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Three Subtle Ways Management Style Affects the Boss-Employee Relationship

If you have even one employee, you understand some of the challenges associated with managing people effectively. What you may not know is that your management style may be subtly influencing the way each employee perceives you. As a result, the ways in which you manage people affect the boss-employee relationship. Learning how your style affects this relationship will help you be a more effective business leader.

Management Styles and Their Benefits

There are five distinct management styles: democratic, paternalistic, autocratic, laissez-faire, and servant leadership. Those who use the democratic style encourage employee input when making decisions. Paternalistic managers try to consider the best interests of employees as well as the company when making decisions, but they still retain control over all decisions at all levels. Autocratic managers, also known as authoritarian managers, request little input from employees and give them little autonomy. Laissez-faire managers allow their employees to make big decisions, give very little guidance, and maintain a hands-off approach. Servant leaders are self-effacing managers who focus on the needs of their employees.

Your management style may fit into one of these categories, or you may display behaviors from a blend of two or more styles. No matter which of them applies to you, the way you lead your employees subtly influences your relationships with them.

Employee Perception

The first way your management style influences your relationships is by affecting the way employees perceive you. If you use an autocratic management style, your employees may think that you do not value their knowledge and expertise. If you use a laissez-fair management style, your employees may think that you do not take your business seriously, as this style can leave employees feeling as though they have little guidance when making major decisions. Understanding which management style you use will benefit you by enabling you to communicate with workers in the most appropriate way and resolve conflicts in a productive manner.

Innovations Through Feedback

Another way your management style affects the boss-employee relationship is by influencing the technology tools and business products you use. The democratic style is one of the management types that may work well with the use of whiteboards and bulletin boards, as these tools can help you solicit feedback from employees. Using these tools can therefore help you build more collaborative relationships with workers. If employees feel that they have the freedom to try new things, they may also be more innovative in their approaches to solving problems.

Pitfalls of Not Recognizing Your Management Style

Your management style also affects how you communicate with employees, so you may unknowingly be damaging your relationships with workers simply because your communication style is not compatible with theirs. If you are an autocratic leader, for example, you may use the word "I" frequently, which could influence employees into thinking that you do not share the credit for company successes with your workforce. If you previously managed employees for a large corporation, the formal management style may not work well with employees in a small business. You must be able to recognize which of the management types describes your style so that you can use that information to communicate more effectively.

Whether you are new at managing people or have been doing it for years, your management style has a significant impact on how employees perceive you. Once you understand your management style, it is possible to adjust your behavior so that you can use it to your advantage instead of letting it affect your relationships with employees in a negative way. It may be helpful to invest in some management training programs or books about management style to help you make any necessary changes. Adapting your management style to better suit your employees, either on your own or through training, will better your boss-employee relationships and strengthen your company.

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