Flexible Management Styles

Research conducted by Professor Fred Fiedler of the University of Illinois found that most successful managers respond to three elements—the nature of the work, the nature of the individuals, and the nature of the situation—before choosing the management style to fit the circumstances. If you do this, you are subscribing to what he calls the Contingency Style of Managing.

Another way to view his theory is to regard management as a continuum, with the Autocratic style at one end and the Laissez-faire (“Leave-them-alone”) style at the other. In the middle is the Participative style. The decisions regarding styles of managing parallel the decisions regarding empowerment that we explored in an earlier ...

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