Leadership and management share similarities, yet are very distinct in nature. One is to ensure order and the other is to inspire (Northouse, 2016). The directive management style in particular is very controlling, allowing for little in the way of follower input (Flavin, 2018). While this style does have some benefits for particular industries, it comes at the expense of many negative consequences. The combination of a lack of leeway for followers, high workload and an authoritarian supervisor come together to create a high stress environment which can be harmful in nature (Garcia-Campayo, Puebla-Guedea, Herrera-Mercadal, & Dauden, 2016).
Working in the US Navy, this style of management is the dominant way of leading others. Often times a very high workload exists with little time to accomplish it. As such, there is no time for discussion about how to complete the given task at hand. Furthermore, many tasks that are performed follow strict written procedures on how to perform them. This also eliminates any need for follower input as no discussion is required to perform the work. The very nature of the military necessitates a very dominant style of management to accomplish the varying tasks.
A key design of management is the direction of simply coordinating the activities of his or her followers to complete a task (Northouse, 2016). The higher concerns of real leadership such as motivating and enabling growth within their followers are not found in a strict management role. A fundamental piece of realizing these higher goals is to hold active discussion regarding work processes and how to improve daily operations. A lack of this discussion will create stress amongst followers due to a lack of clarification regarding the “why” behind what is being accomplished.
Placing an excess amount of work on a group is also counter to how to reduce stress within the organization (Garcia-Campayo, Puebla-Guedea, Herrera-Mercadal, & Dauden, 2016). I have personally experienced such a workload many times and it can be very overwhelming, insurmountable even. As a worker, it is incredibly frustrating to be told that you have to complete so much by days end. Naturally, this results in very long hours. While stationed onboard a submarine, twelve-hour work days were the norm. Unlike a leader, a manager is not concerned with your well-being. They are only concerned about completing whatever tasks that must be done that day. This further creates the level of stress within the organization.
Last is the authoritarian leader who is in charge with ensuring everything is accomplished on time. Such a style will limit the innovation of their workers. However, in the military innovation is not required as everything is guided by a procedure. The primary concern of this management style is that orders are simply executed with no questions asked (Flavin, 2016). This is what I have been used to for the past eight years, and it can be incredibly frustrating when you are not allowed to suggest a different way of completing a task. I understood why things were done this way, but it all came together to create an especially stressful working environment.
The directive management style, while containing some elements of leadership, is largely controlling and suppressive in nature. This style prohibits follower creativity, resulting in stagnated personal growth. Coupled with a high workload, this can result in some very stressed individuals and organizational climate as a whole. This style has its place in the military, but it prohibits real leadership and personal growth from occurring within an organization.
Flavin, B. (2018). The pros and cons of 7 different management styles. Retrieved from https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/different-management-styles/
Garcia-Campayo, J., Puebla-Guedea, M., Herrera-Mercadal, P. & Dauden, E. (2016). Burnout syndrome and demotivation among health care personnel. Managing stressful situations: The importance of teamwork. Dermatology (Actas Dermo-Silifiograficas, English Edition), 107(5), 400-406. Retrieved from https://www-clinicalkey-com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/#!/content/journal/1-s2.0-S1578219016300178
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.