No matter how long you’ve spent working in the trades, construction or service industries, you’ll undoubtedly know just how much a great manager can bring to the job. Whether it’s providing professional guidance, sharing their knowledge or inspiring you to perform at your best, a successful manager helps you thrive in the workplace.
Perhaps you’re now a manager or business owner and want to step up your game and provide your workforce with the same care, diligence and good governance. This is a good mindset to have, as being a great manager starts by accepting that your employees need a strong leader with the determination to reach a shared goal. It’s essential to understand this because your role as a leader makes you dependent on the people who work under you no matter the situation. That’s why it’s crucial to have a reliable team you can trust to carry your vision whether they’re working by your side or on their own.
To become an exceptional manager, you should always try to present yourself as someone who is mindful and willing to inspire their team to work at their very best. Reaching this point, though, requires dedication and the willingness to pursue your goals for leadership, rather than assuming that the knowledge will simply come with time. Hiring the right employees is a great place to start and can help you build a successful team. But helping them grow into the workforce you want them to be means you need to look carefully at how you work with and manage your employees.
We refer to this as your ‘Management Style’, and it’s critical to understand what this is before you can begin working to improve it.
Management styles are how a manager works to achieve goals by using their planning, organisation, and delegation skills to influence employees. These goals can be anything; whether it’s faster job completion or increased invoice turnaround, your management style will hopefully push employees toward meeting your expectations and then exceeding them.
But this begs the question:
How do you develop your management style and improve on what you’re already doing?
This article will outline and discuss four powerful management styles that you can draw on to help you run a better business and grow your success. We’ll also discuss what makes each style particularly applicable to the trades, services and construction sectors, how to apply each style and what types of employees each style is best at targeting.
1. The Persuasive Style
Centred around the idea that managers use their persuasive skills to convince employees to follow decisions or orders, the persuasive style is perhaps the best way of motivating workers quickly.
What makes this style so valuable is that it retains the top-down (boss-to-employee) leadership style but doesn’t revolve around simply ordering employees to complete tasks. By explaining your decisions, workers feel more like trusted and valued team members, rather than drones whose thoughts and feelings come second to the task at hand. Doing this leads to less resistance to ideas and can lower the resentment that some staff may feel if their professional experience is similar in strength to that of the boss.
To begin working the persuasive style into your management system, start providing detailed explanations to back up your expectations regardless of the task you are assigning. Employees can still feel left out of decision-making no matter how persuasive you are, so it’s vital to always have a reason on hand to back up your professional decisions.
The persuasive management style is also perfect for dealing with stubborn workers who are set in their ways, as it gives you plenty of chances to actively shift their thinking. Be aware that this style is only helpful if you have more relevant professional experience or knowledge than the team you’re leading. If not, it may not be so easy to justify why you know best.
2. The Consultative Style
In stark contrast to the Persuasive Style, a consultative manager starts by asking for their team’s opinions and thoughts, rather than convincing them of their own. By seeking alternative viewpoints and consulting employees, this style hopes to draw on workforce expertise to turn a larger pool of experience into more successful actions.
The consultative style is useful in specialised trades or services and niche construction sectors, where staff are more likely to be experts with unique input to provide.
By seeking out this expertise and leveraging it, a consultative manager will develop better outcomes by fostering a deeper bond with their workforce. More connected employees mean greater company loyalty and workers who are more willing to help you grow your business using their knowledge and capabilities.
When working the consultative style into your management system, it’s worth seeking out the most senior or highly qualified employees in your business first and testing your practices on them. As you gain more experience in narrowing down a large pool of ideas into affirmative action, you can work towards incorporating more of your workforce’s input into final decisions. Be aware, though, that a consultative manager will often find themselves time-poor, as seeking staff input requires both time and effort to get good results.
Businesses with a large number of employees with specialised knowledge are where the consultative style shines most, as it provides you with a varied selection of experience to draw on. However, it’s important to act on the knowledge you receive, or employees will see your attempts to gain their input as being shallow if it rarely impacts the choices you make.
