There are many different styles and methods that managers use when trying to achieve employee unity and productivity. Each style has its benefits and drawbacks, and each style affects overall productivity in a different way. As a part of its Lessons in Leadership series, the Wall Street Journal defines these six management styles:
- Visionary Style. Provides employees with long term direction and vision by moving people towards a new objective. This style does not direct people how to reach these new goals, so it is most effective when employees are innovative, willing to experiment and take risks. It is not very effective when employees need more guidance, or if they are inexperienced and need detailed information about how to proceed.
- Coaching Style. Provides for long term professional development, encourages employees by providing more opportunities for development. It is most effective when motivation already exists, and will be the least effective if it is perceived as micromanaging or undermining. A compliment to this style is using incentive awards to get employees to strive harder to meet the goals that you set for them.
- Affiliative Style. Creates harmony by emphasizing team work and connection. This approach is effective for increasing morale and communication but it is also best when used in conjunction with another style as the focus on group performance can allow for poor individual performance to go uncorrected.
- Democratic Style. Creates group commitment and consensus by drawing on everyone’s knowledge and skills. This style is most effective in an already steady environment that may be unclear on its current goals but may be ineffective in a time of crisis as quick decisions are necessary and time for a meeting is not possible.
- Pacesetting Style. Used to promote higher standards of excellence by having the leader set the standards and requiring the same high standards from their employees. This style works well when managing experts, but in other situations can be damaging to morale by leading others to believe they are not performing well enough and are failing.
- Commanding Style. Requiring immediate compliance and control using discipline. This style does not often involve praise or recognition, opting for criticism and other negative motivators. This style is generally considered ineffective except in emergency and crisis situations when urgent actions and compliance is necessary.
Once a leader has an understanding of the different management styles are and what their effectiveness is in different situations, they also need to take into consideration the different tools of motivation that are available. Incentive awards are one tool that can be used in a variety of ways to maintain a motivated and productive group. Promoting and encouraging specific behavior by giving rewards in the form of cash or gifts, these programs are useful to increase overall employee performance. The U.S. Army uses an incentive awards program stating that “public recognition of superior ideas and outstanding individual and group performance helps build morale.” Some examples of incentive awards are:
- Training and certification programs
- Productivity improvement programs
- Nominated recognitions
- Initiatives to increase quality or performance
Having motivated employees that are engaged with their jobs and other employees is key to increasing the productivity of a group, and maintaining high standards of quality and job satisfaction. Employees perform best when their goals are clear, they feel supported by their managers and other superiors, they feel valuable to the company, and when they receive personal as well as financial satisfaction from their jobs. Using a combination of appropriate management styles and tools will help achieve this balance in more employees.