Even the world’s top leaders cannot always score points for their supervisory styles, when not riding with the times.

Let’s see how that worked out for Google.

Larry Page, for example, had a difficult CEO style that led him to fire all project managers at once.

As a result of such an unpopular move, he had to step down from the manager’s position in favor of Eric Schmidt.

Eric Schmidt took on more of a paternalistic supervisory style.

Page and his co-founding partner Brin had to remain on the sidelines of their public managerial role but still largely contributed to the company’s growth.

However, not every company is Google with a solid foundation to make costly mistakes.

Mistakes that you make with your supervisory styles can cost you a client, or your best talent, and even destroy your small company.

The famous leadership styles called autocratic, democratic, transformative, and laissez-faire are outmoded. 

How about expanding on these basic supervisory styles with uncommon practices to create a unique management style suited only to you that brings out the best in your team?

Moving towards a more humanistic, decentralized, and circular view of management and supervision is not just an abstract concept — it is a way of giving a new breath to any business struggling with obsolete supervisory styles and practices.

Best Supervisory Styles, According to Employees

When asked what made their managers excellent CEOs, employees listed these characteristics that distinguish a great manager from an okay one:

  • Empathy
  • Fair dealings
  • Delegated decision-making
  • Approachability
  • Providing growth opportunities 

If you are familiar with Mary Follet’s management theory, she talks about partnerships between leaders and learners, in which every party plays a reciprocal role. As long as you have the ear to listen to your employees, you can learn a lot from them. That helps with engaging through a common purpose to create a rewarding supervisory style.

1. Rewarding Supervisory Style

Practicing these essential CEO leadership skills will help you develop an effective rewarding supervisory style:

  • Fast decision-making, which may need to be based on incomplete and unclear information.
  • Stakeholder engagement to understand their role’s importance on the team.
  • Proactive adaptation according to customer behavior and market trends, in contrast to leading the team by the book.
  • Reliability by consistent follow-through on their word with action.

Learn more: How to Improve Your Persuasive Management Style

2. Pacesetting Supervisory Style

Pacesetters set the norm. Pacesetting leadership usually creates high standards so that the team follows with identical results.

Building high-performing teams is only possible if you start high and the team then exceeds expectations. Such teams require minimal management and are highly skilled. The team culture strives toward constant improvement.

The downside of the pacesetting supervisory style is that it can drain your team’s resources. In the long term, it can cause stress.    

3. Affiliative Supervisory Style

The affiliative leader is focused on people and practices advanced communication skills.

The focus on emotional bonds doesn’t have to be an isolated tool in your management arsenal so that your only goal as a supervisor is to create harmony at work.

You can use the affiliative supervisory style as a conflict-resolution method, for stakeholder engagement, and to acknowledge employees.

Affiliative leadership can be extremely powerful in stressful circumstances. 

Learn more: What Your Conflict Management Style Says About You

4. Coaching Supervisory Style

The leader as a coach doesn’t issue commands but asks questions. The coach’s role is to support staff in finding their own way. 

When they come to you with a problem, you don’t deliver the solution on a gold platter. 

As a coach supervisor, you hone your team’s problem-solving abilities and identify past similar experiences to stimulate growth.

Moreover, your best solution may not be the same or even as good as your team’s best solution.

The idea is to build independence and avoid getting approached for a similar issue next time.

Adding a coaching element to your other supervisory styles is a must if you want to grow your team and your business.

Learn more: Coaching as a Leadership Style on Virtual Teams

5. Integrative Leadership Style

What does it mean to have an integrative leadership style, according to Mary Follet

1. Circular behavior. 

Circular behavior is based on the “power-with” principle. This is unlike the “power-over” principle typical for authoritarian leadership.

The power-with principle is about integrative influence.

Integrative influence means that every leader, co-worker, and team member has equal opportunities to influence each other.

2. The winning leadership type

In a situation that is always evolving towards integration, the three types of leadership don’t stand an equal chance of helping organizations grow.

Among the leadership of position, the leadership of personality, and leadership of function, the last one comes as a clear winner.

3. Integrative unity

Integrative unity means thinking non-confrontationally.

Conflicts are resolved through integration, and not by domination or compromise. Decisions are made based on facts and power, and not by imposing expert opinions or pressuring consent.

The integrative supervisory style favors cooperation before obedience.  

What skills do you lack as a supervisor that prevent you from growing your team to the next level?

Find out how to build and lead teams that exceed performance all the time.

join the decentralized revolution


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