The process begins with the manager himself, continues with the interaction with the individual, and then finally finds expression in the team as the systemic union of these individual employees.
The literature on the different management styles can easily fill a multi-story office building and is always part of business studies. During our university studies, we learned about the classic division between authoritarian and democratic styles, which certainly had its justification…decades ago! With New Work, many ideas of organizational culture and leadership have been reconsidered and partly given new labels. An appropriate mix of different leadership styles is being propagated today.
Leadership styles are important because, in view of the growing shortage of skilled workers, they do not only decisively influence team success, but can also meet employees’ demands for an attractive workplace and thus score points on the job market to address worker supply and demand.
Leadership Style Challenges
Again and again, I have experienced that managers have simply “imitated” a management style and have thus failed. This is no wonder, really, because the type of leadership essentially depends on the personality that practices it.
Eine Vielzahl von Bedürfnissen gebündelt unter dem Dach einer gemeinsamen Aufgabe und damit höchst unterschiedlichen Ansprüchen an einen Führungsstil.
What does this look like in practice?
When it comes to teams, we as managers are always faced with two tasks at the same time: Recognizing an individual for his unique potential and keeping him motivated while at the same time promoting team goals. The team, perhaps a multicultural or cross-departmental group of people with different personalities, potentials, points of view and ways of thinking, should together achieve a set goal. Thus, a multiplicity of needs are bundled under the roof of a common task and thus require a leadership style which can motivate and enable them as individuals in addition to as a team to be able to work on their tasks in the best way.
This is a great challenge for every manager — that is obvious — because the enabling of a team presupposes that everyone, not only with regard to his individual abilities, but also with regard to which position and function he takes in a team, must be considered. The executive thus performs a permanent balancing act between individual and team dynamics.
And this is precisely what is of considerable importance for team success.
Factors of Successful Leadership
In times of a shortage of skilled workers, the additional requirement is to establish a management style that combines motivation with productivity. In my experience, three factors are important:
- the manager him/herself
- the individual employee
- the team as a system
Leaders Must Know Themselves and Their Role
The manager should not only have profound knowledge of different leadership styles and their effects. Rather, the successful leader today is one who can also distinguish between self-perception and external perception as well as recognize where his own strengths and weaknesses lie. As a manager, one is not an abstract or fictitious personality, but someone who must act as an ambassador for the corporate culture and as a direct participant in all processes of team development. Therefore, it is important to be aware of your message and its effects when using “leadership style instruments.” This applies not only to communication, but also to decisions and their medium- and long-term effects.
We have to be able to form an impression of their personality structure, their motivations, their direct and indirect goals.
Leadership Styles Require In-Depth Employee Awareness
As superiors, we are required to deal intensively with our direct employees. We have to be able to form an impression of their personality structure, their motivations, their direct and indirect goals. If it is not possible to find out in which area an employee can develop his or her potential based on his or her abilities, this will sooner or later be reflected in performance and their willingness to perform. Then, we do not get the level of cooperation and input we need to make the team work effectively and run the risk of losing team members. This in turn has an impact on team interactions and success.
Consider Team Dynamics
Last but not least, it is important to recognize which dynamics exist within the team and who plays which role. The classical processes of group dynamics can be used to check current situations and to check the status of cooperation and thus the ability of a team to achieve goals. This also means actively intervening in conflict resolution or intervening quickly enough before problems or disruptions escalate. Here, too, it is crucial to have a good view of what is happening, not only from a technical point of view, but above all from a situational point of view.
Leadership style is therefore much more than just a set of instructions or personal responsibilities or making decisions for the employees.
The process begins with the manager himself, continues with the interaction with the individual, and then finally finds expression in the team as the systemic union of these individual employees. This gives us a broad spectrum multi-faceted management portfolio that is by no means rigid, but requires continuous review in order to guarantee its positive effect.