Management Styles in the Workplace. What Style are You?

By Coleen Kulkin on August 02, 2017

What are Management Styles?

There are different Management Styles just as there are different Personality Styles, but they are not mutually exclusive. DISC Personality Theory has been widely accepted as the basis for understanding observable behavior since the 1940’s when Marston introduced us to The Emotions of Normal People. In his groundbreaking book, he focuses upon observable behavioral dimensions, rather than “hidden” and “abnormal dimensions,” which up until that time, were the focus of all research and remediation. Marston’s major contribution was to highlight that everyone had the same behavioral dimensions, only in differing intensities, therefore all people have the same “normal” capacities, though some devote more energy to certain dimensions. Do you know which behavioral dimensions you favor? Find out here.

It’s important to note, the idea of “styles” as a theoretical format, helps us make sense of complex behavioral dimensions. Grouping like characteristics (i.e. DISC) helps us better understand, navigate and predict behaviors that impact relationships, work, and contentment.  Management styles, another theoretical format, have been debated by theorists for years and can be overlaid and used in tandem with the DISC to some extent.

Three Management Styles

In exploring management styles proposed, theorists often agree that there are three true styles of management: participative, autocratic, and laissez faire. The “participative” style is hands-on, the “autocrat” style is a dictator of what needs done, and the "laissez faire" manager is very relaxed and lets things happen as they will. Have you ever worked for a boss that fit into one of these categories?

Seven Management Styles

Perhaps three management styles are too restrictive for a wide variety of management approaches. In exploring these styles further, I would argue there are at least seven styles worth recognizing. Do you fit any of these descriptions? Can you see where the DISC style influences the management and leadership style and practices?

Popular Management styles (with DISC correspondence)

  1. The Delegator (High D styles) – This style likes to make strategic decisions and then hand their decisions off for others to implement and refine. They are not afraid to assign projects to their team but usually expect high-quality work. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: Often, in crisis situations they get things done and can immediately take action – if they have a good team around them.)
  2. The Encourager (High I/S/C styles) – This cheerleader type is constantly trying to motivate their team. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: It’s any place where there is also some substance and hands-on involvement. Don’t just encourage me, help me!)

  3. The Instructor (High S/C styles) – They like to “teach” and instruct so others might know more or be capable of performing more tasks competently. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: In situations where there is a large learning curve, and where it is important to bring all the team members to an equal level of competence).

  4. The Rewarder (High D/I styles) – They like to promote contests, team goals, etc. and often tie some type of compensation or “gift” (like a day off or a trip) to their winners. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: It’s often times when the positions are competitive within their own nature - like sales).

  5. The Compliant (High C/S styles) – Great at making sure corporate policies and procedures are always being adhered to or met. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: A highly regulated industry - the military!)

  6. The Theoretical (High C/I styles) – This style is very creative and is constantly trying out new ideas and theories for success. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: Think marketing , ad agencies, public relations firms)

  7. The Operational (High S/C styles) – Efficiency is their motto and their team operates as a well-oiled machine. Where do you think this style might manage best? (Hint: Think manufacturing, engineering, or other fields which require a high degree of business strategy with the ability to logically and efficiently implement the ideas).

Think about the best boss you ever had. What style do you think they were? Why did you enjoy his or her style? Perhaps it’s because their style is similar to your style (Hint: like styles attract like styles).

Which style do you think is best? The reality is, all management styles serve a purpose, so often times management is situational. Think about it.

Discover Your Management Style

PeopleKeys recommends to understand yourself first and then try to understand others. The 4D (4-Dimensional) Report reveals 1,440 unique behavioral dimensions and shows you your unique combination of strengths to help you maximize your success.

Watch this video to learn more!

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About the Author: Coleen Kulkin

Coleen is the Director of Product Development at PeopleKeys, helping bring new DISC products and updated reports to-market through research, development, validation studies and testing. Personality Style: S

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