Q 15Q 15
1. To learn your preferred management style
2. To learn how to match a situation to an appropriate management style
The primary skills developed through this exercise are:
1. Management skill - decision making
2. AACSB competency - analytic
3. Management function - leading
Assess Your Preferred Management Style
Following are 12 situations. Select the one alternative that most closely describes what you would do in each situation. Don't be concerned with trying to pick the right answer; select the alternative you would really use. Circle a, b, c, or d. (Ignore the C ____________ preceding each situation and the S _____________ following each answer choice; these will be explained later.)
C ____________ 1. Your rookie crew seems to be developing well. Their need for direction and close supervision is diminishing. What do you do?
a. Stop directing and overseeing performance unless there is a problem. S ____________
b. Spend time getting to know them personally, but make sure they maintain performance levels. S ____________
c. Make sure things keep going well; continue to direct and oversee closely. S ____________
d. Begin to discuss new tasks of interest to them. S ____________
C ______________ 2. You assigned Jill a task, specifying exactly how you wanted it done. Jill deliberately ignored your directions and did it her way. The job will not meet the customer's standards. This is not the first problem you've had with Jill. What do you decide to do?
a. Listen to Jill's side, but be sure the job gets done right. S ____________
b. Tell Jill to do it again the right way and closely supervise the job. S ____________
c. Tell her the customer will not accept the job and let Jill handle it her way. S ____________
d. Discuss the problem and solutions to it. S ____________
C ___________ 3. Your employees work well together and are a real team; the department is the top performer in the organization. Because of traffic problems, the president has approved staggered hours for departments. As a result, you can change your department's hours. Several of your workers are in favor of changing. What action do you take?
a. Allow the group to decide the hours. S ____________
b. Decide on new hours, explain why you chose them, and invite questions. S ____________
c. Conduct a meeting to get the group members' ideas. Select new hours together, with your approval. S ____________
d. Send out a memo stating the hours you want. S ____________
C __________ 4. You hired Bill, a new employee. He is not performing at the level expected after a month's training. Bill is trying, but he seems to be a slow learner. What do you decide to do?
a. Clearly explain what needs to be done and oversee his work. Discuss why the procedures are important; support and encourage him. S ____________
b. Tell Bill that his training is over and it's time to pull his own weight. S ____________
c. Review task procedures and supervise his work closely. S ____________
d. Inform Bill that his training is over and that he should feel free to come to you if he has any problems. S ____________
C ______________ 5. Helen has had an excellent performance record for the last five years. Recently you have noticed a drop in the quality and quantity of her work. She has a family problem. What do you do?
a. Tell her to get back on track and closely supervise her. S ____________
b. Discuss the problem with Helen. Help her realize that her personal problem is affecting her work. Discuss ways to improve the situation. Be supportive and encourage her. S ____________
c. Tell Helen you're aware of her productivity slip and that you're sure she'll work it out soon. S ____________
d. Discuss the problem and solution with Helen and supervise her closely. S ____________
C ____________ 6. Your organization does not allow smoking in certain areas. You just walked by a restricted area and saw Joan smoking. She has been with the organization for ten years and is a very productive worker. Joan has never been caught smoking before. What action do you take?
a. Ask her to put the cigarette out; then leave. S ____________
b. Discuss why she is smoking and what she intends to do about it. S ____________
c. Give her a lecture about not smoking and check up on her in the future. S ____________
d. Tell her to put the cigarette out, watch her do it, and tell her you will check on her in the future. S ____________
C ____________7. Your employees usually work well together with little direction. Recently a conflict between Sue and Tom has caused problems. What action do you take?
a. Call Sue and Tom together and make them realize how this conflict is affecting the department. Discuss how to resolve it and how you will check to make sure the problem is solved. S ____________
b. Let the group resolve the conflict. S ____________
c. Have Sue and Tom sit down and discuss their conflict and how to resolve it. Support their efforts to implement a solution. S ____________
d. Tell Sue and Tom how to resolve their conflict and closely supervise them. S ____________
C ____________ 8. Jim usually does his share of the work with some encouragement and direction. However, he has migraine headaches occasionally and doesn't pull his weight when this happens. The others resent doing Jim's work. What do you decide to do?
