Employees often complain about an annoying boss and managers about unmotivated employees. Too often, because much resentment can easily be avoided. Dissatisfaction is not only harmful for those affected, but for the entire company. It has been scientifically proven that good employee satisfaction ensures a pleasant working atmosphere and increases productivity. How happy are employees in their job depends on many factors. As a manager, you may not have much leeway in the area of tough framework conditions such as working hours or financial remuneration. However, there are other facts that you can influence very well, for this your leadership style matters a lot.
One aspect that contributes significantly to job satisfaction is good leadership. You can positively influence the atmosphere in the office and the balance of your employees. Likewise, unfavorable leadership can ruin many things. In this article, we deal in detail with the topic of employee management. What typical mistakes do bosses like to make and how can they be avoided? What leadership styles are there and which one suits you best? You will find answers to these and more questions here.
What leadership styles are there and which one is the right one?
In order to work towards good leadership, it helps to analyze your own approach. Familiarizing yourself with the different leadership styles can be a great help.
Think about what suits you, what can be anchored well in the company and what style sounds promising. You will probably come to the conclusion that you are not 100% convinced of any of the leadership styles presented. That would actually be very surprising. After all, every company and every person is individual. There is no such thing as the perfect leadership style. Rather, individual facets can be drawn from the different styles in order to develop a new, individual way of leading your team.
Check for yourself where you place yourself at the moment and where you might see potential:
Although the authoritarian leadership style is considered obsolete, it is still used today. The decision-making authority lies entirely with the manager. She delegates the tasks to the subordinate employees. The focus is solely on the performance of the employees.
The workforce is above personal needs. Since every decision is made exclusively by the authoritarian manager, there is a risk that employees will lose the motivation to think independently and innovatively.
The cooperative leadership style is a modern type of leadership that many employees approve of. In contrast to authoritarian leadership, the individual needs of employees play a major role.
The aim is to create a good relationship between employees and managers. Demanding but achievable goals are set in a personal exchange. The provision of services is on the same level as employee orientation.
Laissez-faire leadership style
With the laissez faire leadership style, employees experience the most freedom in terms of making decisions. As the boss, you hardly get involved in what’s going on – neither professionally nor personally. The goals are clearly formulated by you, but the implementation is up to the employees. They are asked to organize themselves independently and to make the necessary decisions in order to achieve the set goal.
The large scope for decision-making shows that the employees are trusted to achieve the goals independently. There will be employees who will reach their full potential and give 100%. However, there is also a risk that some team members may lose motivation due to the lack of feedback given in the laissez-faire style of leadership.
Patriarchal/matriarchal style of leadership
The term patriarchal leadership style can be derived from the Latin and means something like “rule by the head of the family”. The matriarchal leadership style refers to leadership by a female person. As the term is based on, the supervisor functions as a kind of parenting role in this style. In this way, the boss should serve as a role model for the employees to emulate.
The needs of the employees and a pleasant working atmosphere have top priority with this style. The positive facets can provide a strong motivational incentive, but without any pressure, the performance orientation can be overshadowed.
In the bureaucratic leadership style, the leadership position itself plays a subordinate role. Goals, processes and decisions are bureaucratically defined. All of the company’s structures and processes are predetermined and must be followed. This applies equally to employees and managers. The relationship between these two parties can be described as formal and distant. The bureaucratic leadership style is a classic example of government.
Agreeing on goals is typical for transactional leadership. Positive results are rewarded with recognition, while failure to achieve goals results in sanctions. The relationship between boss and employee hardly goes beyond the agreement of goals and orientation towards results. The employee’s needs are irrelevant.
This form represents a further development of transactional leadership, with the focus being much more on employee orientation. The main thing is that the supervisor manages to positively influence (transform) the employees. By creating incentives, the team should be mentally stimulated. Visions, values and expectations should be conveyed in this way.
The management style is characterized by mutual trust. A special feature is to analyze the weaknesses and strengths of the employees and to find a task tailored to them. Since everyone is employed where their skills lie, everyone is an expert in their field. This leads to a dismantling of hierarchies. The supervisor works on an equal footing with the team.
Tips for good leadership
Every employee is different and should therefore be treated individually. Well-intentioned advice could be good support for one person, while another could feel patronized by it. A sure instinct is therefore required. We have put together a few tips below that you should pay attention to when managing your employees.
Tip 1 for managers: treat each other with respect
It is a pity that this point has to be listed at all. After all, treating employees with respect should be a matter of course. In fact, however, it is not uncommon for employees to feel disrespected. This can be a strong motivation brake.
Don’t look at the employee only as a worker, but as an equal human being. Conversations should always take place at eye level.
Tip 2 for executives: motivational support
In every company there are days when things are not going smoothly or employees are not at full capacity. As a manager, you have the opportunity to steer against it. Lead by example, be a role model. What is the daily goal and how can it be achieved together? Create a sense of community and communicate openly.
Tip 3 for executives: The big picture
In large companies, employees can quickly feel insignificant and useless if they do not understand why they are doing the work they are assigned to do. As the boss, you have the overarching goal in mind. Make sure that employees in all positions know what they are working towards, what development the company is aiming for and what part they are contributing to the big picture.
