Insight: Leaders who exhibit a visionary style of management exponentially increase the likelihood of organizational health.
One way to think about management styles is as a continuum that ranges from totally hands-on to completely hands-off. Experience shows that many entrepreneurs and small business owners fall on, or lean toward, one extreme or the other. Unfortunately, both extremes are bad for your personal and organizational health.
A healthy organization is one that is likely to be successful and even prosperous because it is able to maximize its effectiveness. Prosperous leaders articulate clear personal and business missions. They develop and nurture a high level of trust with and among their employees, which enables them to feel comfortable delegating responsibility and authority to their workers. As a result, they are able to focus on what they do best and what’s important for the business. This approach is good for their personal and organizational health and prosperity.
In my work with entrepreneurs and small business owners, I see a common evolution of management styles that prevents far too many of them from becoming the visionary leaders that they aspire to be. Unless they learn how to break out of this dysfunctional pattern, they doom their businesses to mediocrity at best, and failure at worst.
Here’s how this pattern progresses. Because entrepreneurs often start a business by themselves, they necessarily are totally hands-on. Unfortunately, as they begin to hire employees, they retain an iron grip on every aspect of the company. Often they believe – falsely - that no one can do things as well as they can, so they hoard the tasks and responsibilities. As their stress level grows, they become control freaks. Employees begin to disengage, as they feel disrespected and de-valued. When the stress becomes too great, these leaders shift to the other extreme, exhibiting a completely hands-off management style. Employees are free to do as they please, as there is little to no accountability. Instead of cooperation and collaboration, the workplace is marred by conflict and competition. Another promising company plummets toward failure.
Prosperous leaders are able to avoid these two extreme management styles because they have a strong sense of self-esteem. Rather than being overly controlling or turning over the business to employees, they are visionary. That is, they develop a clear mission that inspires others to take action. They demonstrate their trust in their employees by delegating both responsibility and authority to their teams. As a result, the organization is able to thrive.
Knowing your management style will enable you to step back and see what’s working and what’s not. To find questions that will help you determine at which end of the continuum you tend to lean, please see chapter 13 of my book, The Prosperous Leader: How Smart People Achieve Success.
If you would like to learn more about how to optimize your organization’s health and prosperity, I invite you to visit my website for additional free resources. There you will find related articles, an organizational health self-assessment, and an organizational health checklist. Or contact me for a 30-minute personal consultation.