Finding Your Own Management Style


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This article was based on episode 37 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Stitcher. Get the mini-guide here or the full guide at Patreon.


What’s your management style?


I was asked that question recently and didn’t have a good answer. There are a number of official management styles: Autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire to name a few. After some research, I decided that none of these styles quite describe what I thought of when trying to articulate my own management style.


How I manage is a combination of what feels innate or automatic to me, what I value, and the specific ways I’ve learned to be effective.


WHAT IS A MANAGEMENT STYLE


According to Chartered Management Institute, a management style is “the manner in which managers exercise their authority in the workplace and ensure that their objectives are achieved. It covers how managers plan and organise work in their area of responsibility and, in particular, about how they relate to, and deal with their colleagues and team members.”


3 FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE


In my experience, management style is influenced or determined by three major factors:

  1. Your personality and preferences

  2. Your values

  3. What you’ve learned works well to achieve the outcomes you desire

These three factors in combination impact how you make decisions, allocate resources and workload, build relationships, give feedback and execute other managerial responsibilities.


PERSONALITY EXPRESSED ACROSS FOUR DIMENSIONS


Personality is one of those tricky areas where not everyone agrees on the ideal model. I prefer Myers Briggs, despite some of the naysayers. I find it extremely helpful as a framework to understand preferences, not strengths or capabilities. In many cases our preferences become our default mode of management.


Introversion and extraversion: How you process information and gain energy.

Introverts tend to process information first by thinking and then sharing their ideas via talking. They also tend to find meetings and interactions somewhat draining and need time alone to recharge. Extraverts tend to think as they talk, processing and forming their ideas at the same time as they’re sharing them. They also tend to get energized by meetings. They tend to find alone time more draining and need the interactions to recharge.


Extraverted managers, for example, may prefer to have meetings more than introverted managers. When something comes up, they want to talk it through and problem solve out loud.


Introverted managers, for example, may need time between meetings to recharge. Back-to-back meetings often leaves them with low energy and a need to do some quiet desk work away from interruptions.


Sensing and intuitive: The information you’re drawn to.

People who prefer sensing tend to like details and put a lot of weight on past experiences. People who lean towards intuitive tend to prefer big-picture thinking and put more emphasis on the future.


When delegating work, sensor managers, for example, will likely ask for a lot of details and provide a lot of details. Intuitive managers, on the other hand, will likely avoid details in favor of describing the future vision of success.


Thinking and feeling: How you make decisions and invest in relationships.

Obviously, we all do both thinking and feeling, just as we all do each of the 8 aspects of the MBTI dimensions. For thinkers, the primary focus is on logic whereas for feelers, the primary focus is on values and people.


Feeler managers, for example, will typically invest heavily in building relationships with their team members. Thinker managers will often emphasize data, facts, and logic when making decisions, with less concern for the impact on people.


Judging and perceiving: How you approach time.

People who prefer judging enjoy planning and closure. Those who prefer perceiving are more spontaneous and stay calm under pressure.


Judger managers are likely to use work plans and encourage the team to break down projects into milestones and tasks. They’ll generally be anxious to see progress and create a sense of urgency as deadlines approach.


Perceiver managers will likely revisit decisions as circumstances change, not feeling the need to stick to a single plan. They themselves may also procrastinate on their own deliverables, but never miss a deadline.


All of these dimensions interplay with one another, heightening or reducing how a preference is expressed. For example, an SJ (sensor judger) will be even more interested in details and plans than an SP (sensor perceiver). An EF (extraverted feeler) will be even more invested in relationships than in IF (introverted feeler.)


EXPRESSING VALUES IN YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE


The second input into your management style is your values. What’s important to you? What do you care about?


Values are developed over time, through direct experience, our family, community and societal cultures, faith traditions and more. What you consider to be important will be reflected in how you behave as a manager.


For example, a manager who highly values integrity may be more adamant about dependability. She will expect people to do what they say the’ll do, and hold everyone, including herself, accountable. He may feel strongly about owning up to mistakes and expecting his team members to be honest about theirs as well. Or, she may be a stickler for ethical behavior and professionalism under all conditions.


LEARNINGS IMPACT YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE


The last input is what you’ve learned works well as a manager. These learnings may come from external sources such as podcasts, books, and TED Talks, or from personal experience of managers you’ve worked for or observing other managers.


These learned behaviors may not feel fully natural to you, but you understand why a certain behavior, approach or tactic will enable your team or an individual member to be more successful, so you do it. Perhaps, over time, you internalize these approaches.


DESIGN YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE


Rockstar managers are always learning and growing, seeking new and better ways to manage their team and achieve their goals. Reflect on your personality and preferences, your values, and what you’ve learned about being an effective manager. To help you do this, check out this week’s mini-guide which contains a list of common values and how they may be expressed in common management responsibilities. You can also learn more about your personality and preferences with a personality coaching session. Members of The Modern Manager community get 30% off individual and team sessions.


Remember, no management style is perfect. Each of our styles is both enabling and hindering because no single style works for every employee. The important thing is to develop a style that works for you and your team, and enables you to collectively achieve your goals and thrive.


Get the free mini-guide here or 30% off personality coaching when you join on Patreon to help you better understand your preferences and management style.


This article was based on episode 37 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.

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