3. The Coaching Style
If you want to grow your business by supporting the growth of your team, then the Coaching Style might be the perfect choice for taking your management practices to the next level.
This style is all about putting your team’s professional development above everything else and using directive learning to shape how your workforce tackles tasks as a result.
The coaching style is best used when you want to invest in your business’s long-term strategic development. You’re looking to dictate how staff approach issues and solve problems by teaching them how you’d do these things yourself.
This, in turn, creates a situation where your employees think like you would, meaning less need to provide direct instructions as your workers can solve their problems actively. To effectively use a coaching management style, it’s worth first taking a step back and making sure that you’re capable of acting as a teacher as well as a boss. As you coach your employees, it’s vital that you consider every outcome, as once you’ve taught somebody something, it can be challenging to change their thinking should the need arise. Coaching style managers should also ensure that they hire employees willing to accept ongoing learning as part of their professional obligations. If employees resist your attempts to instruct them, it can be costly and time consuming to recruit more candidates who better fit your needs.
Also be aware that some employees aren’t accustomed to having a manager that’s focused on coaching them to further growth rather than leaving them to their own devices. By making sure that you still offer autonomy to those who ask for it, you can keep employees from feeling like they’re being micro-managed.
Coaching managers are strongest when they have the right employees working under them. If apprentices make up a large part of your workforce, the coaching style can be a great fit, as less experienced employees are more willing to learn and be taught. Take note, though, that this style can often see employees competing for a chance to work with you, so take care to ensure everyone gets the attention and instruction they need to thrive.
4. The Visionary Style
A far riskier style than any we’ve covered so far in this article; a visionary manager leads solely by inspiring staff and then leaving them to complete tasks and push for business success. This style is identified by the manager’s strict adherence to the principle that their workforce can work without their direct instruction and guidance, needing only a clear goal in sight.
The visionary style is a powerful tool in very niche trades, services or construction sectors, where your employees are some of the best or most knowledgeable and need no professional mentoring. Autonomy is everything, and the more driven your staff are by the prospect of working freely, the more successful a visionary manager will be at getting the best out of them.
Don’t think that being a visionary manager means choosing a goal and leaving the rest to your workforce, however. Managers using this style must offer large amounts of constructive feedback to fill the hole left by a lack of top-down instructions, and this includes lots of praise where necessary.
Staff working under a visionary manager should believe in what they are doing and feel compelled to complete work to the best of their ability. Self-motivation is a key consideration when hiring employees and will prevent high staff turnover. The reason for this is that many professionals can find it hard to work without a boss constantly motivating them and may feel disconnected from the business over time.
Be aware, though, we noted this style as risky for a reason, and it’s not just because it puts the power squarely in the hands of employees. It can be difficult to inspire employees without the proper experience, and low employee motivation can quickly spell disaster for a visionary leader. Consider how most management styles, including the ones we’ve covered so far in this article, are able to be adjusted if they fail to hit the mark in the beginning. A visionary leader, on the other hand, must have a clear plan from day one or risk losing their employees’ belief and having them fail to perform as a result.
With these four styles in mind, you can adapt your management technique to fit virtually any situation and rally employees of all experience levels and skillsets to do their best. However, true management brilliance comes by accepting that your management style should always be dependent on the type of employees you have available to you. As you grow more accustomed to using a specific management style, try to take ideas from other styles and use them to form your own unique methodology. By following what we’ve set out in this article, you’re already on the right track to achieving this. But always remember, no matter which style you adopt or create, the key to getting the most out of your workforce will always be your ability to inspire people.
With your workforce performing at their best, a good manager needs a powerful digital system that can match their employees’ pace. AroFlo is a job management software solution that helps savvy business owners get the best out of their operations. With KPI tracking systems, time-saving automation and innovative cloud-based features, we help you grow towards the success your business deserves. Want to see what we can do? Follow this link to book a demo, and one of our sales staff will be in contact soon.