There are forests worth of books espousing their own management styles. There’s probably a copse of books within that management forest telling you that you need to constantly adapt and change your style. However the idea of management styles suggests that management is a top down activity, something that is imposed on workers that they will respond to. The reality of the situation is that each business sector, each business unit and each business activity all need different styles of management. There will be elements that unite management across all those parts of an industry but the only universal element is when it comes to management is “people” and people are unique.
Every employee you deal with will be unique, their own person and have aspects to their personalities individual to them. The universal of managing people is that once you recognize this you can become a far more effective leader.
There are questions that human resources will ask by default in every job interview, “Are you a team player?” is the number one. Of course some people are not team players, but if they’re looking for a job they’re sure to say they are. Others grow up dreaming of working in a team, be it a sports team or a team of software developers who share their passion for code. Another question asked is “How do you deal with high stress environments?” And again most people will give an answer they believe the business is looking for. That is all part of the interview process. Finding out the true personality of a potential hire is difficult, and unless you have true expertise in hiring processes at every interview you will learn a little, but maybe not enough.
Once someone is in the business and under your purview the real challenge starts. Those questions you asked in during the interview need to be top in your mind as you manage. You need to be asking yourself, “How does he deal with stress?” and “Is she really a team player?” After a few months you will have an idea of the basic capabilities of the person but it is only by really understanding someone that you can bring out their best work.
Despite the answers given in the interview process everyone will approach teamwork differently, and everyone will have a different response to stress. The management styles you need to act on every day are the ones where you come to understand people’s responses to a situation and create an environment that works best for each individual. These questions were important during the hiring stage to see if the person would fit in the business and the different management styles. They are even more important now that you’ve decided the person can be a valuable member by making sure they can bring their best to the team.