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How Different Management Styles affect Employee Motivation & Productivity

Whether you manage a large team, an entire business or perhaps just one or two other people, it is your job to make sure that the work is done.

One of the main influencing factors in this has to be the motivation of your employees.

Employees that are lacking in motivation are less likely to be focused on their work. They will also be less likely to take on any challenging parts of the role or to go above and beyond what you expect from them.

What you may not realize is that your management style could be having a huge impact on employee motivation, and employee productivity.

Here are some of the ways that your own particular approach to management could be having a detrimental effect on the motivation of your employees.

Autocratic Management Style

How Different Management Styles affect Employee Motivation & Productivity - Autocratic

This particular style of management is when there is usually one person who has the say on any decisions that are made. There is no argument when it comes to the decision they have made, and they will not accept suggestions.

Adopting an autocratic management style can affect employee productivity and motivation as it tends to:

  • Create a sense of mistrust between Managers and employees
  • Not be the ideal place to foster creative ideas from employees, nor encourage them to take ownership over their role.
  • Make staff feels as if they are easy to replace, and not key to the company, given they are only performing a job that has been laid out step, by step for them.

Each of these management traits can impact employee motivation, and if you find yourself adopting an autocratic management style, you should ask yourself how you can empower staff to make their own decisions and take a more proactive role in the day-to-day management of their job function.

Democratic Management Style

How Different Management Styles affect Employee Motivation & Productivity - Democratic

If autocratic is a “do as I say” approach, then democratic is definitely more geared towards everyone working in collaboration.

These type of managers will be more than happy to listen to thoughts and concerns raised by their staff, even when it comes to making a big company-wide decision.

As a result a more democratic management style typically has a more positive impact on employee productivity and motivation by:

  • Giving employees a sense of ownership of their day-to-day role.
  • Allowing the employees to feel as if they have real input into the daily operations of the business, and to see that their voice is actually heard by management.
  • Create an environment move open to new ideas and innovation, or at the very least provide a platform in which they can be discussed.

While a democratic management style is often considered the best approach, there are times, and people who don’t necessarily respond well to this type of leadership. In highly regulated industries or positions that involve a great deal of risk (i.e. working in the armed forces) it is often worth trading employee flexibility/independent for safety and security of the team as a whole.

Laissez-faire Management Style

How Different Management Styles affect Employee Motivation & Productivity - Lassiez-faire

A laissez-faire management style is a much more casual approach to leadership. These managers believe that an employee-led approach is the way to go, and provide minimal oversight into the day-to-day role of their employees.

Often they will encourage their staff to make their own decisions and set their own task list. This works particular well where you have a self motivating workforce who have “bought into” the project as a whole and aren’t necessarily working in the role solely for financial benefit.

The key benefits of the Laissez-faire management style when it comes to employee productivity and motivation is that it can:

  • Lead to new and innovating ideas being rapidly adopted within a company.
  • Employees are self motivated and work at a higher pace/intensity given their personal interest in the tasks assigned to themselves.
  • A flexible management structure allows employees to better balance work and family commitments which may increase employee retention rates.

While the laissez-faire approach can be a very productive environment in some industries it doesn’t suit all employee types.Often there are people who want direction or to simply be told what to do.

In this instance adopting a laissez-faire management structure is likely to lead to a decrease in productivity as your employees simply don’t know what to do on a daily basis.

At the end of the day, your job as a management and leader within your organisation is to understand your employees, the industry and the tasks that need to be completed and then adopt the management structure that is going to lead to the best possible outcome. In many instances you may even find yourself taking a hybrid approach depending on the specific projects or people you manage.

Also published on Medium.