Team Management Styles

Recently I was talking with a new friend about how to manage a team.

She has been just promoted to lead a team and was very proud as she managed to increase her team motivation. This was the point to start our conversation.

I like this topic, though I obviously can’t invent and say any new thing about it, I enjoy sharing some experiences and analyzing when to apply one style or another.

We were talking about the pros and cons of the two opposite styles: motivational or pure demanding. I recognize it’s simplistic and many times you have to use both with the same team, depending on the situation or the different team members.

The point is that every manager tends to be more in one style than in the other.


I defend that using motivation you will get better results, but I have known organizations that don’t believe so, and demand managers to push their teams every minute.

In my view, good results come when you create a good team: motivated, committed and obviously with the right people. I like to have fun in my job and try to create a good environment with my teams.

In my experience, this works well when the whole team has a positive attitude. When some of the team members is not “happy” and doesn’t share the team spirit, the manager usually must replace that member, and I recommend doing it ASAP. I always think on the team benefit.

When I managed simultaneously several teams, I allowed each manager to choose how to manage each team. At this position, I realized that everyone has a natural way to lead his/her team and it’s complicated to change it. So I was monitoring the results (if something works, don’t change it) and the team dynamics to detect any negative trend.

I don’t discover anything by saying that a motivated team is more productive and loyal. This is quite obvious, so why many managers and companies still prefer to apply pressure on the people, rather than thinking how to motivate them?

One of the key factors is timing. Creating a team can take some time and today everyone is under pressure to produce results NOW, and some managers forget mid and long term. This issue affects to many of the most important problems I see in the modern companies.

Other key factor is the team function. It’s very different to manage a team of experienced consultants than a sales team of hunters. Into the same company, different departments need different ways to manage them.

How is your experience around this?

Is it better trying to change the people attitude or first replacing people that don’t fit with your team vision?

Does your company give you the chance to choose your management style?

I will appreciate your comments.

Here you have a well known video used as example of pushing a sales team with bad performance: