Many different styles of leadership exist for managing a company and its employees. An autocratic leader tells people what to do and expects employees to do as instructed, while democratic leaders create a more open environment where employees are free to make suggestions and share ideas. Laissez-faire leadership allows for the manager to be more hands-off and lets employees make their own decisions. No matter what kind of leadership style you use, it has four primary functions.
Planning is a function of any management style. It requires managers to look ahead at overall company goals and make decisions based on what will achieve those goals. Managers often approve what projects or tasks should be carried out by employees. Planning also involves the details of certain tasks, such as who will do something, how they will do it and how long it is expected to take. A good plan is vital to efficiency and success when managing employees or projects.
Organizing is a function in management in which the manager begins to synchronize all his resources: people, equipment and money. These resources are all important to completing a task or project, and it is the manager's role to ensure all three are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible. For example, managers with smaller budgets likely have less options when it comes to renting equipment for a task or have less employees on the team to work with. It is up to the manager to organize the actions on a project or tasks using the available resources.
Leading is another function of management styles. Different managers lead in different ways; the management style often is more evident in the way a manger leads. Some managers give direction, others ask employees for their opinion on how to proceed and make decisions based on feedback from everyone. Regardless of leadership style, leading involves dividing tasks and delegating who does what. A good leader uses positive reinforcement to give employees more self-confidence, which usually improves performance.
Controlling is an important function of management style and is different than leading in that controlling involves making sure that work is being performed according to the overall plan. As a manager, you must carefully pay attention to the work being done as compared to the work planned, including how long things are taking or how much money things are costing. If the actual work varies significantly in any aspect from the plan, it is up to the manager to adapt and decide whether anything needs to change. Long-term problems are detected quickly if a manager is controlling effectively and can be addressed sooner rather than later.
Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.