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What Type of Manager or Leader Do You Want to Be?
by Duncan Brodie

You probably notice that when you go into a bookshop, there are no shortage of books on the subject of management and leadership. Management and leadership style is often one of the topics that is covered. It is also a common question in job interviews.

Management and Leadership Styles

A significant amount of research has been undertaken in this area. Sadly, there is no one conclusive style that seems to fit the bill. In many ways this reflects the complexity and diversity of managing and leading. Let's take a few examples to illustrate the different styles:

• You are dealing with a major incident: In this type of scenario, teamwork will be important, but so will decisiveness. It might be most appropriate here to use a partly participative and partly directive style

• You have to lay off staff: Here you will want to handle things as sympathetically as you can. Consultation and communication will be important so a participative and consultative style might be most appropriate

• You are facing a merger: Here you will want to re-assure staff and let them know the benefits. In this scenario, a communicative and selling style might work best

In addition to the situation you are dealing with, you will need to consider factors like:

• Your own preferred mode of operating

• The preferences of those that you are managing

Determining your preferences

We all have our preferences in terms of how we operate. Remember this is neither right or wrong just what works for you. In determining your preferences, think about two or three significant situations that you have had to deal with. Ask yourself questions like the following:

• What was the style of management that I adopted in each situation?

• What were the outcomes that I achieved in each situation?

• What did I do that I am proud off?

• What did I do that I am disappointed about?

• How did I feel once I had dealt with the situation?

• What did I like about myself?

• What did I dislike about myself?

In determining your preferences, it is really important to reflect not just on what you did but also your feelings about what you did. The latter are often good indicators of your preferences.

As well as self reflection, you can ask your peers and managers for their feedback on where you tend to be more effective as a manager and leader. Their feedback will give you a good insight into what style works for you.

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong in this area. It is about finding a style that brings out the best in you while still honouring your core values.

Duncan Brodie may be contacted at
Duncan Brodie is a Leadership Development Coach and Management Trainer. Sign up for his free monthly newsletter at


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