Five Management Styles to help you lead today and why they work

Five Management styles

Five Management Styles to help you lead today and why they work

We’re living and working in crazy times, aren’t we? Everything is changing at work and in life. We’re working from home and have no idea what the new normal will be. Everyone is unsettled (at best!) and we’re all looking for some certainty and direction. As leader, it’s up to you to provide that.

The way you lead your people is becoming more critical every day.  You can’t rely on your natural management style to get you through every challenge. Great leaders learn to adapt their management styles to the situation, and today we’re being called on to use every tool in our leadership toolbox.

From my own observations and from the discussions I’ve had with my clients, I’ve realised that there are five management styles in particular which leaders are having to use. These five management styles are helping them lead the way into the future.

What are those key management styles?

Five management styles that are most effective right now.

  • Autocratic (when you just need something done).

Why it works: when the pressure is on or people are feeling lost, leaders need to step up and give direction and directions. The future is unclear and even the usual workplace systems don’t always apply. People can’t be productive and focused when they’re working in a fog. Give them certainty and focus by telling them exactly what must be done and by when. Autocratic directions can be the lifeboat they need.

  • Democratic (everyone contributes, and you aim for consensus)

Why it works: when people are involved in the decision-making process – even if they don’t get their own way – they are more engaged with the result and work for it. They feel like their opinion matters.

  • Coaching (long term development)

Why it works: this is a democratic style of management which stops people feeling stuck in a rut. This is important during COVID, when there doesn’t seem to be a future, or the future means your team needs to change. It builds skills, develops careers, and builds engagement.

  • Delegative (let people do the job their own way)

Why it works: it lets people direct their own work, create new solutions, and innovate. It lets them take responsibility for their work and do it in a way that suits their circumstance, which is important right now. They can get on with it without being micromanaged.

  • Visionary (create the vision and inspire people to follow it)

Why it works: In times like these, when everything can look and feel bleak, a visionary leader can re-engage and refocus their team members and revitalise their energies. We want to follow someone who knows where they’re going, and if the leader can paint the vision well enough, the team will be ready to follow.

Choosing the right management style.

How do you know which style to use? You will need to consider a range of factors including people, systems and organisational.

People: How experienced are they? Do they have the skills they need to do the job or perhaps need instructions? How engaged are they? How happy are they with work? How open is your relationship?

Systems: Do you have systems in place to support your people while they work? Do the systems need to change? Do you need to create new processes?

Organisational: What deadlines are you facing? Where is the organisation heading? Are you still aligned with its vision and values? What environmental or social pressures are being exerted on the organisation?

As leader, you should be paying attention to these factors for many reasons, but also because they will influence the management styles you need to use under different circumstances.

Do any of these styles match your natural management style?

Ask yourself if that’s the style your team needs right now and if it will help them achieve the results your organisation needs.

If not, it’s time to adapt. Need help to expand your leadership and management skills? Contact me a free Leadership Mastery Analysis and shape up to the new world of management.

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Caroline Kennedy, author of Lead Beyond 2030: The Nine Skills You Need to Intensify Your Leadership Impact, is an accomplished, award-winning CEO and global thought leader on business and leadership. She is a highly sought-after mentor and coach to top global executives. A respected keynote speaker and author, Caroline’s methods are neuroscience-based to achieve rapid development and growth.


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