What’s Your Management Style

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7 Minute Read
Posted by Lori Culler


In order to successfully manage a business, it’s important to identify and employ a specific management style true to you and your company. Management styles range in approach, but all have the same basic end goal: to bring success to your operation through managing your staff and operations.

Management styles are derived based on the way a manager plans, makes decisions, and manages their employees. Your style as an ag manager will vary based upon your level of management experience, the specific area of the agriculture industry you work in, and your persona.

What kind of management style suits you?

As agriculture recruiting experts, we work closely with various types of managers. Whether you manage a major agriculture sales team or a small family farm, it can be helpful to understand what kind of management style you lean towards.

This guide will walk you through the 10 major types of management styles, how they differ in approach and the pros/cons of each.

10 Primary Management Styles

For those of you looking to change up your own management approach, keep in mind you’ll likely associate with more than one of the following styles.

If you’re in the process of recruiting for agriculture managers, the list below will help you identify the type of manager to be on the lookout for as you screen and interview candidates!

1. Democratic Manager

A manager who employs a democratic approach is one who is willing and eager to hear everybody out in the business. Your decisions will be made based on a group consensus rather than on just one or two people.

Instilling a sense of democracy through your management will show your employees you have the utmost trust in them and their input, as well as instill them with a sense of accomplishment and work pride. When someone’s opinion is being heard and considered they are much more likely to stay involved and work harder.

With the democractic management style, it is unnecessary to have to give commands or rule with a big stick. When you believe in your employees and value their judgment and advice, you will find there’s no need to fire off commands or rule with an iron fist. You believe employees can largely govern themselves and you’re simply a judge or referee to keep things moving in the right direction.

Although democratic managers are often viewed as good for the whole, sometimes this management style tends to expect a bit too much from the voting system. The cons of the democratic revolve mainly around personal company goals. Yes, making decisions based on the voices of your staff is noble and inclusive, but occasionally an agricultural manager will need to make a decision without a vote.

2. Authoritative Manager

Where democratic involves the team, authoritative does the opposite. As an authoritative manager, you are the only one who will yield power and make decisions. This dictator approach may not sound like the best way to go about business, but sometimes it is quite necessary.

It’s possible you are the new manager at a poorly run workplace that needs a bit of whipping into shape. In this case, the authoritative approach to management is helpful in keeping your employees in line and having a disciplinary set of rules to get things back in order.

Authoritative leadership does not entail sternness or rudeness. In fact, the best authoritative managers tend to come from a place of business and find they have better results with a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ then with a raised voice.

The cons of managing with an authoritative style usually tend to appear between employee and manager relations. Sometimes the authoritative approach rubs staff the wrong way, and although it is your operation and your prerogative, human emotions are always in play. Be wary if you choose this approach of both your managing style and the team members you employ.

3. Results-Based Manager

Results-based managers strive for efficiency. That’s the key word! When you are focused on results and results only, you have little worry for how the work is done so long as the results are full proof.

This management style is great for managers who want work done quickly and efficiently. Within this structure, employees have freedom to create their own paths and methods in working.

The only thing you will focus on as a result-based management style, are well, the results.

This style is great in offices, but on the field some cons will arise. When you are solely focused on the result, things like employee relations and work effort tend to fall by the wayside.

4. Persuasive (Charismatic) Manager

Next is the persuasive management style. This approach is built entirely around personality, gusto, and charm – something the agriculture industry knows well!

You will find employees to be more cooperative when you use your charisma and personality to connect with them.

If you are not business savvy, though, personality will only get you so far. A proper mix of charisma and true professionalism is important.

5. Collaborative Manager

The collaborative management style is very similar to the democratic style of management. In fact, it only differs from democratic style in one way: collaboration insists on employee feedback and strategizing together, rather than taking in simple yes or no votes on the matter.

When you seek and solicit input from your team about company policies and practices, you will find yourself having real, intelligent conversations about improving your operation from the inside out.

This approach and management style empowers employees and may even help you discover a diamond-in-the rough, future leader amongst your employees. This is especially helpful if you’re starting an agribusiness executive search any time soon!

