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Adopting a Management Style

There are as many different management styles as there are managers. There are the autocratic managers who dictate instructions to employees without much discussion. Some are easy-going managers who are more hands-off and trust their employees to self-motivate. Other managers are more team-oriented and welcome suggestions and help with decision-making. Finding the management style that is right for you requires some research, observation, and self-examination, but when you find a style that works, both you and your staff benefit.

To begin, do a little research to understand the different types of management styles. Use your local library's resources - that way, you can research a variety of different styles and techniques without a huge investment. Realize, though, that because there are many different styles and theories on how to manage, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. Do some reading and some research, but only to give you some ideas about how to recognize what you already do as a manager, what you could improve, and


No style of management is the only way, no matter how much a certain book or article tries to tell you it is. Don't be afraid to combine some styles and techniques. The research is not meant for you to follow 100%, but instead to figure out what your preferences are and how they adapt to your personality.

After familiarizing yourself with the different types of management styles, the next step is to observe. In every company, no matter how big or small, there are managers who excel and managers who have room for improvement. Look for the characteristics that match some of the ones researched and see how effective they are with the staff. It is one thing to read about a management style and/or technique and to see it action. Be sure to ask other managers about their management style and what works for them.

It is just as important to see what management styles and/or techniques don't work. In addition, remember past managers that have supervised you - which ones did you prefer? Which ones were difficult? Learning from the examples and mistakes of others can be a very effective tool in deciding and adopting your management style.

Once you have researched and observed, the next step is to analyze your own personality by asking yourself a series of questions. How do you make decisions? Do you prefer to figure things out alone or do you appreciate input from others? How do you interact with people? How flexible are you willing to be? Exploring your preferences, strengths, weaknesses, and habits will help you determine what style will work best for you.

Whether you have chosen a more autocratic style, a collaborative style, or somewhere in-between, it is important to still observe. How is the staff responding to your management style? The staff's responsiveness to a management style can be seen through their productivity, their attitudes, and their successes (or lack of).

Once a management style is chosen and adopted, it is important to remember that the work is not finished. A good manager recognizes that if a certain management skill is not producing the desired outcome in his/her employees, that style may need to be altered and adapted to different situations and people. There is no "one size fits all" approach to management. If you have chosen a style that fits your personality well, you should have less difficulty in adapting slightly to accommodate the needs of your staff.


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