Management Models and Leadership Styles
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - Joe Kiedinger
The two management styles that I’ve encountered—and are most prevalent in today’s workplace—are the “X” and “Y” models of management.
The “X” model is a “do it or else” style. This is closely related to a military boot camp style. Workers are told the what to do and not why to do it. It is a dying style due to the influx of the Millennial generation not putting up with it. Companies are realizing this Baby Boomer style is not the most effective way to lead people. The Pros are: things move quickly because decisions and directives are given quickly. When the top leaders realize there needs to be a shift in strategy, that shift is responded to immediately. The Cons are: people will quit, not wanting to be treated in this manner. And, it’s difficult to keep good workers engaged. These companies spend more of their resources on recruitment and training than their “Y” model counterpart.
The “Y” model is management by consensus where all must agree before moving forward. These companies have many meetings and wish for everyone to contribute their ideas before making a decision. The Pros are: people feel like they have a voice. They are welcomed to contribute their ideas. This management style tends to be more social and relationship-based rather than task-based. The Cons are: process changes come about slowly, so there is an inability to move at the high speed of business. Once a decision is made, the issue has changed. These managers struggle with accountability and honest feedback—which is critical for personal growth and achievement.
My management model is Servant Leadership (“SL”). It is strict but fair, celebrates small wins and treats each person as unique. The “SL” model is comprised of two words. I will define both. Servant: meeting legitimate needs, not wants. Leadership: the ability to influence another person creating a win/win. The “SL” model is about giving the manager the autonomy to create his or her own mini-culture within the broader corporate culture. They are held accountable to the results, not the process by which they achieved the results (assuming it’s through an ethical practice). This is my style and the style that speaks to every generation currently in the workforce. I would say it closely resembles parenting. We want our kids to learn from their mistakes, so we mentor them, not manage them. Through our counsel they become independent contributors because their values guide their decisions. This is the most effective style for today’s world.
The strangest management style I’ve seen is the “Wing It” model. This is the style of most small business leaders. They haven’t established clear values, a mission, or a vision and they’ve never really managed before. This is typical of young entrepreneurs who hire their first employee without a plan. They learn their style through pure gut feelings and experiences. They expect everyone to manage him or herself, like they do. I know this model very well, because that was me fifteen years ago.
My suggestion for a new manager is to study the “SL” model. The world is changing, so studying antiquated ways of management isn’t productive. It’s important to note that management models are different than leadership styles. I have already shared the models of management. It’s important that the manager engage in leadership training. We need to go from an age of manager to mentor. Managers manage things, time and themselves, but a manager can’t manage a person—they must lead them. We need both leaders and managers to make business truly successful.