Participatory, Directing, or Teamwork Styles

Utilization of a participatory management style involves both a task-oriented style and a people-

centered style. This style emphasizes how the employee’s assigned task fits into the bigger picture. This

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style will provide support and input where needed. As a result, the focus is on the task but also on the

person and the relationships required to get the task done. This style might be used when the employees

are experienced and the deadlines reasonable enough to provide the time needed to focus both on the task

and the person. If more hands-on management is required, [1] a directing management style might be

appropriate. Consider a very tight deadline or an emergency situation in which someone needs to be

calling the shots. For example, assume you own a business that creates specialty home-baked dog treats.

You just received an order for one hundred dog cookies by later this afternoon. You might consider using

a directing style with your employees to make sure it gets done on time. This style doesn’t focus on the

person but rather on getting the task done; hence it tends to be more of a task-oriented style.


A manager who uses a teamwork management style believes there is a value (or necessity) in having

people work in teams. As a result, this style tends to require a people-centered approach. Relationships

are most important, and assuming the individuals work well together, the task will be successfully

accomplished. The advantage to this style, given the type of task and situation, is that as a manager you

are able to pool resources and abilities from several different people. Use of a team style can also provide

big benefits for the company. For example, Google uses a teamwork approach it calls “grouplets.” Google

believes that individuals should be able to spend time on something that interests them and is also

company related. Engineers at Google spend 20 percent of their time on this endeavor. As a result,

grouplets are formed, and the grouplet works on their idea with no specific budget. Some of the best ideas

from Google have come through this teamwork process. Gmail, in fact, was developed using a grouplet.


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