I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my career to work for some truly great managers. And most of the managers that I have worked for would probably say the same about the managers that they’ve worked for. They learned how to be great a manager (or leader) from great managers and leaders, just as I learned how from them.
Unfortunately, I have encountered many business owners that never had a great boss (manager, supervisor, leader) to learn from.
On top of that, some have never held a managerial or supervisory position before starting their own company. They never had the opportunity to experience or learn how to be a great manager before striking out on their own.
Without any experience, most of them tend towards managing others the way they would like to be managed. The flaw with this approach is that many employees are not the type of person who would go out and start their own business. So there are personality differences between the owner and the employee from the get-go. Meaning that the best approach for managing the business owner may not be the best approach for managing the employee.
Maybe the employee is less motivated, or less confident, as well as any number of other possible factors that differ between the employee and the owner.
So, a style of management that would motivate a business owner will most likely not be effective with their employees.
Why is management style important when learning how to be a great manager?
According to the “Decoding Global Talent” survey by the Boston Consulting Group, the top ten factors of employee satisfaction ranked in order of importance are:
- Appreciation for your work
- Good relationships with colleagues
- Good work-life balance
- Good relationships with superiors
- Company’s financial stability
- Learning and career development
- Job security
- Attractive fixed salary
- Interesting job content
- Company values
The first four items on the list are highly dependent on how employees are managed. It is said that 80% of liking your job is having a good boss.
So, if how you manage your employees is the most important factor of their job satisfaction and job satisfaction is the most important factor of their productivity, then learning how to be a great manager is of paramount importance.
How to know how to manage your employees?
Some business owners I have worked with are naturally great managers, but most are not. Quite a few of them decided to start their own business because they didn’t want to work for someone else anymore.
Many of them have had bad experiences with jobs and bosses in the past, and it shows in their management styles.
Most would prefer not to manage at all and have promoted a culture of mushroom management (keep the employees in the dark throw a bunch of work at them and hope they grow).
Others try to be friends with their employees; they work at creating an extended-family culture. If they hire the right type of people, this can work well. At least until the company grows beyond the reasonable management scope of the owner–typically about 15 people.
Most literature on management styles references six approaches. I believe Hay/McBer published the original work on this. Look below to identify your strengths and weaknesses:
Another useful tool is this 5-minute survey that will help you identify which styles you use. However, as the survey points out, this only measures your management style based on your own perception. So it may or may not be an accurate reflection.
So, how can this help you learn how to be the best manager? Practice, practice, practice. You need to practice using all six of the above management styles.
Good managers can implement each of the styles as needed. They thoughtfully select which one to use depending on the circumstance at hand, the people involved, and the outcome desired.
Spend a few minutes before each meeting thinking through what will be happening, who will be there, and what you want to achieve. Based on this assessment, you will learn to select the management style that will work best.
The better you become at using all six styles, the better you will understand how to be a great manager.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: