In order to maximize success in their role, managers must establish a style that integrates their personality and the needs of the team, while answering the demands of the job. Consistent demonstration of your style will drive a lasting impact on the team and culture.
Infuse Your Personality
Louis van Gaal or José Mourinho? Both managers have found success in their careers with vastly different approaches, rooted in expressing their personalities. Van Gaal is more “in your face” and confrontational, with players and media alike. Mourinho is more cerebral in his approach, emphasizing psychology and a focus on players.
I have had coaches very active throughout games – shouting tactical direction throughout. In a way, with this, the direction was clear, expectations constantly set…loudly: constant reminders of how you practiced, an ability to quickly correct and communicate, sometimes overbearing. I have also had silent coaches, who understood that players on the field make the decisions and that any corrections would be made at halftime or through substitution.
At work, there are ways to measure your personality for management style. For example, Deloitte’s Business Chemistry has four behavioral patterns, the mix of which helps you determine how best to work with others and how others should work with you.
At Jabian, we all take a Trimetrix survey or “test” to understand our management style. I have seen clients in the past use Insights, which gives each person who participates a set of “puzzle pieces” that they can display at their desk, allowing others who approach them, meet with them, or walk by to quickly understand how best to engage with that person’s style.
Individuality expressed through management style often differentiates in the eyes of the team or other stakeholders (fans, business partners, etc.) The style must resonate with the group of players and the organization.
To be successful in a management role, it is important to let your personality guide your style.
Harmonize with the Needs of the Team
A manager’s personality will only go so far as it fits with the personality of the team and team members. If not in harmony, the team may not succeed.
How does your style influence the way you nurture leaders internally? I’ve found consistency is key to developing trust with the team and players – whatever the style, being consistent will maximize its impact on team members.
While you can select a style fit for your personality, it may need flexibility as teams change and players come and go. Should your management style drive team selection or should you adjust your style based on the team? What should be more flexible? There is no clear answer, but continuously monitoring how these work together will lead to more sustainable success.
I had a coach who would take notes and would share them at halftime. I had a coach who preferred not to talk after the game because it was best to save for practice. In theory, this style shifts accountability to the players to solve problems but relies on independent players who are capable of self-management. If the team cannot or will not do so, this style would fail.
At work, the use of town halls can help maintain the alignment of the team to your direction. The use of team meetings allows for group discussion on approaches or actions. The use of 1:1s can help understand individual desires, concerns, and risks.
Are you managing a team of new hires off campus in their first “real” job? Are you managing a large offshore delivery team? Are you managing a suite of executives? Depending on the nature of the team, you must tailor your style.
Selecting a management style is your choice, but you must continuously weigh the perception of the team and their needs.
Answer the Demands of the Job
Lastly. every team is in a different situation: different expectations and different skillets. As a manager, your job is to understand and meet the specific expectations and maximize the team’s skill sets. It is your role to understand the job’s demands and tailor your style to meet those demands.
In terms of expectations: some teams are seeking promotion or avoiding relegation. Others are trying to finish “Top Four” to secure their place in the Champions League. Depending on the need, management style may differ. If you are managing Amazon versus managing a startup, your style would need to differ. If you are managing a consumer brand versus managing a large bank, your style would need to be adjusted.
In terms of skillsets, if the team is not good at X, you need to practice X. If the team is great at Y, find a way to maximize Y. Your style must meet the team where they are. At work, if you have a strong, analytical finance team that struggles to tell stories, partner them with someone from communications or marketing to develop your earnings release. If your marketing or sales team struggles to stay grounded in detail, partner them with technical design teams to ensure you are promoting reality.
Maximizing your success as a manager in your organization will be dependent on your ability to find the appropriate mix of personality and team member relationships, and deliver the intended outcomes for your role. How you select that mix may differ in every situation but will ultimately lead to your personal success.