Adapting your management style to your employees

Imagine a manager working with his team, I’ll call him Jean. He has a strong personality. He knows what he wants and doesn’t use kid gloves to say it. Patience is not one of his virtues. When he does intervene, it is often “unfiltered”. As everything goes very quickly, he knows how to make decisions quickly. He is typically of a directive personality.

He talks to an employee who is introverted, a little shy and reserved. When he talks to him, in his determined tone, this employee feels stressed but keeps everything inside, doesn’t question what he’s told and does what he must do, yet without pleasure.

Jean talks to another employee who is also directive and extrovert. During this discussion ideas collide, tone rises, words like “you don’t understand”, “your idea is not good” are part of the discussion on both sides.

Later Jean meets a third employee who is an analytic personality. They discuss a project. The employee discusses all kinds of possibilities and explains several details. Jean finds it long, doesn’t listen anymore, he even takes his texts while the employee is talking to him. The employee notices and the meeting ends.

Our manager Jean returns to his office and tells himself that he has bad employees, that it is difficult today to find the right people and that it is due to the current labour market that he finds himself with a team that does not perform according to his level of expectation. He thinks they don’t have a sense of belonging and they are disheartened.

On the other hand, the 3 employees are demotivated. They do their job every day, counting the hours until they are finished, just to get their pay. The more time passes, the more disillusioned and often negative they are towards the company. They no longer share their ideas and execute without interest. Finally, 2 of the 3 leave. You must start over, must hire, train, again! The one who is introverted stays but does not perform.

What just happened?  What is the problem?  Is it really because of the labour market that the employees are not performing?  How can our manager improve the situation?

By learning to adjust his managing style to that of his employees.

As a manager it is very important to know the following points:

  • We all have a predominant style that is linked to our personality.
  • We use our predominant style with less efforts.
  • During a crisis or stressful situation, it is our predominant style that will take over.
  • We use the other styles but not without some effort.
  • A good manager must know how to use all 4 styles of management.

There are many thoughts surrounding management styles and how many there are. The one that stands out the most is that there are 4 styles.

  • Directive = I decide.
  • Persuasive = I decide by explaining my choices.
  • Participatory = we decide together.
  • Delegative = you decide.

Jean is of a directive style. Note that each of the 4 styles can be applied in a right or wrong way. In this example, when the directive style is applied in the wrong way, i.e. it is not suited to the employee, it results in stress, demotivation, lack of confidence, employee resistance, lack of creativity and initiative.

The directive style, when it is applied well, can be very useful, as in crisis management or with technically weaker employees who must be well supervised in order to guide them in their learning.

As a manager, if you think you could benefit from knowing when to use which style, with which employee and when, contact us, we offer excellent training and coaching to help you on a daily basis.

Good success !

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