Management styles vary from highly autocratic to extremely participative. No style fits best into every organizational culture. However, some management styles tend to work better in environments where you want to encourage teamwork. Thus, in implementing your own style or in hiring managers for your business, it helps to understand the effects of each style on teamwork.
An autocratic or commanding management style means the manager takes a single-minded approach to decision-making and leadership. While the company may operate through a work team structure, a manager with an autocratic style tends to establish an individualistic model for activities. Autocratic managers can squelch employee morale and motivation when they are too controlling. Low morale and poor job satisfaction can impede a culture of collaboration. While autocrats offer benefits in urgent decision-making, they may not fit well with motivating teamwork.
A coaching style of management is often viewed more positively than an autocratic approach. With this style, the manager makes employee development a primary goal. He spends time training, evaluating and coaching employees toward optimum performance. Taken to an extreme, a coach is seen as a micromanager, though. While this style doesn’t necessarily contradict teamwork, it tends to drive more of a one-on-one or individualistic mindset.
Participative or democratic management is often the most natural fit with a team-oriented work culture. A participative manager intentionally seeks employee input in the decision-making process. This openness to input can make employees feel involved and part of the broader organizational goal. Additionally, it supports the notion of teamwork by encouraging sharing of ideas, conflict-resolution and collaboration in work groups. With participative management, the team influence is typically indirect. It is the cultural tone established by the manager that impacts teams.
Affiliative management, as author Daniel Goleman calls it in his book “Primal Leadership,” is a style particularly aimed at the development of strong work teams. In this style, the primary motive of the leader is to develop a harmonious work group culture. Thus, it is particularly effective when the work structure includes work teams led by a team lead or manager. The leader promotes open communication and group harmony above all else. A risk of this style, though, is that harmony is placed above performance and individual accountability. Thus, it is often good that a manager blends this approach with coaching or another developmental style.
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