Managing companies while eschewing the manager label

31 Dec

New types of bosses have come into prominence.

For a long time now, there have been a variety of management styles in the workplace. These range from the task-focused manager to the one who emphasizes learning on the job and guiding people toward doing better with each new assignment. Everyone benefits differently under an appropriate style. A new way of managing people has recently come under attention. It's called the "managerless business" because it is a style of running a company without managers at all.

According to a story by Mike Haberman of Blogging 4 Jobs, these businesses are organized by teams of associates who decide things together by group consensus. Haberman said that his studies on managerless companies left him with a few questions, mostly centered on legal issues, such as FMLA or reasonable accommodation requests, and other such business matters that are usually confidential. For example, how would a company that decides everything as a group handle a harassment complaint?

Easier ways of handling companies with reduced managerial responsibilities
Fast Company reported that many managers have taken on mentor roles, which is more suitable for millennials and Gen-X employees, who eschew traditional management. While a mentor continues to have the power to hire and fire, this person can also be tasked with helping employees to reach a greater level of potential. Such managers are always concerned with how much further an employee could go down his or her career path and what skills this person needs to do his or her best.

Millennials are leading the way with much softer approaches to managing people. This is the so-called best friend style of leading groups, which means taking the managerial role and putting it into a social setting.

"The team might work all day, for example, and then grab dinner together," says Thomas Moran CEO of staffing firm Addison Group. "This is a softer leadership style that motivates through communication."

The difference can often mean that managers are liked rather than disliked, as had sometimes been the case with boomer leadership. However, it leads to its own problems because sometimes the personal and the professional don't go well together, and when the personal breaks down, then the person causing the social faux pas may begin to feel uncomfortable and leave the office.

Best practices for leadership without being too dominant
In the end, it may be that with the different kinds of leadership available, the idea of getting rid of any managers at all might become a more extreme notion than it already is. In the meanwhile, many people are doing fine just mentoring, according to Moran, and this lets people stay as bosses without sacrificing too much in the way of being overly authoritative.

According to Leaders in Heels, it doesn't necessarily matter what kind of boss people are in general, as what kind of boss they are in a given situation. During times of intense stress, it may be better to be the strong leader people can follow orders from, and when things are more relaxed, to pull back and become a mentor for people.

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