a. Discuss his problem and help him come up with ideas for maintaining his work; be supportive. S ____________
b. Tell Jim to do his share of the work and closely watch his output. S ____________
c. Inform Jim that he is creating a hardship for the others and should resolve the problem by himself. S ____________
d. Be supportive but set minimum performance levels and ensure compliance. S ____________
C ____________ 9. Barbara, your most experienced and productive worker, came to you with a detailed idea that could increase your department's productivity at a very low cost. She can do her present job and this new assignment. You think it's an excellent idea. What do you do?
a. Set some goals together. Encourage and support her efforts. S ____________
b. Set up goals for Barbara. Be sure she agrees with them and sees you as being supportive of her efforts. S ____________
c. Tell Barbara to keep you informed and to come to you if she needs any help. S ____________
d. Have Barbara check in with you frequently so that you can direct and supervise her activities. S ____________
C ____________ 10. Your boss asked you for a special report. Frank, a very capable worker who usually needs no direction or support, has all the necessary skills to do the job. However, Frank is reluctant because he has never done a report. What do you do?
a. Tell Frank he has to do it. Give him direction and supervise him closely. S ____________
b. Describe the project to Frank and let him do it his own way. S ____________
c. Describe the benefits to Frank. Get his ideas on how to do it and check his progress. S ____________
d. Discuss possible ways of doing the job. Be supportive; encourage Frank. S ____________
C ____________ 11. Jean is the top producer in your department. However, her monthly reports are constantly late and contain errors. You are puzzled because she does everything else with no direction or support. What do you decide to do?
a. Go over past reports, explaining exactly what is expected of her. Schedule a meeting so that you can review the next report with her. S ____________
b. Discuss the problem with Jean and ask her what can be done about it; be supportive. S ____________
c. Explain the importance of the report. Ask her what the problem is. Tell her that you expect the next report to be on time and error-free. S ____________
d. Remind Jean to get the next report in on time without errors. S ____________
C ____________ 12. Your workers are very effective and like to participate in decision making. A consultant was hired to develop a new method for your department using the latest technology in the field. What do you do?
a. Explain the consultant's method and let the group decide how to implement it. S ____________
b. Teach the workers the new method and supervise them closely as they use it. S ____________
c. Explain to the workers the new method and the reasons it is important. Teach them the method and make sure the procedure is followed. Answer questions. S ____________
d. Explain the new method and get the group's input on ways to improve and implement it. S ____________
To determine your preferred management style, circle the letter you selected for each situation.
Now add up the number of circled items per column. The column with the most items circled suggests your preferred management style. Is this the style you tend to use most often?
Your management style flexibility is reflected in the distribution of your answers. The more evenly distributed the numbers, the more flexible your style. A total of 1 or 0 for any column may indicate a reluctance to use that style.
Learn More about Management Styles
According to contingency theorists, there is no best management style for all situations. Instead, effective managers adapt their styles to individual capabilities or group situations.
1. Manager-Employee Interactions. Managers' interactions with employees can be classified into two distinct categories: directive and supportive.
• Directive behavior. The manager focuses on directing and controlling behavior to ensure that tasks get done and closely oversees performance.
• Supportive behavior. The manager focuses on encouraging and motivating behavior without telling the employee what to do. The manager explains things and listens to employee views, helping employees make their own decisions by building up confidence and self-esteem. As a manager you can focus on directing (getting the task done), supporting (developing relationships), or both.
As a manager you can focus on directing (getting the task done), supporting (developing relationships), or both.
2. Employee Capability. There are two distinct aspects of employee capability.
• Ability. Do employees have the knowledge, experience, education, skills, and training to do a particular task without direction?
• Motivation. Do the employees have the confidence to do the task? Do they want to do the task? Are they committed to performing the task? Will they perform the task without encouragement and support?
Employee capability may be measured on a continuum from low to outstanding. As a manager, you assess each employee's capability level and motivation.
• Low. The employees can't do the task without detailed directions and close supervision. Employees in this category are either unable or unwilling to do the task.
• Moderate. The employees have moderate ability and need specific direction and support to get the task done properly. The employees may be highly motivated but still need direction.
• High. The employees have high ability but may lack the confidence to do the job. What they need most is support and encouragement to motivate them to get the task done.
• Outstanding. The employees are capable of doing the task without direction or support.
