Understanding Management Leadership & Decision Making

What Managers Do

Business decisions are made at all levels of the business, by employees, managers and leaders. A leader can be a manager. There’s no one way to be successful as a decision maker. We must assess which method suits the situation, and understand that more than one way can be effective.

What Managers Do

Managers are responsible for making decisions about a business’s resources. That includes how it plans and spends money, who does what, and how it produces its products.

The specific roles of managers, depending on their responsibility within the business include:

  1. Setting objectives – setting the long-term goals for their department or the business as a whole.
  2. __Analysing __– is considering data and trends to determine what’s happened and what needs to happen.
  3. __Leading __– is making decisions for others to then follow.
  4. Making decisions – preferring a course of action.
  5. __Reviewing __– looking back at the results of actions to determine their success.

The main managerial functions will be in marketing, finance, human resources and operations management.

Types of Management and Leadership Styles and Influences on These

Leaders set the direction and strategy for the business. Managers implement that strategy.

Leaders don’t have to conform to a certain style to be successful. It depends on the business, the business’s culture and the strengths of the leader.

Sometimes the leadership or management style is pre-set, and sometimes it might have to be shaped to fit the business needs at a particular time.

There are two main theories of management and leadership styles:

  1. The Tannenbaum Schmidt continuum
  2. The Blake Moulton grid

Understanding Management Leadership & Decision Making, figure 1

The Tannenbaum Schmidt Continuum

This shows the range of styles of leadership from “tell” to “delegation”. It shows whether the boss makes the decision, and how then it might involve employees. Or, it can be that the boss invites employees to come up with the decision, and the boss’s reaction to that decision.

The Blake Moulton Grid

When a boss (manager or leader) considers a decision, they focus either on the task or on the people, or a bit of both, or neither.

The task is the job that needs to be done, the people are the ones who need to complete the job.

The grid identifies five types of manager, giving each one a name.

  1. Country club: safe environment with little conflict
  2. Team leader: plenty of staff involvement
  3. Middle of the road: compromises
  4. Impoverished: less control, less responsibility for outcomes
  5. Produce or perish: very autocratic

It helps leaders understand their style. They can then match it to the needs of the business at that moment in time.

The Effectiveness of Different Styles of Management and Leadership

The effectiveness depends on:

  1. Strengths and weaknesses of the leader.
  2. The quality of the workforce.
  3. Perception of the workforce, where the employer thinks workers want to work for the business or just themselves.
  4. The culture of the business.
  5. The type of situation the business faces.
  6. The amount of time available to make the decision.
  7. The size of the risk.

The leader/manager doesn’t need to use the same style every time.

Consider which one works best for each situation.


LeadersThose who set the direction and strategy for the business
ManagersOrganise the workforce and control the functions of the business
The Tannenbaum Schmidt continuumShows a range of leadership styles, from autocratic to democratic
The Blake Moulton gridIndicates the type of decision maker a boss is, based on their relative focus on task or people
DelegationGiving authority to someone else