If managers and leaders are to be effective in their positions and play powerful roles to their teams, it’s important for them to be aware of how exactly they manage: what style suits both them and their organization best. A proper management style will allow trust and respect to be established in the workspace, build strong work relationships and enable team members to engage more with peers on projects. On the other hand, an inadequate approach could lead to unmotivated teams and individualized work ethics.
Long gone are the days when managers solely implemented their authority to complete tasks and meet objectives, and just because one style has worked in many other cases doesn’t mean it will achieve the same results in another organization. Managers today are expected to find a unique method that will work appropriately with each organization, adjusting from what is their personal style to one that is authentic to the organization’s culture. It’s in this uniqueness that managers have evolved more towards being leaders, differentiating the tactic one takes: from a hierarchy position (management) to an inclusive and motivational position (leadership).
Many models of management and leadership have been theorized since the 1950’s: some highlighting there being four differentiable styles and other’s applying a scale where there can be up to one hundred various abstract styles. Nevertheless, when each style was researched for its effectiveness, common aspects to a successful method involved leaders showing trust and confidence to their subordinates, including them with decision making or opinionating, but still maintained a respected authority to delegate accordingly as well as an ability to shift focus between the importance of the task, the team or the individual depending on the given situation.
Regardless of the many styles that exist, following are five key concepts that truly differentiate an ordinary manager to a standout leader:
1. Know who you are
Considering which management style best suits you can be a long and distressing journey. Nonetheless it’s important to not act upon who you think you should be or how you should behave in certain situations, but rather understand and accept who you are and how you do actually behave. Only by taking this approach can you then see which aspects of your personality and work ethic need to modify.
Take into consideration these questions. What is your preferred method of working and how can you collaborate between members more effectively? How do you communicate with fellow workers? What motivators drive you to succeed in both small tasks and bigger objectives? Consider collectively taking an HR administered diagnostic test to evaluate the best approach to managing your team and to discover what is expected of you from your team.
2. Evaluate your work habits
How do you establish priorities in the work space? How do you manage or segment time between tasks or those priorities? Do you set both team and individual meetings or prefer to manage by examining and moving through the work environment?
In this aspect, there is no one correct answer. Sometimes it can be beneficial to apply a mixture of these habits. Remember, one of the effective aspects to a leader was the ability to shift focus between the importance of the task, the team or the individual depending on the given situation.
3. Consider how others see you
Try and think about how your colleagues and subordinates react when interacting with you. How do they respond when delegated a task or when commented on regarding their performance? Identify these moments and their outcomes. Did they go positively or negatively solely on their behavior or did your own conduct contribute to the given outcome?
Try to deliberate how these issues can be resolved and what approach you may take to achieve those more positive results. At times the perception of ourselves can be skewed or biased compared to how others do. In these situations, it’s advisable to seek council from people you trust and respect, whether they be your subordinates, colleagues or superiors.
4. Take into account the situation
As much as your managerial approach is important, the situation is also important. What’s more important than any one of those is how they’re important together.
Evaluate the management structure that’s already in place within the organization, how goals are implemented, how performance is analyzed, how pressure is handled within the environment, how behavior is controlled, etc. Now analyze the variations to each of those focus points depending on different situations. As an example, what motivates your team? Different motivators in different situations will enable goals to be met regardless.
5. Acknowledge which factors require development
Consider not only your strengths and weaknesses, but also the many interactions that have taken place between you and your team. Are there areas where you can improve your skills? Are there different approaches you can implement when delegating or requesting tasks to be completed?
Just because you have a managerial position and find yourself above other workers doesn’t mean your mentality and skillset have to remain as they are. Being a leader not only makes you responsible for the performance of your team, but rather makes you responsible for their ability to grow as individuals also.
As always, situational flexibility is advised, but what is key is to understand yourself, be honest with yourself about what is working and what isn’t effective, and certain adjustments will be easier to determine if beneficial. Consistency in your managerial ability and conduct are important if you intend to optimize your team’s performance.