Management Styles: Where do you fit?

From an early age, we start to develop our personality and eventual management traits. You may have known a kid on the playground that was always leading the group, some may have called him or her stubborn or bossy. What are the chances this child grew up to have a rather, shall we say, strong personality? Pretty good.

It’s not to say that those childhood traits didn’t transform into someone who is task focused and results oriented, or if it resulted in being overbearing or impatient, that these aspects aren’t being kept in check. As a manager and leader, it is important to know what our inherent management style is to better understand how others see us. For instance, managing people in a direct, straightforward way may seem very efficient and reasonable to the manager but the employee may see this as harsh and uncompassionate.

There are a number of online tools where you can do a quick assessment of your management style. While these results can be somewhat ambiguous, as many of us are neutral on various leadership traits, they can provide a baseline for knowing how you lead your team and company.

Here are just a few resources:

Harvard Business Review
Leadership IQ
American Management Association

Reviewing your results may affirm what you already know, or it could be an eye-opener. If you answer the questions honestly and with your first gut reaction, you should see accurate results on how you prefer to work (e.g. individually, with a team, collaboratively, asking for input), how you manage (e.g. minimal instruction with a lot of leeway for your team to be creative vs. stringent guidelines with the tasks to be completed the way you want it done), and what your primary and secondary management styles are. Most of us have one dominant style and at least one or two strong secondary styles that make up how we operate.

Take these results and keep them in mind when working with your team. A combination of styles is often an effective management scenario and better yet, having a team with different styles. Some find it helpful for their entire team to take a test and to plot out where each of your styles are and then work off those differences and strengths. A team that has a visionary, a planner, a results-oriented person and a collaborator could take some fantastic ideas and execute them efficiently. Four visionaries may have trouble with the latter part of that equation.

While the results are interesting and useful, they’re only part of the makeup of a healthy management style and relationship with your team. We wrote a piece on Communication vs. Over-Managing and Managing Difficult Conversations that may give more insight into how to keep a productive and engaged team.


Post by: Lynn McIlwee