Collaborative management style shares similar cons to the democratic style. When you solely solicit feedback from your team, you lose the opportunity to make quick, important decisions on your own. It’s all about balance!

6. Example-Setting Manager

With example setting, you are the example. As an agriculture sales, farm or production manager, you must consistently set an example for the kind of standards you expect from your staff. You are responsible for setting the tone and the expectations for how to work in your company.

Example setting managers tend to get down and dirty with their employees. Showing great initiative will show your team how much you truly care. And setting a proper example of how and why to do things will set them up for success. And in turn, set your business up for success.

There are really no cons when you are setting the example of exactly what it is you want your employees to be doing and working toward. The only true con is the fact that you as a manager may have to do some actual labor. If you are serious about setting an example and driving your business to success, this con is but a speed bump.

7. Inspirational Manager

Leading as an inspirational manager is not as easy as it may sound. Although it is a taxing and oftentimes difficult style of management to pull off, inspirational leading has proven to be extremely effective.

In order to inspire your employees, a manager must have excellent speaking and communication skills. Inspiring is all about connecting with your employees and finding what makes their heart beat.

Inspirational managers must have a human desire to want to help people, and in this case those people are your employees. By focusing on helping your employees to develop in and outside of the workplace, you will find the leadership style to translate into your employees’ work.

Downsides to leading as an inspirational manager arise from the selfish motives of a company manager. Many times inspiring means connecting with the soul of your team. If you aren’t prepared to take on some weight and emotional baggage from your employees, inspirational management may not be for you.

8. Laissez Faire Manager

Laid back? Laissez faire management style is for you. This type of management approach relies on having an enormous amount of trust and confidence in your team employees, while maintaining a care free, laid-back attitude.

Managers who practice laissez faire do not waste time or trouble themselves in micro-managing their staff members. This freedom, in turn, gives employees the appreciation and power to work as they please. Results show more often than not, your workers will show more initiative when they have autonomy then if you were to dictate exactly what it was you needed them to do.

Laissez faire management depends upon trust and a strong team core. Cons appear when employees take their autonomy for granted and slack on the job. Nothing worse than a “laissez” staff.

9. Affiliative Manager

An affiliative manager is a team player. Through humility, confidence, and hard work, managers who take this affiliative approach embed themselves into the everyday team fabric. By leading with your team alongside you, you will instill a sense of authority and order.

With this style of management, employees and staff will look at you as an equal, seeing as you are down in the trenches with them on a daily basis!

Affiliative management, much like example setting, will weigh heavy on managers physically. Working in the trenches is a sure fire way to build a strong team, but also a way to overcommit oneself.

10. Strategic Manager

Strategic management revolves around the macro, the bigger picture. When you are practicing strategic management, your eyes are set on a long-term goal, whether that’s financial or not.

This approach concerns you less with the tiny, trivial details of every day operation. When you strategize managerially, you will be comfortable allowing managers and even team shift leaders to take on more important tasks and oversee company responsibilities.

With the everyday work being done by your crew, you will be able to focus on the campaigns and plans for expansion that your specific strategy relies on.

The cons of strategizing are few and far between. When you have a strategy you are able to see the road ahead in order to avoid said cons. One downside, though, could be to losing sight of the micro, and in turn losing face with some team members and neglecting smaller term goals.

Find the Right Agriculture Manager

In all reality, most successful managers are not exclusively tied to one management style. It’s best to combine a few of the styles above to find the perfect balance that works for you and your team.

We hope this guide is a helpful tool in developing a more effective approach for readers looking to improve or mix up their management style.

If you’re in search of the right farm or plant manager to join your team, you’re in the right place. AgHires is a team of agriculture recruiting experts with an extensive network of high level candidates. As your partner, we’ll help you find the right manager with the right management style for your agribusiness or farm.

Lori Culler

Lori Culler

Lori Culler (Lennard), founder and owner of AgHires, grew up in and around the Agricultural Industry on her family's 3rd generation potato, tomato, and grain operation in Southeast Michigan and Northern Indiana.