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  • Writer's pictureMJP

Understanding Autocratic and Diplomatic Management Styles: Finding the Right Balance ...

Management is a critical aspect of any organisation, and leaders employ different styles to lead their teams towards the desired outcome. Two of the most common styles of management are autocratic and diplomatic management. These styles are at extreme ends of the spectrum and are used in different situations due to their nature and work style. The autocratic style is the traditional way of handling situations. The manager is the leader and issues orders to the employees to act and follow accordingly. This style of management may work in certain situations, but in the long run, it may hurt the loyalty of employees.

Autocratic managers hand out orders and instructions without explaining why the team needs to perform certain actions. The manager considers team members to work for them rather than with them, which leads to a lack of coordination and belief in the result. The team members are seen as inferiors, and the autocrat deems interaction with them as inappropriate. This style of management creates distrust, fear, and a non-motivated culture that leads to a hostile environment for employees. Employees will feel tired and less effective, and this style of management goes hand-in-hand with micromanaging, which is ineffective and eats up much time on both sides unnecessarily.

On the other hand, diplomatic manager takes decisions based on the situation and always has a sound reason behind what they are doing. They explain the situation to the team members, follow up on the outcome, and act accordingly. The team members get the confidence and importance of the decision and perform accordingly. Diplomats discuss and try to reach a consensus with the team members they believe are working with them on the said project with complete support. Diplomatic managers have adequate support and respect from their teams, leading to better results.

However, it is essential to note that both management styles are equally important and situational. Good managers must understand the problem and achieve equilibrium. Managers should evaluate the ability and need to adopt both styles and choose whichever suits the condition. The management style should be flexible and situational, depending on the situation's changes. No single management style is ultimate and appropriate according to the situation's requirements.

When choosing a management style, the manager should consider their personality characteristics and management qualities, the volume of work to be completed, the organisation's culture and industry, the team members' abilities and the goals of the organisation, and the personalities of the team members. Awareness regarding the circumstance is key when selecting the management style in any situation. Personal self-awareness will help the manager understand how to utilise their strengths and weaknesses. Awareness regarding the team members' status will help the manager better understand what style will work best when dealing with them.

The baseline management style is essential as it provides the team members with a general direction to carry out the work. The team would easily understand what is expected of them. Communication among the team members also plays a vital role in giving confidence. The best managers discuss the pros and cons, difficulties, different options, and ideas to achieve the target. This can only happen if the manager remains close to the diplomatic style, stays in touch with the team members, gives respect as per the abilities, and handles the situation professionally. New ideas based on merit shall provide room for the members to play freely within the plan to achieve the target.

Both autocratic and diplomatic management styles have their pros and cons, and each can be effective depending on the situation. A successful manager understands the importance of situational awareness and adapts their management style accordingly. They also recognise the importance of communication, not just in conveying expectations but also in building trust and fostering a positive company culture. By combining the strengths of both styles and utilising a baseline management approach, a manager can provide clear direction while also allowing for flexibility and collaboration. Ultimately, it is up to the manager to choose their management style wisely and keep in mind the goals and needs of their organisation and team.


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