Management Style and the Boss-Employee Relationship

30th November 2016

3 minutes

Managing people effectively can be a huge challenge. Whether you are responsible for one employee or 50, the way in which your style of management comes across can be perceived differently by each individual. These varying perceptions can influence employer-employee relationships, so recognising how your management style affects your workers will help you become a more effective leader.

The benefits of different management styles

There are five different, distinctive management styles. These are:

  • Democratic – where employees are encouraged to input on decision making.
  • Paternalistic – employers consider both employee interests as well as business interests when making a decision, although they still retain the full control.
  • Autocratic or Authoritarian – employers request a little input from employees but give them little autonomy.
  • Laissez-faire – where managers maintain a hands-off approach, allowing their employees to make big decisions and give little guidance.
  • Servant leadership – where self-effacing managers focus on the needs of their employees

You may find that your management style fits into one of these categories, or that it is a mixture of a few different style. If you want to find out which category of management you fall into, you could use a notebook to jot down some key points or traits you have. But whichever applies to you, the way you lead and manage a team can affect and influence your relationship with staff.

How employees perceive you

How your employees see you is the first way your management style influences them. If you have an autocratic management style, your employees may feel that you do not value their expertise or knowledge, while if you are more of a laissez-faire-style manager, employees may think you are not serious about the business, and that they are to be given little guidance when making big decisions. Understanding the way you manage people and the style you use will aid you in communicating with workers and resolving conflicts in a positive manner.

Innovations through feedback

Another way in which your style of management affects your relationship with your employees is by influencing the products and tools the business uses. A democratic style of management may benefit from using whiteboards and notice boards, as these can help generate employee feedback and help you build more collaborative relationships with staff. The same can be done with post-it notes and a blank wall where you can stick them.

Employees who feel that they have the freedom to try new methods and approaches may feel more comfortable and innovative in their attitude to solving problems.

The downfalls of not being aware of your management style

By not being fully aware of your management style, you may be unwittingly damaging your relationship with your employees, simply because your way of communicating is not compatible with theirs. If you are an autocratic leader, you may self-focus a lot, leaving your employees thinking you do not share the credit with employees for the success of the company. By being able to recognise your management style from the types listed above, you can use that information to learn how best to communicate with your employees effectively.

Whether you are a new manager or a more experienced one, the style which you use to lead employees significantly impacts their view of you. Once you understand how to appropriately manage people, you can use this to your advantage and build more positive relationships, and try to change what may be perceived as negative ones. Taking the opportunity to go on management training courses and investing in books around management style can guide you to make the necessary changes and adapt your style to better suit the workforce. A better employer-employee relationship will strengthen your company and create a happier working environment.

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