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July 20, 2020

4 Manager Types — Which One Is You?

Summary:

The biggest difference between managers is in their attitude toward their duties. Each type is best-suited for a different type of team.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

There have been multiple attempts to profile managers and make an ultimate classification. As an international company with 2,200-plus people on board, Itransition employs a range of managers of different levels of seniority, so we have created our own manager taxonomy. 

From our point of view, the biggest difference between managers is in their attitude toward their duties. A management style is also often shaped by the person’s priorities: whether to focus more on task assignment or enforce strict adherence to job obligations and schedule. So we put these factors at the core of our classification to distinguish among four manager types. 

Let’s explore how each of them approaches their responsibilities and builds relationships with the subordinate teams.  

The Warden: good at discipline, weak at sustainable relationships

When we think about managers, many of us immediately imagine the Warden type. They are strict and don’t hesitate to raise their voice. Wardens make sure their workflows run like a Swiss watch and closely watch completion of every task, even the smallest ones. They stun people around them with their ability to keep everything under control and establish their management style on dominance and authoritarianism. 

Warden

A Warden often hovers over employees and controls every step they take, ensuring team members clock in and out according to their schedule. Asking them for time off or a much-deserved holiday inspires awe and fear in the one who dares. There is an element of craziness to the whole character: Even being five minutes late can invoke serious penalties.

People who love their job and genuinely want to learn feel overly restricted by Wardens and tend to leave for other jobs where there is a laxer management style. People who prefer to obey without questioning and prioritize discipline more often than not get along with Wardens.

This type of management is well-suited in times of crisis or for businesses with low employee retention, where employees are paid by hours and don’t form long-term relationships with their employers. Wardens make good supervisors for drivers, cashiers and those in similar occupations.

The Counselor: careless about goal-setting and discipline

The Counselor type is the complete opposite of the Warden. They give off an aura of peace, tranquility and positive energy and prefer to be at the same level as their team, not above it. As long as everyone is happy, everything is peachy.
Counselor

Counselors easily allow their subordinates to run personal errands in the middle of the day. They never torment their staff with questions about what they are doing, who gave them tasks and what the reasons were. A Counselor tends to be on friendly terms with each team member and is eager to spend time together with them even after hours.

Goal-setting is Counselors’ weakest point, so they rarely establish clear KPIs or a yearly plan. Instead, most of their energy goes into creating a welcoming atmosphere within the team. 

This management style perfectly suits creative teams: artists, designers, musicians and such. Because they love what they do, they do not require overbearing guidance and micromanagement to complete the project. However, if engaged in the projects with specific time constraints, creative specialists do need managerial drive, motivation and guidance to steer them on the right course.

The Leader: good at task assignment, weak at discipline

Leaders are mostly concerned with properly assigned tasks and optimized business processes, and they stay unmoved when someone comes to work 30 minutes late. They interfere only to a degree that ensures KPIs are successfully met. A Leader can establish personal relationships with each team member yet only for the sake of enhancing efficiency.Leader

Such managers can achieve amazing results with almost any team. They can organize the workflow to fit everyone’s schedule and agenda, assign tasks intelligently, follow through with their completion and resolve any complications before they turn into result-threatening problems.

The relationships between Leaders and their subordinates are based on mutual respect. What they care about most is results, and if a GP appointment or remote work once a week doesn’t get in the way of achieving them, Leaders are all for it. At the same time, arriving late to a meeting with a client or failing to meet deadlines is likely to undermine trust in the employee.

Appointing Leaders to teams with low staff retention or independence-seeking creative specialists will be just a waste of their potential. Instead, they should be designated for projects of special importance or performance-critical functions, like guiding a team of other managers.

The Good Manager: a cross between Wardens, Counselors and Leaders

As nothing in life is black and white, these manager types describe extremes rather than people in flesh and blood. A Good Manager, however, is a pretty feasible concept. This is a professional who knows when to put on a hat of a Leader, when to crack a Warden’s whip and when to bond with the team like a Counselor.

Good Managers stand out from the crowd and effectively lead teams of any size or expertise because of:

  • The ability to resolve issues before they disrupt the working process.
  • Self-possession, or communicating confidence and positivity to the team members.
  • Healthy self-esteem, or a sound estimation of their competence and ability to put it to proper use.

However, as practice shows, the ultimate quality of a Good Manager is the ability to make everyone happy. Some managers focus solely on the well-being of their team and are constantly trying to improve working and payment conditions. Others concentrate their efforts on making the board of directors content, ensuring that goals are achieved and profits are growing. The best managers, however, balance their efforts to equally cater to the needs of both groups.

We hope this article will give managers food for thought and inspire them to look at their management style from a new perspective. The article should also prove useful to business owners, providing guidance for finding managers they can trust with their enterprise and human resources.

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About the Author

Dmitry Azarov is chief marketing officer at Itransition, a software development company.

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