What's Your Management Go-To Style?

June 28, 2017

Blog Archives

Hands-off or Heads-off management...which is your go-to style?  I was recently working with a group that was charged with implementing a major change.   As we worked together it became clear that one of their leaders was from the school of Heads-off management.  She threatened and verbally berated individuals in the organization, leaving many living in fear.  They were running themselves ragged, trying to please their manager, deliver their work and then hopefully get a breather.  Get back to a slightly more normal life.  The only problem was the rest never materialized.  The pause never happened.  More work was added to their plates, and more demands made from their leader.


Cartoon of business boss saying to his staff, I don t want to change. I want all of you to change.

While the Heads-off approach may produce results in the short run, it is never sustainable, as it ultimately will negatively impact both people and the business.

So, what do you do with a Heads-off style of manager?   First, it is important to realize that this treatment, verbally threatening and berating is a form of abuse.  Second, you must decide if you are no longer willing to subject yourself to being treated that way.  That can be trickier than it sounds, especially if you are not willing to ultimately leave the company.  Third, you will need to set boundaries with the individual.  I recall having to tell a previous manager who was screaming at me on the phone because I didn't agree with his assessment of a direct report of mine.  I finally had to say "I am hanging up now, and will be ready to speak with you again when you are ready to speak to me with the same respect I am showing you."  He never called back.

What about Hands-off management style?  While Hands-off management certainly has a place in leading and managing organizations, it can also be abusive when taken to an extreme.  A different organization I worked with hired a new employee who was left on his own to figure out how to do the work.  No on-boarding, no training plan, very little expectation setting/clarity.  The manager had never managed anyone before.  And the employee had never been in the industry before...a dangerous combination.  The result?  The new hire left the company after a few months.

Which is your go-to management style? Are you Hands-off until you get too much pressure and then become Heads-off?  Today may be a good day to pause and reflect for a few minutes if you and your people are leading and managing the way you intend. Want some help?  Give us a call at 513-240-0832 or see the workshop opportunities that develop skills to lead change and resolve conflict without resorting to heads-off or hands-off management! 

The summer series on management & leadership continues... with next month's blog focus:  The Power of Pause

Kate Johnson
Blog Archives