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25 Management Styles

        posted by , February 20, 2013

A big, fuzzy, blurry line sits between leadership, management and administration.

Some managers are leaders. Others are administrators. Others are cowboys or politicians.

Management styles are often individual, personal styles.

Organizations with strong cultures may have a similar style of management across the board but this is rare. In most organizations, managers establish their own style.

There's no right or wrong style of management. Highly effective managers may have opposing styles.

If you're new to management or if your looking to change your style — the following list may help.

Basic Styles

1. Leader Managers
Leader managers seek to influence and motivate with leadership skills. They can lead in areas in which they have no formal authority.

2. Authoritarian Managers
Authoritarian managers rely on formal authority to command their team.

3. Political Managers
Political managers rely on political strategy and tactics to influence and motivate.

4. Administrative Managers
Administrative managers rely on processes and rules. They seek to influence and motivate using a rule book.

5. Democratic Managers
Democratic managers orchestrate a participative decision making process. They influence and motive with social strategies.

6. Laissez-faire Managers
Laissez-faire managers give minimal direction and expect their teams to self-driven.


Leader Managers


7. Charismatic Leadership
A manager who leads with the relative strength of their personality. In many cases, the charismatic leader exercises near complete control (similar to a dictatorship). Many executive managers are charismatic leaders (e.g. CEOs).

8. Transformational Leadership
Transformation leadership is based on a give and take relationship between a leader and followers. It's essentially a less dictatorial form of charismatic leadership.

9. Transactional Leadership
Leaders who influence and motivate with positive rewards such as promotions and bonuses (contingent rewards).

10. Servant Leadership
Leaders who see themselves as facilitators. Servant leaders use their leadership skills to support others rather than their own agenda.

11. Complex Adaptive Leadership
The idea that everyone is a leader. Organizations with a flat organizational structure often embrace this idea. Everyone is expected to influence and motivate each other.


Authoritarian Managers

12. Command and Control
A military style of management that relies on a strict command hierarchy. Command and Control Managers issue orders. Employees who don't follow orders are disciplined.

13. Management by Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
Managers who establish authority using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt tactics. They scare their team into obedience.

14. Micromanagement
Managers who seek to control every minor detail of work. This is generally viewed as a destructive form of management that interferes with employees' individual working styles. Employees may become unproductive and disengaged when they are given no leverage to make their own decisions.


Political Managers

15. Mushroom Management
Mushroom managers seek to build their authority by keeping their team in the dark. In other words, they minimize the flow of information to their team. In many cases, this lack of information is destructive because the team essentially has blinders on. The term Mushroom Manager is an analogy to mushroom farming. Mushroom farmers keep mushrooms in the dark and throw manure on them.

16. Political Campaign Management
Managers who completely focus on office politics. They are only interested in political results (e.g. aren't interested in productivity or innovation). They reward employees who deliver political wins.


Administrative Managers

17. Process Driven Management
Managers who follow predefined processes. They are most interested in enforcing the steps of processes.

18. Rule Driven Management
Managers who are most interested in enforcing predefined rules.


Democratic Managers

19. Participative Management
Managers who seek the input of staff for major decisions. They need less authority and influence to get things done because everyone feels they had their say.

20. Consensus Management
Managers who don't make decisions but instead defer to consensus taking. Consensus management suffers from the affects of group-think (group decisions that represent social dynamics and are often sub-optimal or nonsensical).


Laissez-faire Managers

21. Cowboy Management
Managers who focus on results. The seek to inspire their team but aren't very hands-on. Cowboy management is particular effective and common in sales teams.

22. Seagull Management
Managers who are hands-off. They only appear to criticize when something goes wrong.

23. Trust & Verify Management
Managers who trust their team to self-direct. They occasionally verify results and provide constructive feedback.


Management & Culture

24. Paternalistic Management
Organizations in some East-Asian countries such as Japan and Korea tend to be less individualistic. Managers are known to make decisions that represent the best interests of the workers. In return, workers tend to be highly dedicated to the company. This is often compared to a parent-child relationship.

25. Japanese Management Style
Most Japanese Companies have a similar management culture that's often referred to as Japanese Style Management. Japanese managers are expected to come to consensus with their peers. For example, if the head of marketing wants to hire someone he may need to seek the approval of the head of operations, sales, IT etc...

Japanese managers are also expected to understand the work of their teams in detail. For example, before becoming CEO an executive should serve as CFO, COO, CIO, CMO etc... It's also common for Japanese management and executives to practice management by walking around.

This post is an installment in the ongoing series of articles called Management: The Missing Manual.


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