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Authoritarian verses Democratic Supervision and Decision Making
There are two different kinds of management styles: task-oriented and relationship-oriented. These two styles, in general, reflect a paternalistic/authoritarian verses a humanistic/democratic view of management and decision making that influence and are influenced by a matrix of relational variables between managers, subordinates, task focus and organizational culture.
Tend to emphasize task performance. These leaders are no-nonsense people who tend to work best from guidelines and specific goals. Their first priority is to organize and create guidelines, and then assign duties. However, under relaxed, well-coordinated, and well-controlled situations, they become more pleasant and pay more attention to the morale of their employees.
Concerned most with good, interpersonal relationships, even to the point of letting the task suffer. Relationship-motivated managers tend to become task conscious as they are pressured for greater productivity from upper management.
Types of Leadership Situations
• The leader has a great deal of control and influence.
• The leader has a mixed work environment, either good relationships with subordinates and unstructured or low position power, or the reverse, poor relations with group members, but a structured task.
• The leader has relatively low control and influence and the group does not support the leader. • Neither the task nor the leader’s position of power is given much influence. • High stress or high group conflict may contribute to low control. • Workplace management in these three situations influence communication patterns, decision-making and group process.
In analyzing styles of managerial decision making, Dr. Paul Standal finds there is a hierarchy of manager/employee interactions, depending both on the matrix of the manager’s basic (relationship verses task) orientation and the perceived need for control required in the particular situation or project. From most controlled to most interactive, these are:
• Supervisor makes decision and announces it. • Leader sells decisions. • Leader presents ideas and invites questions and comments. • Leader presents tentative decision subject to change. • Leader presents problem, elicits suggestions and makes decision. • Leader defines limits and asks group to make decision. • Leader permits subordinates to function within limits defined by leader.
Of course, there are other variables in the relationship between the managers and employees that affect the style of decision-making process. For example:
• How much confidence has been placed with subordinates from past experience? • Have the subordinates’ ideas been sought and used if worthy? • Does information flow up or down or both ways? • How accurate is communication that moves upward? • How well do managers understand problems faced by subordinates? • Do subordinates feel that the managers understand the problems they face? • Is there an informal organization resisting the formal one?
Dr. Standal has several suggestions for managers that can make any of these above situations more manageable by reducing the power conflicts in the workplace. Some examples of these include:
• View differences of opinion as helpful, rather than hindrances, in decision-making. Attempt to involve everyone in the decision-making process, since more information usually produces more accurate decisions
• Avoid rigidly arguing for your individual judgment. Dr. Standal suggests that you release the high-control approach on tasks. Instead, use logic in presenting your views clearly and listening carefully to other members’ suggestions and reactions.
• If you find that past decisions are unsatisfactory but rigidly adhered to, look for alternative solutions that are most acceptable for all group members. The decisions are not about a power struggle, but seek to be a group win/win situation rather than on an individual win or loss basis.
• Avoid changing your mind in order to reach agreement and avoid conflict. Support only solutions with which you were able to agree somewhat logically and objectively.
• Avoid conflict-reducing techniques, such as majority-vote averaging or trading, in reaching decisions.
Paternalistic verses Humanistic Views
Our view of others’ motivations influence and are influenced by judgments we hold about those we work with and for. The way we function in a work environment is a reflection of our view of human nature. It can be controlling and paternalistic or proactive and humanistic. No work environment is totally one or the other, but is a combination of both.
People are naturally lazy; they prefer to do nothing.
People are naturally active; they set goals and enjoy driving.
People work for money, status and for awards.
People seek many satisfactions in work. Pride in achievement, enjoyment of process, sense of contribution, pleasure in association, stipulation of new challenges, etc.
The main force keeping people productive in their work is fear of being demoted or fired.
The main force keeping people productive in their work is a desire to achieve their personal and societal goals.
People remain overgrown children and actually depend on leaders.
People normally mature beyond childhood. They aspire to independence, self-fulfillment, and responsibility.
People expect and depend on direction from above. They do not want to think for themselves.
People close to the situation see and feel what is needed and are capable of self-direction.
People need to be told what to do and trained in proper methods of work.
People who understand and care about what they are doing can devise and improve their own methods of doing work.
People need supervisors who will watch them closely enough to be able to praise good work and reprimand errors.
People need to have a sense that they are respected as capable of assuming responsibility and self-correction.
People have little concern beyond their immediate material interests.
People seek to give meaning to their lives by identifying with nations, communities, churches, unions, companies, and causes.
People need specific instructions on what to do and how to do it. Larger policy issues are none of their business.
People need ever-increasing understanding. They need to grasp the meaning of the activities in which they are engaged. They have cognitive hunger as extensive as the universe.
People appreciate being treated with courtesy.
People crave genuine respect from their fellow men.
People are naturally compartmentalized. Their work demands are entirely different from leisure activities.
People are naturally integrated. When work and play are sharply separated, both deteriorate. “The only reason a wise man can give for referring leisure to work is the better quality of work he can do during leisure.”
People naturally resist change. They prefer to stay in their old ruts.
People naturally tire of monotonous routine and enjoy new experiences, and, to some degree, everyone is creative.
Jobs are primary and must be done. People are selected, trained and fitted to predefined jobs.
People are primary and seek self-realization. Jobs must be designed, modified and fitted to the people.
People are formed by their early childhood and youth. As adults, they remain static. Old dogs don’t learn new tricks.
People constantly grow. It is never too late to learn. They enjoy learning and increasing their understanding, capacity and capability.
People need to be inspired with pep talks, pushed or driven.
People need to be released, encouraged and assisted.
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