Do You Know How to Use This Management Style Correctly?

May 14, 2019


When it comes to management styles, we often see managers confuse directing and delegating. Directing involves telling the employee what to do, how to do it, and being present to see that the job gets done. Delegating, on the other hand, is entrusting the employee with a task or responsibility. The delegator is not present during the duration of the assignment and does not give input on how to complete it.

What Is Directing?

Directing is one of three common management styles: directing, coaching, and delegating. When directing your team, you decide how, when, who, and what is to be done. You are always there and you guide the work as it is happening. You make the decisions and provide motivation to see the task through to completion by lending your knowledge and expertise to those you are leading. This management style is very hands-on and deeply involved with the day-to-day details.

Say you are a head chef at a restaurant and need to tell the kitchen staff what to prepare for the evening dinner service. How would you instruct them?

  • Incorrect approach: “Get the vegetables prepared for the chefs.”
  • Correct approach: “I need you to clean all the pots, sharpen the knives, and clean and chop all of the vegetables in the second cooler for tonight’s dinner. Bring the sharpening steel over and I’ll show you how to sharpen the knives. Then bring the vegetables from the bottom tray in the cooler, wash them and set them on the cutting table. I’ll be right back to show you how to chop them.”

When Is Directing the Right Management Style?

There are different scenarios in which directing is the most appropriate management technique. Astute managers master the art of assessing the situation or employee and choosing the approach that offers the best chance of leading to success. Here are some examples when directing is the most appropriate management style to use:

  1. When leading a team with little or no motivation or ambition
  2. When the employee(s) have very little or no experience
  3. When the cost of failure is too high
  4. When the job setting legally requires constant oversight

Steps of Effective Directing

With any management style, it’s important to fully understand what each style involves. While directing can sometimes be perceived as rigid or overbearing, it’s important to be consistent and stick with it if you have determined it is the best style for the scenario. Follow these three steps to be most effective at directing:

  1. Be direct with your reports. Know exactly what you expect and state these expectations clearly and specifically.
  2. While the person is doing the job, give them detailed instruction. Encourage and enforce their efforts. You may need to demonstrate how to do what needs to be done for them to understand the task.
  3. Affirm what the employee did correctly and say, “Thank you, good job.”

Directing takes a lot more stamina from you as the leader, but keep in mind that on occasion circumstances will require directing as the best management method. It really is in your best interest to spend the time and energy to direct the situation through to successful completion.

Interested in learning what management style you naturally gravitate towards? Click here to take the ZERORISK Assessment for free. This emotional intelligence-based assessment will provide you with objective data that will help you understand your strengths and blind spots as a leader.

ZERORISK HR is a leader in pre-employment assessment and leadership development. If you are interested in providing manager development training for your leaders, we offer a customized manager development program that can be done in the comfort of your office. This unique program is not a one size fits all approach and will help develop your current and future leaders. Contact us to learn more about leadership development programs for your team.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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