provides the support and encouragement necessary to help employees improve their performance. Leaders that employ a coaching management style use one-on-one time with employees to give praise, deliver feedback, and identify ways to improve in order to help employees develop a sense of trust and loyalty.

Works Best: This style is best when leaders are already connected to employees – so the coaching isn’t viewed as critical or condescending – and when the leaders are intentional about it.

8. Management Type: Collaborative

A collaborative management style encourages the exchange of ideas as collaboration in the workplace can increase innovation and reduce silos. A collaborative manager listens to employee feedback before making final decisions, but also leverages group decision-making to give employees ownership and empowerment.

Impact: While a collaborative management style can bring employees together and establish a strong sense of team, it can also sometimes lengthen the time it takes to make decisions, especially during times of crisis when quick, decisive leadership prove necessary.

Works Best: This style works best – and proves invaluable – when a leader needs to build a high-performance culture and workforce that embraces change.

Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all management style but armed with an understanding of the different approaches and styles of leadership, their impacts and the circumstances where each style may prove most beneficial, any leader can find the shoe that fits – and wear it, in just the right size.

Do you find yourself delegating tasks, but they aren’t getting accomplished? Maybe this can help.