Whether you’re a manager yourself or just work under a manager, you’ve probably realized that every person in a management position has his or her own unique management style. Some are more authoritative, some are more friendly, some are more task-focused, and some are centered around efficiency.
To a certain extent, every manager’s unique style can work for them. However, in our decades of experience helping companies with various staffing and HR needs, we’ve come to realize that there are certain management styles that are more likely to create problems for teams.
Here are 5 management styles that end up doing more harm than good.
Micromanaging is actually one of the most common problems we see among managers. In this management style, managers don’t trust their subordinates to do good work on their own, and consequently, they direct employees’ every move without giving them any autonomy or flexibility.
There are several problems with this management style. For one thing, it is extremely taxing on the manager, who essentially ends up doing the work of the entire team by him/herself. For another, it removes accountability from the employees. They can’t take ownership of their work, won’t be bought in on projects and procedures, and will ultimately be less productive. And finally, if everyone is in “the weeds” all the time, no one is looking at the bigger picture. Part of a good manager’s job is to be able to see the forest for the trees, but when they’re micromanaging, that’s impossible to do.
There are many facets to this management style, but ultimately, they all point in the same direction: absolute control. A manager who uses this style is going to think they have all the answers, they don’t need any input from their team, and they should never be questioned in any way.
Dictator managers often put their own needs above the needs of the company. They are radically concerned with personal image, and because of that, they don’t want their teams making any mistakes, ever. Unfortunately, this leads to an atmosphere of fear and low morale. Employees don’t want to work for this type of manager for very long, so teams with these managers often experience heavy turnover.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s the overly-relaxed manager. You might think of this type of manager as more of a “buddy” than a boss. While employees might love the laid-back attitude of a buddy manager, the fact is, this isn’t a great management style, either.
Ultimately, the job of a manager is to make sure their team stays on-task and productive. If a manager is too relaxed—whether it’s about deadlines, office behavior, productivity, quality of work, or any number of other things—the team isn’t going to be successful at the actual work they’re supposed to be doing. Beyond that, an overly-relaxed manager isn’t really doing their team any favors in terms of each employee’s future. A buddy manager is less likely to give honest feedback, or to make team member’s face consequences for mistakes. In the long run, this type of management style is bad for everyone involved.
While it’s important for managers to keep their teams performing at a high, productive, and profitable standard, it’s also possible for managers to take this too far. Managers who stick to processes, tools, and rules because “that’s the way it’s done” also seem to have a hard time managing their teams effectively.
The truth is, most industries face new challenges on a daily basis. Trying to handle these never-before-seen problems with old processes and procedures is likely going to end in frustration. It’s important for managers to be flexible and willing to adapt to new circumstances and new needs. This could refer to the projects themselves, but also to employees’ needs: being flexible with hours and demands can make a huge difference in work-life balance and in employee morale.
Ever had a manager that you never see? It’s a frustrating experience. Employees need to be able to find and talk to their managers whenever they need to. Managers should regularly check in with their teams to see how things are going and how they can help.
Managers also need to be involved (to an appropriate extent) in the team’s projects. A good manager gives useful feedback and valuable insights, and then steps back, lets the team do the work themselves, and checks back in later to reevaluate. If their manager is missing, a team is more likely to feel abandoned or directionless—two things that are not conducive to happy, productive work.
Managers are key members of any team, and each one will have their own strengths, weaknesses, and styles. But by avoiding these bad management styles, managers will increase the likelihood of their teams being willing and able to do their best work.
Stay tuned for a post about 5 good management styles!
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