12 Aug With the right management style to success
Rigidly perform the tasks assigned or democratically participate in decisions? In the course of one’s working life, one often meets very different managers with correspondingly different styles. From rather authoritarian to very free conditions, there are always new patterns of behaviour that are described in theory. But which of these is the most sensible management style? How much freedom do you have to give your employees in order to promote them optimally and achieve good results at the same time? How strictly should they be monitored to ensure that goals are achieved? In our article this week we want to explain which management style is most likely to succeed and what else needs to be considered.
Management style – definition and relevance
Management style is the way in which managers behave towards employees and the basic attitude with which they take on their management tasks. However, this is not static, but can be changed and adapted through seminars and further training that can only be achieved by observing other managers.
The style of leadership practiced often has an impact on the success of the company, as it is a decisive factor in employee motivation. If employees consider a superior to be competent and can work well under his or her leadership, they are often more enthusiastic in their work and deliver better results overall .
Basically, the management style depends on various factors, such as the character of the superior, the employees, the type of activity and many more. Therefore, there is no universally applicable right or wrong management style, but rather tendencies and recommendations that can be made to take the right direction.
Different management styles
Nevertheless, there is a long list of theoretical models in business administration (BWL), which is constantly being expanded as new trends emerge. The German sociologist Max Weber, for example, divides leadership styles into autocratic, patriarchal, charismatic and bureaucratic, while Kurt Lewin (German psychologist) distinguishes between an authoritarian, democratic and a laissez-faire style. Other sources give different classifications and also list completely different and new leadership styles.
In principle, the various models can be classified and graded in a graph according to the decision-making scope of the manager and the employees. An authoritarian manager thus has sole decision-making power, whereas a democratic management style delegates many tasks and gives employees much more say in decision-making.
Success through situational leadership
As with many other theoretical models of business administration, hardly any management style can be applied exclusively. In practice, there is not only the authoritarian or democratic leadership style, but many gradations in between and many situations where you have to vary between different models just to stay flexible. A construct that takes these circumstances into account and thus represents a modern approach is the situational leadership style.
Situational is derived from situation and indicates that one should lead differently depending on a certain situation (i.e. the type of task and also the employee himself). A different and varying degree of task or person orientation is required.
With task orientation, clear tasks and objectives are in the foreground and the significant scope for decision-making lies with the manager.
In contrast, person orientation is more about the personal level between the employee and his or her superior. The hierarchy is much flatter and communication takes place at eye level.
Which orientation has to be applied in which situation depends mainly on the factual maturity (skills, competences etc.) as well as the psychological maturity (attitude, motivation etc.) of the employees. This can be divided into 4 levels.
Low level of maturity – conducting
If an employee lacks the necessary skills (e.g. with new entrants to the profession, new employees, new areas of responsibility), then he or she still needs clear objectives and must be monitored more closely. The same applies to employees who lack motivation. A more task-oriented management is needed here.
Secondary school leaving certificate – Convince
At the next level, task and person orientation must be combined. Employees already have more competences and tasks, but still need to be clearly managed and motivated. In addition to instructions, it is also important to be available for questions and to involve employees in decisions.
Higher maturity – participation
At a higher level of maturity, all the necessary skills are available, but employees often lack the necessary self-confidence to take on tasks completely independently. In this case, an advisory function is enormously important and person-oriented leadership should be applied.
Very high maturity – delegating
At the level of very high maturity, the supervisor does not have to act in a person- or task-oriented manner. The employee has the necessary skills and motivation. Here the manager should delegate certain tasks and above all hand over responsibility in the long term.
The many roles of a manager
Within the framework of optimal leadership, the supervisor should also be able to take on different roles and use them more or less depending on the situation. These are divided into motivator, mentor, facilitator, coordinator and inspector and are briefly explained below.
As the name suggests, the manager must be able to motivate and inspire his team in this role – without pressure. Rather, the individual employees should be carried away by the commitment of their supervisor and develop enthusiasm for the projects themselves.
Employees should not only be given the tasks that are always the same, but it is much more important as a good manager to encourage and support each individual member of the team in their further development.
The word moderator comes from the Latin and means as much as handlebar or moderator. It is precisely this role that a manager must be able to take on. On the one hand he or she must mediate between employees internally, as in the case of conflicts, for example, but on the other hand he or she is also the link between the employees and the company itself.
The role of the coordinator covers many organisational tasks: Distributing tasks so that quality and deadlines can be guaranteed, managing projects, taking responsibility. The work in the company must run smoothly and the manager must always have an overview.
Managers have an enormous responsibility and should therefore always check whether set goals can be achieved. Are there problems in certain processes, is there potential for improvement or is everything running as it should? Here too, a superior should act in the interests of both the company and the team.
As a manager you have to adapt your behaviour to your own employees, create the right incentives and take on many roles. But just as different as the team itself, so are the managers. And so not everyone can succeed equally well in implementing all the behavioral patterns recommended in theory. The most important thing is to find a balance that works for you and your team. Make sure you have sufficient communication and get regular feedback. This is the only way to make improvements that will ensure the long-term success of your team and thus your company.
 WirtschaftsWoche: Führungskräfte sind der wahre Produktivitätskiller (2017)