Can development professionals get by with just one management style?

At a workshop the other day, participants were asked to describe their management styles. Are you consensus-driven or top-down, permissive or autocratic? The way the question was posed implies that management flows in just one direction, from manager to employee. But most development professionals know they need to engage people across the entire organization and at every level.  So don’t we need different styles depending on whom and what we’re managing?

The plain fact is we don’t manage associates the same way we manage directors. And we don’t manage board chairs the way we manage interns. Different positions require different approaches.  So before we talk about ‘style,’ let me propose thinking about ‘direction:’ up, down, and sideways -- and suggest developing a separate management approach for each. Read more.