There are three broad management styles:
- pro-active management,
- re‑active management, and
- crisis management.
People with management responsibilities will each have their personal style of doing things. In the same way, groups with management responsibilities will have a collective style.
It is important that managers and management groups know and understand their own management style – and that of the management group. Best way to do this is for a manager to ask the people under her/his management!
Typical behaviours of a proactive management style:
This is the style of management where the possibility of problems or opportunities is examined, where the manager thinks ahead, initiates action and therefore takes the lead in preventing problems, creating possibilities and projecting the interests and needs of his/her staff and his/her areas of accountability and responsibility.
- Open to new ideas
- Trust among managers
- Open flow of information
- Support for people who show initiative
- Humanistic attitude toward staff and customers/service-users
- Clear and specific focus on staff and customer/service-user needs
- Higher level of staff satisfaction
- Participative and consultative decision making style
- Entrepreneurial in acquiring resources
- Careful coordination of new initiatives with existing commitments
- Confident about keeping other managers – and their own staff – aware of priorities and plans
Typical behaviours of a re-active management style:
This is the style of management where decisions are made absolutely and only in response or reaction to a problem or opportunity – where no action is taken to prevent problems or create opportunities, and very rarely is anything planned or initiated by the manager.
- Suspicious of new ideas
- Competition among managers
- Restricted flow of information
- Suspicion of people who show initiative
- Swings between humanistic and custodial attitudes towards staff and customers/service-users
- General focus on staff and customer/service-user needs
- Lower level of staff job satisfaction
- Less participative and consultative decision-making style
- Internal initiatives are direct reaction to available resources
- Sees each initiative as separate – could be poor at coordination
- Selectively informs other managers – and their own staff – of selected aspects of priorities and plans
Typical behaviours of a crisis management style:
This is the style of management where nothing new or different is considered unless and until a situation of crisis proportions is reached, where the status quo reigns and problems or opportunities are ignored or bypassed until a crisis is reached, emotions are exposed and war is declared!
- Closed to new ideas
- Distrust among managers
- Only a privileged few have access to information
- Intolerance of people who show initiative
- Custodial attitude toward staff and customers/service-users
- Focus on staff and customer/service-user needs only when convenient or forced
- Lowest level of staff job satisfaction
- Closed decision-making style
- Status quo is the norm – unless there is no option
- Each initiative is kept separate – does not encourage coordination, as this could present a challenge to authority
- Only informs other managers – and their own staff – of selected aspects of priorities and plans when formally requested or forced to do so