Most people perform a variety of tasks on the job. It is important to realize that employee capability may vary depending on the specific task. For example, a bank teller may handle routine transactions with great ease but falter when opening new or special accounts. Employees tend to start working with low capability, needing close direction. As their ability to do the job increases, their managers can begin to be supportive and probably cease close supervision. As a manager, you must gradually develop your employees from low to outstanding levels over time.
3. Four Management Styles. The four situational management styles are autocratic, consultative, participative, and empowering.
• An autocratic style is highly directive and less concerned with building relationships. The autocratic style is appropriate when interacting with low-capability employees. When interacting with such employees, give very detailed instructions describing exactly what the task is and when, where, and how to perform it. Closely oversee performance and give some support. The majority of time with the employees is spent giving directions. Make decisions without input from the employees.
• A consultative style involves highly directive and highly supportive behavior and is appropriate when interacting with moderately capable employees. Give specific instructions and oversee performance at all major stages of a task. At the same time, support the employees by explaining why the task should be performed as requested and answering their questions. Work on relationships as you explain the benefits of completing the task your way. Give fairly equal amounts of time to directing and supporting employees. When making decisions, you may consult employees, but retain the final say. Once you make the decision, which can incorporate employees' ideas, direct and oversee employees' performance.
• A participative style is characterized by less directive but still highly supportive behavior and is appropriate when interacting with employees with high capability. When interacting with such employees, spend a small amount of time giving general directions and a great deal of time giving encouragement. Spend limited time overseeing performance, letting employees do the task their way while focusing on the end result. Support the employees by encouraging them and building up their self-confidence. If a task needs to be done, don't tell them how to do it; ask them how they will accomplish it. Make decisions together or allow employees to make decisions subject to your limitations and approval.
• An empowering style requires providing very little direction or support for employees and is appropriate when interacting with outstanding employees. You should let them know what needs to be done and answer their questions, but it is not necessary to oversee their performance. Such employees are highly motivated and need little, if any, support. Allow them to make their own decisions, subject to your approval. Other terms for empowerment are laissez- faire and hands-off. A manager who uses this style lets employees alone to do their own thing.
Apply Management Styles
Return to the portion of the exercise where you assessed your preferred management style. Identify the employee capability level for each item; indicate the capability level by placing a number from 1 to 4 on the line marked "C" before each item. (1 indicates low capability; 2, moderate capability; 3, high capability; and 4, outstanding capability.) Next, indicate the management style represented in each answer choice by placing the letter A (Autocratic), C (Consultative), P (Participative), or E (Empowering) on the line marked "S" following each answer choice. Will your preferred management style result in the optimum performance of the task?
Let's see how you did by looking back at the first situation.
C _________ 1. Your rookie crew seems to be developing well. Their need for direction and close supervision is diminishing. What do you do?
a. Stop directing and overseeing performance unless there is a problem. S ________
b. Spend time getting to know them personally, but make sure they maintain performance levels. S ________
c. Make sure things keep going well; continue to direct and oversee closely. S ________
d. Begin to discuss new tasks of interest to them. S ________
• As a rookie crew, the employees' capability started at a low level, but they have now developed to the moderate level. If you put the number 2 on the C line, you were correct.
• Alternative a is E, the empowering style, involving low direction and support. Alternative b is C, the consultative style, involving both high direction and high support. Alternative c is A, the autocratic style, involving high direction but low support. Alternative d is P, the participative style, involving low direction and high support (in discussing employee interests).
• If you selected b as the management style that best matches the situation, you were correct. However, in the business world there is seldom only one way to handle a situation successfully. Therefore, in this exercise, you are given points based on how successful your behavior would be in each situation. In situation 1, b is the most successful alternative because it involves developing the employees gradually; answer b is worth 3 points. Alternative c is the next-best alternative, followed by d. It is better to keep things the way they are now than to try to rush employee development, which would probably cause problems. So c is a 2-point answer, and d gets 1 point. Alternative a is the least effective because you are going from one extreme of supervision to the other. This is a 0-point answer because the odds are great that this approach will cause problems that will diminish your management success.
The better you match your management style to employees' capabilities, the greater are your chances of being a successful manager.
What did I learn from this skill-building experience?
How will I use this knowledge in the future?
Your instructor may ask you to do Skill Builder 5 in class in a group. If so, the instructor will provide you with any necessary information or additional instructions.