Ask any employee at any business how they feel about company management, and you’ll get responses that run the gamut. These answers have as much to do with individual temperaments as they do management styles but make no mistake – your management style influences employee engagement.
As a whole, management often gets a bad rap. Managers are often depicted in the movies and on television as oblivious, inept, or malicious. And while this characterization of managers might feel like reality, it’s an exaggeration. Most managers have the best interests of their team and their company at heart. Still, it can be difficult to apply certain management styles to different work environments.
Types of Management Styles
Management styles can vary widely. Often, they are the result of generational norms, previous experience and training, and personality factors. Additionally, certain fields require specific methods of management. That said, management styles fall into three basic categories:
Autocratic Management is an authoritative leadership style relying on little to no input from others in making decisions. Managers who lead with this type of management run into the risk of negatively affecting employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.
Democratic management receives input from employees on decisions, but the manager makes the ultimate decision. This is a more collaborative management approach, creating a positive impact on employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.
Laissez-faire management is a hands-off approach type leadership. Managers give employees all decision-making power. At the same time, employees must solve problems and issues on their own. Depending on the type of culture and organization, this approach can be productive and lead to employee motivation.
Management Styles and Employee Engagement
The type of management style appropriate to your business has a great deal to do with your own personality as well as the kind of business you operate. We’ve all known managers whose temperament doesn’t align with the type of business they oversee. However, it is possible to adapt your management style to fit the workplace you supervise.
Employees respond to management based on several factors, including:
- Their own temperament
- Their job duties
- Responsibilities and goals set forth by management
- The response of their coworkers
It is a delicate balance and one that you should be mindful of maintaining. The three types of management styles outlined above draw certain responses from employees.
Autocratic managers tend to create an environment of mistrust between themselves and their employees. In this atmosphere, management dictates every step of an employee’s job. Employees lack job security and may feel they are easy to replace. There is no room for creativity on the job. Often, capable and experienced employees become discouraged because they feel like their ideas are dismissed.
Democratic managers empower their employees through interaction. This interaction creates a sense of worth and value among employees when upper management seeks out their ideas and suggestions. Employees feel more committed to their jobs, making them likely to continue working for the company rather than looking for other employment.
Laissez-faire managers inspire self-motivation among their employees. This can create innovative ideas that are often rapidly adopted within the company. For individuals who thrive without direct supervision, this kind of management can help create a better work-life balance.
Creating a Positive Workplace Culture
Your workplace environment is a direct result of your management style, which in turn affects employee engagement. Don’t confuse engagement with job satisfaction, however. No matter how satisfied your employees may be with their jobs, their commitment to your business might actually be quite shallow. Studies show that only 30% of workers in the US consider themselves engaged at work. That means that 70% of workers aren’t very invested in their workplace.
Maybe their workplace isn’t very interesting. Maybe it’s simply a means to an end. Or maybe it’s a result of management style. Employee engagement takes its cue from company leadership. This leadership can be the difference between a mediocre work environment and a great workplace culture.
As a manager whose goal is to establish an engaged workplace culture, defining the appropriate management style for your organization is key. Great managers create an atmosphere that generates increased engagement from their staff. If your workplace culture isn’t quite where you want it to be, take heart. Management styles can be taught. How will you adapt your management style to promote a positive workplace culture?