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A Guide to Managing Employees

As you may have noticed throughout your career, managing employees often requires a specific set of skills. The aim of successful leadership is to meet company objectives while also satisfying the needs of their employees. It’s important to align the individual members of the company with collective organization goals.

This often requires specialized knowledge of effective employee management, communication and emotional intelligence. Different people might choose to lead in different ways, depending on their personality or organizational needs. So, what are the different leadership styles?

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Styles of managing employees

While there are some fundamental rules and tips most managers should try to stick to, every leader has their own style of doing things. Each leadership style has both positive and potentially negative aspects, and it’s difficult to determine which is better.

Every organization has its own needs. While one style might fit a certain company extremely well, it could be detrimental to another. The style a manager assumes may also be a result of their personality type.

Below are 10 of the most common leadership styles of managing employees:

1. The coach

Much like a sports coach, a coach-type leader is able to quickly identify each team member’s greatest strengths, weaknesses and sources of motivation. These leaders focus on helping employees set goals, grow skills and develop themselves in the professional world.

Individuals who enjoy mentorship work well under this leadership style. On the other hand, intrinsically self-motivated people tend to get frustrated when constantly being coached. They find it unnecessary and time-wasting.

2. The visionary

A visionary leader aspires to drive change by inspiring team members and helping to propagate new ideas. They’re frequently gifted speakers and thrive when leading a company through transformative periods.

This type of leadership works well in dynamic organizations that constantly go through industry changes. However, it doesn’t pan out well for organizations that have a steadier pace and rarely undergo big changes.

3. The servant

These types of employee managers strive to help each team member feel professionally and personally fulfilled at work. They consider employee satisfaction a top priority. Servant leaders are particularly useful within organizations that are seeking to build employee morale.

4. The autocratic

An autocratic style of managing employees focuses on obtaining results by maximizing efficiency and productivity. Similar to military leaders, they believe in near-constant supervision, strict guidelines and making decisions alone.

They will rarely consult their employees when making decisions and believe they know best. While these types of employee managers may drive company results, they’re rarely liked by their subordinates and can be seen as harsh.

5. Laissez-faire

This style of managing employees is often referred to as the most hands-off leadership style. Conceptually, it’s the direct opposite of autocratic leadership. Laissez-faire leaders tend to delegate a great deal of responsibility while providing very little supervision.

Generally, employee managers tend to adopt this style when they’re managing teams of highly competent and experienced individuals. Rather than overseeing every activity, they remain in the background to offer a helping hand when needed. Naturally, self-motivated individuals benefit from having managers who adopt this leadership style.

6. The democrat

A democratic leader will always ask for input from team members before making an important decision. They’re naturally open communicators who strive to create a lot of employee engagement and ensure their employee’s voices are heard.

People often like democratic employee managers. However, a potentially negative aspect is the possible halt in productivity caused by constantly consulting others when making a decision.

7. The pacesetter

This leadership style is focused almost entirely on performance. Employees are given specific goals and held accountable for their results. This leadership style focuses less on mentorship and more on setting an example.

Their idea of effective employee management is visibly working hard and meeting goals to inspire their subordinates to do the same. They’re rarely interested in how to manage employee satisfaction by catering to their personal goals.

People who enjoy working in fast, dynamic environments thrive under this type of leadership. Others who prefer a slower pace may become overwhelmed and buckle under the pressure.

8. The transformational leader

A transformational leader is similar to a coaching leader, but instead of focusing on developing each employee individually, they’re focused on company objectives. They thrive when guiding a company through massive changes or revolutions.

9. The transactional leader

Transactional leaders are similar to pacesetter leaders in that they give employees specific goals and employ reward or discipline strategies. However, unlike pacesetter leaders, transactional leaders offer thorough instruction and mentorship to help team members meet objectives.

People who prefer straightforward instruction and constant mentorship feel very comfortable under these types of leaders. In contrast, self-motivated people who already know what to do might find transactional leaders overbearing.

10. The bureaucratic

A bureaucratic style of managing employees utilizes the idea of a hierarchy, where each employee has their own responsibilities. In this system, cross-collaboration is rare, and individuals are used to working alone. In general, highly regulated industries benefit from this type of leadership style.

Effective communication for employee managers

Communication is important for every area of life that brings you in contact with other people. Whether you’re communicating with loved ones at home or with employees at work, listening and speaking skills matter.

Effective communication is one of the primary factors of strong leadership. It remains constant, regardless of which leadership style you adopt. Clear and consistent communication is highly appreciated by employees, and it facilitates a positive and productive workplace environment. Effective communication is a multifaceted capability consisting of:

1. Effective listening

When others are speaking, it’s not only polite to listen attentively, but it’s also critical to understanding issues and crafting informed responses. To improve your listening skills, make sure you’re giving the speaker your full and undivided attention.

Making regular eye contact and taking notes will improve the rapport between you and the speaker and help you ensure you’ve understood the issue. It can be helpful to paraphrase and summarize their point to show you’ve listened and identify any gaps in understanding.

2. Awareness

Good communication depends on both what you say and your awareness of the immediate environment. Always be aware of who you’re communicating with and where the conversation is taking place.

For example, when discussing a new project, you may choose to give a more detailed set of instructions to a newer employee while omitting details to a more senior employee. It’s good to be aware of what communication style the other person is comfortable with, as some individuals tend to be more sensitive than others.

3. Open and honest communication

When it comes to how to manage employees, open and honest communication is highly important. It ensures your points are understood and results in fewer issues. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to managing employees, but this doesn’t mean you need to be harsh and blunt. It’s always possible to deliver messages in an inoffensive and comprehensible way that doesn’t cause discomfort to you or the other person.

Set a Good Example

When it comes to employee management, it’s critical to remember your team will often model their behavior and attitude from yours. If you’re outwardly stressed, complaining and failing to take breaks, your employees are likely to behave similarly.

You should always strive to maintain an even temper, a positive outlook and a healthy work-life balance. This ensures a productive work environment with high employee satisfaction rates and positive team morale.

Successful employee management looks different for every leader and organization. However, by identifying your leadership style, developing your communication skills and setting a positive example, you can become a better leader.

Effective employee management

Managing employees may be different from one organization to another, as each company will differ in terms of goals and logistical requirements. Leaders themselves also often differ from one another in regard to how they lead and communicate with their employees.

Despite the difference in requirements and leadership styles across organizations, communication remains an important constant. Active listening, situational awareness and open conveyance of messages all contribute to effective employee management.

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