Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding your tendencies, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
In your closet you likely have a few clothing options. Casual, professional, formal, etcetera. Depending on where you are, who you're with and what you're doing, you'll wear an appropriate outfit... hopefully. Imagine your management styles are just like your outfits. You get to choose which one is appropriate depending on the situation. So, let's talk about common work styles and choosing your style appropriately. Here's a description of common work styles, how they appear to remote employees, and when they are best applied.
The first is pace setting, which is a style where you expect and model excellence and self-direction. This style can appear to remote employees as "Do as I do". It is most effective when you can assign a task to an individual on your team, give them a time frame and then allow them to set the pace. You set the expectations, they self-manage and execute the work. Next is the authoritative style, where you mobilize the team toward a common vision and focus on end goals.
This often looks like a "Come with me" approach to remote employees. This is effective in a situation where you and your team are taking on a brand new major project. Using an authoritative style, you hold the team meeting and share your ideas and goals to create a common vision. The affirming style works to create emotional bonds that bring a sense of belonging. Both remote and local employees typically see this as a "People come first" approach. This is particularly effective when your team is under pressure for deadlines or have had a heavier than usual workload.
It can rally the team and gives them an understanding that you appreciate them for what they contribute. Another universally effective style is the encouraging style which seeks to develop people for the future. This usually appears to employees in the form of "How about you try to do this?" Any time you see a strength that is valuable and you want to sustain it within the individual in your team, point it out and encourage them. In contrast, the coercive/directive style demands immediate compliance.
If this style's appearance were summed up in one phrase, it would be "Do what I tell you." This is effective and often needed when an issue surfaces that needs to be addressed immediately. You harness your own expertise and tell your team what needs to be done. Lastly, there is the democratic/participative style which builds consensus through participation. It is commonly perceived by remote employees as a "Tell me what you think" style. This a great style to use when you have time to work through an issue and can consider getting your team's input on ways to solve the problem.
Given these styles, here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself as you examine a situation and choose your approach. First, what do you need to produce? Think about the result you're trying to create. Do you need collaboration? Something reviewed by an expert? Identifying your result can help you choose your style. The next major question is how much time do you have? Believe it or not, time can be a great way to determine a suitable management style.
If you only have a day to do something, it might be best for you, your team, and your customer to say what needs to be done and how it needs to happen. To help you examine your management style and when you might apply different ones, I have included an exercise file to accompany this video. Available for Lynda.com members. Understanding your tendencies and using management styles intentionally can help you dress for the occasion. Examining your styles could help you avoid wearing a tuxedo to the gym.
It could work, but you probably wouldn't have the best workout.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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