When it comes to middle management, studies show companies hire the wrong person 82% of the time.
That doesn’t mean 8 out of 10 hires are inherently bad managers. It means their leadership style is a bad fit for the team. The truth is that much as we’d like to, no company can fully control its company culture. The industry, the nature of the business, your customers and your existing employees create much of it for you.
When hiring a manager, you need to factor this in. So how do you match a leader to a team? You work out which of these 7 types of managers would be a good fit:
1. Clear, direct and in control - this manager is all about 'giving orders.' That's not the same as micromanaging—it just means they lead with a strong hand, and team members have little to worry about outside their direct responsibilities. This manager is best suited to traditional industries or areas and entry-level groups who are not yet ready to work independently.
2. Inspiring and charismatic - this manager is less about giving specific directions and more about motivating and focusing people, as many successful tech and nonprofit leaders do. They excel at getting a highly-skilled team aligned with an exciting goal.
3. Reward-centric - this manager uses rewards to motivate people, such as bonuses for hitting sales goals. Their strength is getting people excited about what they can personally achieve and showing them the material value of their efforts. Extrinsic motivation may not be the most effective in the long term, but this style can work well in metrics-focused teams with a strong organic drive to succeed.
4. Advising and coaching - this manager doesn’t hand down decisions from on high, but takes the time to understand and mentor each team member, staying involved and available but rarely taking the reins. This works great in creative and developmental teams, or where a manager is internally promoted to coach more junior members. However, employees who are very independent may feel micromanaged.
5. Challenging - this manager sets stretch goals and encourages people to push themselves. The risk here is burnout, for the manager as well as the employees. But a truly skilled manager of this type will push people when it really matters and encourage them to recharge during slower times.
6. Collaborative and consensus-driven - this manager believes in generating ideas together and always listening to feedback. While making decisions as a group takes longer, this leadership style has massive benefits in terms of motivation and employee retention, and means employees are likely to speak up about small problems before they become big problems.
7. Hands-off and administrative - This manager lets their people do their thing, keeping them informed and making sure tasks are delegated but leaving the execution of the tasks up to them. People who aren’t self-starters will struggle with this style of leadership, but it’s perfect for independent teams who don’t appreciate having their focus disrupted by meetings.