One manager I’ve seen recently uses the all too familiar tell or authoritarian style with her team. She knows it all; what is wrong, who is at fault and exactly what they must do to fix it. She even knows what others think! In a meeting from which one of her people was absent, she said, ‘Oh, it’s not a problem, we think the same!’ In the same meeting she answered all the questions, even those directed at others.

Her style is massively disempowering. People around her learn it is best not to speak up and to do as they are told. Inevitably, the level of frustration in the department is high, and in spite of her own competence, overall productivity is low. This is not a happy place to work.

Contrast the manager who puts relationships first. She is striving to build up the team to which she has recently been appointed. But in putting relationships first she has not managed expectations, particularly some unrealistic ones amongst her staff. She has not held others accountable for poor performance and bad behaviour. People do not show any respect for her or trust in her competence. There’s a lot of frustration and low productivity: another unhappy place to work.

Contrast these two managers, both trying hard to do the best they can, but getting it rather badly wrong.

The task orientated manager does it all herself. In her department people do not develop initiative or problem solving skills. Useful skills in this department are the ability to find excuses and to withstand wrath!

The relationships manager is a soft touch. If you work for her a useful skill is your ability to come up with a sob story and you need never worry about being held to account for your performance.

Neither of these managers is properly managing the performance of their teams. Needless to say, performance appraisal with either of them is meaningless.

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2 Responses to “Management styles that don’t work”

  1. Carroll B. Merriman Says:

    Good point. How did you came up like this?

  2. admin Says:

    I work with managers whose teams include people of different ages, cultures and genders. I often see how a management style can be effective with one employee but not with another. Relatively few managers have the behavioural flexibility to deal with very diverse teams.

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