Managing a staff team in order to get the best from them is no mean feat, in fact leading a staff team could be described as an art! Managing people with differing personalities, skills and sensitivities is tricky due to the unpredictable nature of the humans. If you get your management and leadership style wrong you are likely to have a mutiny on your hands, get it right and you will have a happy team producing high quality work. All of us will have experience of meeting poor and excellent leaders. Even at school, we were able to decipher between the teachers who were able to inspire interest and learning and those who frankly should never have considered teaching as a career!
As well as excellent leadership skills, to get the best from a staff team the office environment needs to be conducive to the production of high quality work. Gone are the days when offices were dark, dusty and uninspiring spaces, much research has been undertaken to understanding the psychology around working environments. If you really want to ensure that you get it “right” for your staff it may be a good idea to consult the expertise of a company whose main focus is on Office Fit Outs. They will be able to design, build and construct the ideal office environment. Any financial investment is likely to be returned tenfold as your production levels and profits will rise.
If you have recently been promoted into a leadership role or you are already a manager, but your staff morale is at rock bottom, it may be a good idea to look at your style of leadership and adopt one which is more conducive to a pleasurable work environment. There are several styles of leadership, all with their own individual pros and cons. It’s often useful to use different styles depending on the situation you are presented with, so be prepared to be flexible.
The remainder of this article will focus on some of the main leadership styles.
The autocratic style of management is directive and controlling. Staff have little say in how tasks are completed and creativity is not encouraged. This style of leadership doesn’t encourage the use of praise for motivation, a consequence of which often means that morale can be quite low. This style of leadership is often described as being the least effective.
There are times when the autocratic style of leadership could be seen as useful. For example if you have a strict deadline to meet.
A visionary manager encourages creativity within a staff team. The end result which needs to be achieved is communicated to the team along with clear goals. The team is then encouraged to be creative in deciding how the end result will be met. This style of management values each individual team member and places a sense of ownership within each team member. Teams working under the direction of a visionary manager are often innovative, committed and productive. There are many benefits to this style of leadership however there are some negatives too. If the staff team is inexperienced the lack of direction may increase failure rate, causing stress and low morale. More experienced staff are also at risk of becoming complacent if they are not watched closely. For an experienced happy team this style of management works extremely well.
Every person within a staff team has a particular skill and something they can bring to the “table”, a democratic manager recognises this and ensures that every team member is able to input their skills in order to reach a goal. Reward and praise is a regular feature which encourages a committed team who work well together. If a decision needs to be made the whole team are involved. If everyone gets the chance to have their say they will feel that it is important for the task to be completed to a high standard. The staff feel valued when managed by a democratic leader and morale is normally high.
The democratic leader will not have an easy ride however, as this style of leadership requires a lot of time and energy for it to work effectively. The number of meetings required for decisions to be made is time consuming and staff supervision is high. If you have an important deadline imminent it may be necessary to adopt a different style of leadership to speed up the process.
To conclude, every manager is naturally drawn to a particular style of leadership. It is really important to reflect on how your leadership skills impact on the productiveness and wellbeing of your staff team. Make adaptations in your style as necessary.