What kind of boss are you? | Inquirer Business

What kind of boss are you?

Dominic Fitch

Dominic Fitch —Contributed photo

Being a manager means everyone is expecting you to be good at what you do. Being a manager also means that you will have people under your watch who will look to you for support as a colleague and mentor. The latter is described as the tricky part, especially with the rise of hybrid setups in the workplace.

According to research from Google and Culture Amp, effective management has drastically changed since the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head. The research says that, “with the rise of remote work, and the need for stronger soft skills, … we need to revisit what we expect of managers and how we develop them to be their best.”


The research says that it all boils down to being a good motivator. One needs the ability to read people’s emotions; be a good coach as well as a cheerleader to celebrate their success; empower the team and avoid being a micromanager, and monitor their performance while keeping an eye out for areas of development that could lead to promotions and compensation.

But not every manager has the same style. This can vary by industry and is also dependent on the age and skill level of your employees or your personal attitudes to work. Two developed theories of managerial style are the X and Y theories developed by social psychologist Douglas McGregor in his book, “The Human Side of Enterprise.” Since its publication in the 1960s, managers have been using this as a guide for their own style development.


Here, with some insights from Dominic Fitch, head of creative change at UK-based experiential learning company Impact International, the differences between X and Y managers are explored, alongside tips on how to know which managerial style is best for you and your team.

X manager

According to the theory, determining what kind of manager depends on the corporate climate that exists within the company. For X managers, employees are not self-motivated and need an authoritative manager to ensure tasks are completed. With over 36 percent of employees claiming to dislike their job, keeping a firm grip on task management is important, as X managers believe workers won’t take pride in their work and will avoid completing tasks.

The X managerial theory focuses on monitoring worker achievements and deadlines. The results-based theory is particularly beneficial in industries that have tight schedules, such as manufacturing and other time-managed occupations. It is also described as “very much a hands-on approach to managing employees.” A manager must have an in-depth grasp of sticking to routines and schedules, dictating tasks and expecting results.

Y manager

On the other hand, Y managers believe in employee engagement and the high work ethics of their colleagues. Employees are believed to take pride in their work and are self-motivated to achieve more. Employees in this corporate climate have a strong grasp of what is required of them. Also, it allows them to solve problems and avoid crises without the need for supervision. Also, they are results-oriented and have the technical capability to take ownership and accountability for their work, using initiative and decision-making.

According to Indeed, a leading recruitment advertising network in the United Kingdom, employees who have more personal responsibility in the workplace tend to have more loyalty toward their company, as well as a stronger sense of job security. In this scenario, a Y manager is more likely to adopt a participative management style. This style gives employees a sense of achievement while completing a task.

Unlike the X management style, which uses statistics and measured performance as a threatening technique, task completion under a Y manager acts as a form of reward and incentive to increase self-drive and development.

No cookie cutter

There are certain factors to consider before choosing your style. The theory suggests that if you prefer being proactive within the workplace, favoring a hands-on approach over a relaxed atmosphere, then the X manager theory is for you. If your company operates under a multilevel management style, then you might find that the X manager approach is better suited to your environment. But if your company is a collaborative one in which teams communicate effectively, allowing all levels of employees to actively participate, you may benefit from the Y management theory.


The workforce also plays a crucial role in determining which management style fits your company’s needs. Usually, a young or low-skill level team will benefit from the presence of an X manager from time to time. Due to the training needed to bring their skill levels up, you will be expected to micromanage and handle crisis moments with more direct attention. An established workforce does not require this level of attention, therefore, a more relaxed approach is more appropriate.

But there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all in management styles. Admittedly, there are managers who prefer to have an oversight of production so as to ensure that deadlines are met. Others might want to explore being on the creative and collaborative approach. These kinds of managers encourage employees to take the lead on initiatives. A “balance between the two styles is useful as the company progresses,” the theory suggests.

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