Imagine you were at the circus and saw a pony perform the same trick over and over again.

You can be sure that eventually the audience would get bored and the trick would lose its wonder. And the circus boss? You can bet he’d start thinking about replacing that pony’s trainer with one who’s more versatile.

It’s the same with managers.

Pony up
Too many are “one trick ponies” who early in their careers find a managerial style that works for them and keep using it year in and year out regardless of the situation.

Maybe the manager is a Command and Control type – a “general” in complete and unambiguous charge of everyone and everything. Or maybe he’s Democratic; building consensus to gain buy-in and being inclusive of his people and their ideas.

In the right situations these two approaches can be exactly what is needed. But use them when they’re not appropriate and you can end up getting a result that’s the opposite of what you really want.

A need for flexibility
In today’s complex business environment, no single style is going to work in every situation. And the higher up in management you get, the more you’ll feel the need for managerial flexibility.

To achieve that flexibility and increase your chances for success and advancement, we suggest learning a variety of managerial styles including:

  • Relating. This style centers on building rapport with employees – and those employees bonding with each other. The leader focuses people on their common goals while being sociable, likeable and knowing the important facts about his or her employees and their families.
  • Goal Setting. This style is about communicating vision and outcomes. It’s where you tell your people exactly what result you need them to reach and then let them figure out how to do it.
  • Hands-On is appropriate when a manager needs to intervene in order to ensure that things get done. If a rep is stuck at a particular part of the sales process and needs help, the Hands-On style allows the manager to intercede.
  • Coaching. This style is all about effective mentoring – asking the questions that allow employees to find their own answers. It offers advice and direction while providing the kind of follow- up that ensures success.

What about you? Do you use the same managerial style all the time? If so, consider whether you might profit by building up a menu of styles you can order up when appropriate.

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