Tip 4 for managers: Clearly formulated rules
Establishing clearly formulated rules has several advantages. They ensure structure and order, they give employees orientation. It is important to formulate the rules in an understandable and clear way so that everyone knows what is going on. If everyone has to follow the same rules, there is no problem that individual employees feel disadvantaged. It is particularly important that managers also follow these rules.
Tip 5 for executives: Compensation and reward
Hardly any employees make their labor available out of sheer selflessness. Everyone wants to be rewarded appropriately. On the one hand, of course, it is about a satisfactory salary. But that’s not all that matters. Recognition and appreciation are also of great importance. Thank your employees for a job well done or give them praise. For even greater effect, this can be done publicly in front of other team members.
Tip 6 for executives: Do not criticize as an embarrassment
As good as it is to receive praise in a public setting, it is just as bad to be criticized by your superior in front of your colleagues. The conversation will be overshadowed by shame. Instead, pull the affected employee to one side and have a face-to-face conversation. In this way, the person concerned does not feel exposed and will be able to concentrate better on the criticism.
Tip 7 for managers: Motivation through identification
If your employees can identify with the company, this is worth its weight in gold. In this way, the team will celebrate company successes just as they record losses as personal defeats. Identification with the company is a strong motivating factor and at the same time reduces the risk that resourceful employees will apply to others.
Tip 8 for executives: Keep an open ear
Happy employees are good employees. When employees have problems in their personal lives, they can seldom put them aside when they start work. As a result, they cannot concentrate properly on their work when they are under heavy stress. Understanding can help in such cases. communication is key: Make sure your employees have something on their mind that they would like to share with you. Meet them with an open ear.
Tip 9 for executives: Appraisal interviews
It makes a lot of sense to hold regular appraisal interviews. In these you can get feedback from your employees. Do not be afraid of criticism, after all you can use it constructively: What is not going well, where is there room for improvement?
Create a corporate culture in which criticism and suggestions for improvement are accepted. In this way, employee satisfaction can be increased even further.
Another focus in the appraisal interviews can be the quality and review of the work. Discuss long-term and short-term goals so that the employee always knows what is expected of him/her.
Common mistakes in leadership
As we have already discussed in detail, good leadership can make a significant contribution to a company’s success. Carrying an image as a good manager is an added bonus on top.
With all the opportunities that good leadership can bring, there is of course the other side of the coin. Bad bosses have the potential to ruin things. Declining employee motivation usually affects quality and productivity. The success of the company suffers as a result.
In order to protect you from bad leadership, we have compiled the following typical mistakes that can unfortunately be observed again and again by superiors.
Leadership Mistake #1: Control mania
There are managers who always have to know and control everything. Every letter is checked, every customer conversation is subsequently analyzed. This type of control is also detrimental to the superiors themselves. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to be able to follow all work processes. This leads to a lot of stress and, in worse cases, can even end in burnout.
Too much control on the part of the boss can also have a very negative effect on the employees. Reviewing even the smallest of tasks suggests a lack of trust. The result is reduced motivation and less initiative.
When it comes to control, the right balance is key. It is usually not possible without it, but too much is also harmful. It is good to know the strengths of your employees. Then you know in which areas it is not necessary to double check.
Leadership Mistake #2: Only negative feedback
Anyone who has done something wrong will hear about it. Finally, buggy behavior should be worked on. Of course, negative feedback cannot be dispensed with. However, when criticizing, try to take a constructive approach.
On the contrary, positive feedback is often scarce. It is exactly what motivates many employees. So don’t save in the wrong place. It is advisable to include regular feedback in appraisal interviews – both negative and positive.
Leadership Mistake #3: Not admitting mistakes
A common mistake in leadership is not acknowledging one’s own mistakes. Managers are often afraid of losing face and therefore blame their employees. This will not go well in the long run in particular, as the employees will see through the behavior. Also note that this trait can rub off on the team, so they too will try to hide their mistakes or blame them on others.
Making mistakes is human. They happen to your employees just as they do to you as a manager. There’s a good chance your employees will give you credit for acknowledging your mistakes and taking responsibility for them.
Leadership Mistake #4: Avoid Conflict
In a team, the most diverse personalities collide and it is expected that they work together in harmony. That’s utopian. Conflicts, disagreements and arguments can be part of everyday work life.
Many executives prefer to stay out of such situations. For good leadership, the position of dispute mediator is also one of your tasks. Take the time to get the concerns described from the point of view of the parties involved, act as a mediator and try to achieve a discussion. Resolving conflicts among employees is essential for a balanced working atmosphere.
People management mistake #5: Vague goal setting
If it is not clear what the work is actually done for, motivation drops significantly. What contribution do I make to the success of the company? Every employee should be able to answer this question. Make sure it is. Communicate important information and new paths that are being taken.
If your employees understand the decisions you make, there is a higher likelihood that they will be supported by the employees.
You can learn leadership
There are many pitfalls that can unknowingly turn you into a bad leader. We have summarized the most important mistakes with regard to employee management. Of course you can go into much more detail here. On the other hand, we have shown you which tips you can follow to develop good leadership. There is no perfect leadership style, but you can get close.
Basic skills that leaders need to have cannot be gained through experience alone. After all, you often don’t notice mistakes if you don’t change your perspective. It is therefore advisable to seek outside advice. For example, there are further training courses for management positions that focus on management skills.
Another option is professional advice. Would you like more productivity, more innovation and more ambition from your team for your company? The support of trained specialists on this topic can work wonders.