4 Management Styles You Will Experience in Your Career…and How to Handle Them

As you reflect on your career, it will be pretty evident that some of your managers were fantastic while others may not have been so great.  The truth is there are different types of managers who have varying styles and most people will encounter a few of these throughout their career.  Successful managers understand the importance of flexibility and know how to adjust their style according to specific situations, but others tend to fall into a management style that might be difficult for employees to deal with.  Here is a closer look at four different management styles and how you can handle each of them.

  1. The Autocrat

This type of manager runs the team by telling employees what to do.  They set clear expectations for what they expect their employees to do and if they do not comply they face consequences.  They are generally difficult to get along with and think of themselves as the only competent person in the company.  They are not interested in hearing feedback from employees, but rather motivate them through fear of discipline.  Autocrats are tough to deal with, no doubt, but if you can make it your goal to help them meet theirs, you are more likely to succeed.  For example, if the goal of your manager is to get promoted than you should try and do everything in your power to help him get there.  This demonstrates that you are a team player and there is a chance you might be promoted right along with your manager.  When an autocrat sees that you are working for him and not against him, he is more likely to trust you and gain confidence in your ability.

  1. The Affiliative

This type of manager works to create emotional bonds and harmony among employees.  The affiliative manager puts people first, and tasks second. These leaders tend to avoid conflict and motivate by keeping everyone happy.   While this is a great way to build team morale and trust between employees and the manager, it can foster mediocre performance over time and lack of direction.  If you are working for an affiliative manager, it is important to ask them for real authentic feedback that can help you improve your performance.  You want to make it known that you desire to grow within the company and you want this type of manager to be open and honest with you.  Volunteer for projects and make sure you are continuing to work harder to advance, otherwise, it can be easy to get complacent and your career will suffer.

  1. The Pace-Setter

This type of manager models excellence and expects employees to follow in his/her footsteps.  Basically, this is the “do as I do” manager.  They motivate their employees by setting high standards and they expect their employees to achieve these results through self-direction.  This is fine when all of the employees are highly competent and performing well, but this can be quite a challenging management style when employees are new or struggling.  With this type of manager, be sure and ask for as many details as possible including “what it means, what steps are necessary to get there, and who they have seen that has done it well.”  Afterwards, let them know how much you appreciate their clear direction.  When in doubt, always ask questions so you can develop a clear picture of what success looks like.

  1. The Democratic Leader

This type of manager encourages employee participation.  They tend to ask their employees “What do you think?”  They want members of their team to have a say and they welcome feedback from employees.  While this seems fair enough, this is not always the best leadership style in crisis situations or in times when employees need guidance.  If you do happen to work for a democratic manager, make sure you keep the lines of communication open and don’t hesitate to voice your opinion.  Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.  Also, when you are presented with a suggestion, don’t be afraid to commit.  This is necessary in order to be successful. You also need to learn to respect the ideas of others and try to be understanding of other’s opinions.  Finally, you need to communicate your ideas and never apologize for expressing what you think is best.