There are 4 main modern management styles: autocratic, technocratic, laissez-faire and bureaucratic. So, go on, which one are you? Without going any further you can guarantee that nobody will identify themselves as an autocratic or technocratic manager. Yet they do have their place in the quadrumvirate of managerial styles. Let’s take a look.
The style that no-one really wants to admit to. The autocrat has all the power and say over what goes on and he or she is in full control of the staff whilst rarely entertaining any input. An autocratic style of management, however, is not necessarily a bad one. Certain film directors and celebrity chefs are known for their autocratic styles and are rightly revered for their abilities. This style of management can and does bring results but it is not something that employees are always happy to endure for long. They tend to feel marginalised and not listened to and this can often lead to a high turnover of staff.
The type of manager everyone wants to be! We all want to be known as laissez-faire. Laissez-faire management consists of handing the power to the staff. The utopian theory expunges a view of a happy and contented workforce going about their daily chores, making quick and reliable decisions and generally having a jolly good time.
This is, alas, not always the case. The staff may lack the ability or nous to make crucial decisions or they may take advantage of the manager if not being constantly monitored. There can be many pitfalls to handing power to some of the lowest wage earners in a company and if there isn’t the necessary support network for the staff and adequate training, the company may wish it had hired some ex-chefs.
On a positive note, when it works well, it can be very powerful. Employees tend to be genuinely engaged with the job and because they develop a very high knowledge base themselves, are more likely to progress through to management.
The bureaucratic manager is very picky and thorough. He or she will investigate every little problem, issue or complaint to the full and, like a dog with a bone, not let go until chow time. This type of manager is often only one step removed from an auditor and behaves as such. Their investigative prowess is both respected and feared by the staff and they maintain a high level of control over their business.
They are, however, serial “yes” men and not always the most inspirational of leaders. The staff may find it hard to bond with them and consequently morale could be low.
Technocratic management deserves a mention here. It is the management style of the down-sizer, the redundancy maker. The type of individual who excels at technocratic management always believes that the best interests of the company come first.
This is a very tricky kind of management style in that down-sizing is a situation that a lot of companies may face and not having a willing and able technocrat to take on these responsibilities can lead to even greater problems in the company.
Just like the bureaucratic manager, employees don’t tend to bond with technocrats and they are often uninspiring leaders. But they are a necessary evil at certain times in the life cycle of any company.
No person is going to be comfortable with all these styles of management (whatever the needs of the business). But everyone will have to display all of these management styles at some point in their managerial career. Periodic autocracy is a very good way of reminding the staff who is the boss whilst a laissez-faire approach is a very good way of reminding the staff that they are valued. And what if we hire someone who is not right for the job in hand? Well, we may have to engage in some periodic technocracy to protect the business (and ourselves)!