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Why Seagull, Mushroom and Dictator Management Styles Work!

While we live in an ever changing and rapid “new school” world, when it comes to management styles, “old school” might actually win out. Collaboration and team-concepts are all the rage these days, but are they truly effective? Or, do old-fashion styles from the past still get things done in today’s fast-paced environment?! !

Never heard of Seagull, Mushroom or Dictator management styles? You might not have known the name but if you’ve been in the working world for any length of time, you’ve experienced the style. In fact, I’d gather a guess that your current boss more than likely deploys one of these styles or a combination.! !

Seagull management goes like this. Your boss or manager swoops in, poops all over you and then flies away. My personal experience with this came in a large Fortune 100 environment when our managing partner would come out for one day to our engagement site, nail us with the longest to do list of the century and then leave by the end of the day. Textbook seagull.! !

Mushroom management style is more subtle. Effectively, your boss or superior keeps you in the dark and keeps feeding you crap. You’ve experienced this when your board stays silent but is doing things behind your back. Or, when an acquisition is being conducted and you’re out of the loop. If those don’t ring true, think of the last time a HR policy came out of nowhere and slammed all of the employees.! !

Finally, Dictator management is exactly how it sounds. Your boss is judge, jury and executioner. And, typically, they are extremely proficient at executing, both you and tasks. I have another name for this style. I call it “Tablets from the Mountain.” You’ll see this regularly with sales targets or goals as well as budgets. You know this is occurring when numbers come “down from the top” and you have no say in the matter.! !

While subordinates despite all of these styles, effective executives know differently. All these styles become valuable tools for transformation and execution. Especially with a Dictator, this style really can get things done. And, it is not just effective but efficient. Inherently, because it is a one man or one woman show, there is only one decision maker. That creates a nimble environment. Even large entities perform substantially better with the proverbial one cook in the kitchen. ! !

So, while there is a time and place for collaboration and buy-in, these old-school styles also are useful tools to implement. Don’t be afraid to deploy these from time to time. If you can always remember to separate the person from the task and always keep your direction positive and professional, you might find old-school becoming new again.! !

Here’s a few Actionable suggestions that can bring you immediate results using one or a combination of these styles:! !

• On your next big decision, don’t ask for others opinion. Be a Dictator for that moment and lay down the law. Then, check in and see how that felt, both with yourself and your team. Afterwards, assess the results. You might find this specific task or project got done far faster than the ones you asked for collaboration on.!

• Pick one of the above styles and use it for one week. See what happens. How does your team react? Do you get more or less results? Key: don’t explain upfront you’re “testing.” Just do it.! !

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Pat Mixon
Pat Mixon is a Time & Efficiency Expert and the founder of Executive Training Camp, the world’s premier place for 21st Century training, strategies, and systems that allow Manager, Executives, and Business Owners to take their game to the next level. Pat’s in the business of giving people BACK THEIR TIME. Pat writes about and helps individuals learn new systems and strategies around Time Management, Delegation, Email Management, To Do Lists, Meeting Management, Making Decisions, and Managing/Working Remotely and more. He is also managing partner at The Infrastructure Company. Visit his website at: ExecTrainingCamp.com and his firm’s consulting website for finance, accounting, operations and technology at TheInfrastructureCompany.com.
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