When you manage a team of people, adapt your leadership style to meet each person’s needs. In general there are four types of approaches: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. Depending on the level of your employee’s competence and commitment, choose which will work best. When your direct report is learning new skills, be directive. Define tasks clearly and check progress to make sure he’s not faltering. Use periodic coaching when your employee is learning new skills but needs the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Be supportive, encouraging highly competent employees who lack confidence. With employees who are both highly motivated and experienced, delegate tasks. In all cases, your responsibility is to find the balance between hand-holding and empowering.
Adapted from the Harvard ManageMentor Online Module: Leading and Motivating.