You’ve just accepted your first management position. Congratulations! Now you are responsible for leading a group of individuals toward a goal. There’s a lot riding on your team’s success – and that can be terrifying. How do you begin navigating your new role?

Let’s explore what it means to be a manager and examine various management styles.

What is Good Management?

First, consider your own experiences. Did you ever think about leaving a job because of poor management? What bothered you about the person’s leadership style? Did they constantly stand over your shoulder, or barely offer direction and input? Did they welcome open discussions, or insist on a specific path?

A poor manager may impact employee turnover, wreaking havoc on a department or company.

Conversely, “smart managers create opportunities for people to use their strengths,” says Lori Goler, Head of People at Facebook, in an article for Harvard Business Review. “Great bosses… open doors to meaningful tasks and learning opportunities — they enable their people to be energized by their projects, to perform at their best, and to move forward professionally without taking steps backward at home.”

What is a Management Style?

A management style encompasses a leader’s decision-making, planning, organization, and the way they interact with staff.

There are several “management styles,” but many styles possess similar character traits.

  • An authoritative or autocratic manager dictates all decisions without input from the team. Similarly, a friendlier “father knows best” approach implies his way is the most advantageous for everyone. Often, he is a micromanager. This style can be effective when dealing with unskilled workers or large groups. It also can backfire, creating staff resentment and stifling individuality and innovation.
  • A democratic manager invites staff collaboration and input. Open communication makes employees feel valued, building team trust. That can lead to increased motivation, productivity, and professional growth as she encourages staff to challenge themselves. However, democratic decision-making can be time-consuming. Also, basing every decision on majority rule may not be in the best interest of the company.
  • A laissez-faire manager is very hands-off, trusting her staff to do their work with minimal interference and oversight. This can be an effective way to manage people who clearly understand the project and their own role in it. A self-reliant team can become more cohesive. Unfortunately, a hands-off manager may not always share her “big picture” goals. Her delegative approach may leave staff wondering if she values their contributions or cares about the outcome.

What is Your Management Style?

Again, think about your own experiences and consider modeling managers you admired. Which of their leadership traits can you emulate? Based on your personality, you may naturally gravitate toward a particular management style. Ultimately, by knowing the advantages and pitfalls of each, you begin to understand when and how to utilize each style to become more effective at directing your team toward success.

If you’re ready to take the lead on your career, consult with the placement experts at Pro Staffing Resources.