The Best Leaders Avoid These 3 Toxic Management Techniques

Business meeting


AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger

What are management techniques?

Management techniques are systematic methods of leading that managers use to make their teams more efficient, productive, and, overall, successful. Individual techniques are often used in tandem with other techniques to garner the desired behaviors — and results — from team members. Management techniques are highly dependent on context. 

Managing is very personal. There are all different types of managers, and not everyone manages in the same way — and that's okay! There are various kinds of management techniques from which to choose, and not all management techniques are created equal. That said, while some management techniques are effective and can help teams grow, others styles of management can be toxic and actually have adverse effects on teams. 

That's why it's important to regularly reassess your management style and check in with your team to make sure that you're leading in a way that's working for everyone. Here are some management techniques that work for many leaders — and some that most certainly do not.

15 Highly Effective Management Techniques for Business Leaders 

Here are 15 different types of management techniques that have worked for businesses leaders past and present. Take a page out of these books!

1. Engaging with team members

First things first, you shouldn't just be managing the team; you should be part of it! Engage with your team members on a regular basis. Let them know that they can come to you with questions, concerns, suggestions, etc. 
Being part of the team can help everyone feel included. It can let your team members know that you are one of them, and they can feel comfortable approaching you. This way, if they need help, resources, delegation, etc., you'll be aware. And you can tackle any issues as they arise — before they exacerbate.

2. Practicing what you preach

A good manager practices what they preach. They lead by example. They don't set expectations for their team members that they don't uphold themselves. It's important to be an example for the people who are working for you. This isn't just in the way you do your work; it also means being an example in how you handle yourself as a professional both inside and outside of the office. You should practice what you preach so that you represent the company well, and so that your team does, too.
If you want something done or people to behave in a certain way, make sure that you are doing just that so that your team members understand exactly what you expect of them, too. And if you're going to set a standard, uphold that standard. And make sure that you hold that standard for everyone, too. 

3. Celebrating victories

Celebrating wins is important. It reinforces positive behavior, and it's simply fun. You can motivate others by lifting each other up when someone achieves a goal. It's encouraging for everyone around who wants in on the celebrations, too.
You can celebrate victories with incentives, like bonuses and raises, or simply words of affirmation for small wins. People enjoy being recognized for their hard work and successes. So give credit where credit is due.

4. Empowering decision-making

While it may be easier to make all of the decisions, you don't always know best. Sometimes, your team members who are more directly involved in the day-to-day doings of your project may know better. You can empower them to make decisions by giving them the mic. Allow them the space to make decisions, and empower them with the tools and support to do so.
You never know what kind of magic could happen if you give other people the platform every now and again. Plus, doing so means you support their own individual goals, which keeps them motivated to support the company's overall shared vision.

5. Modeling desired behaviors and actions

Don't just ask your team to behave a certain way. Modeling desire behaviors can help show them precisely what you expect in the workplace. Don't breathe down your team's necks to make sure that they're behaving in the way that you want, but give them the resources and support to make sure that they can take charge on their own.

6. Coaching for development

Coaching is important to both team development and individual development.  Not only does coaching help people learn new skills, but it also inspires them when they feel like they have someone on their side. When teams feel supported, advocated for, mentored, and lead in the right direction, they perform better. A wealth of studies show that, when people feel supported, they're more motivated. And, when they're more motivated, they do better work. 
Of course, you can't always be a coach for everyone all the time. So it's also important to foster a collaborative team atmosphere where your team members support each other. Create an open space for people to share their questions, concerns, and advice with each other. So if you don't have the bandwidth to help, your team members still know that they have others they can lean on for support.

7. Setting achievable goals

It's important to set lofty goals for your team to get inspired and shoot big. But it's also important to set achievable goals. Studies show time and time again that, when people check off smaller wins, it motivates them to keep going to check off those bigger and bigger wins. So start small, and work your way up together. Make sure that there are landmarks along the way, so that everyone has a clear idea of where they are and the progress that they are making.

8. Being realistic but optimistic

While it's nice to be around someone with positive energy — someone who is so optimistic, they encourage everyone around them — it's also nice to be around someone who is realistic. Being realistic is key for your team, too, so that they feel capable. They need to know that what you're asking of them is actually possible. They need to know that they're not being set up for failure. 
Then, once they start hitting smaller goals, they'll feel more empowered to achieve even bigger and bigger goals. Goals that once didn't seem so realistic may  become more realistic. And that trend will keep going with more and more successes under your belt.

9. Hiring the right talent

Hiring the right people for the right jobs is so important. You can have a team full of amazing people, but if they're not maximizing their skills in the right areas, you can still fail. Or, if you don't have the right people, you can have the best ideas and the coolest concepts, but you won't be able to get there.
It's important to make sure that every single person on your team doesn't only have the right skills to get their work done (and done well), but also that they're good culture fits. Cultivating a supportive, collaborative work culture is key — and you need people who will perpetuate that culture, not interfere with it.

10. Delegating wisely

Delegating is so, so important. We're all only human, and you can't do everything on your own. Knowing who to assign what so that the job gets done in the most efficient, productive, and successful way is key. Plus, you may not be the best at everything. While you may be able to do everything that needs to get done, there is likely someone who has the skills to do at least one or some of those things better. Knowing your team's strengths, and maximizing them, can take you a very long way.

11. Providing regular constructive feedback

Feedback is critical. It can both reinforce positive behavior and nip negative behavior in the bud. Feedback holds people accountable and it sets goals so that your team knows what they're working toward. Going back to goals and revisiting the drawing board every now and then can keep them motivated.
In the same vein, it's important to be able to keep open to constructive feedback, too. You need to listen to feedback just as much as you give feedback.

12. Creating a shared vision

Creating a shared vision keeps everyone on the same page. While it's important to understand and support everyone's individual dreams, it's also important to make sure that everyone's dreams support the same common vision. If you don't win together, you don't win.
In order to create a shared vision, however, everyone needs to know what it is and be on board with it. You need to make it clear and easy to follow, and revisit it regularly to make sure that everyone still understands what they're working toward.

13. Maintaining open communication

Open communication is critical. Your team needs to know that you have an open-door policy. They need to be able to approach you with questions and concerns. And they need to be able to talk to each other to work through inevitable challenges that arise. No team gets anywhere together without open and clear communication.

14. Hosting team-building events

Team-building events can be fun and helpful! They bring people together who might not have otherwise worked directly together. And they bring people together in a way that inspires decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking. It puts people's skills to the test together. This can help them see more clearly how they can lean on each other and lift each other up — in a fun way!

15. Practicing active listening

"When somebody walks up to me, don't look around, don't look beyond them; look them in the eye, take in the story," Michelle Obama said during her Netflix documentary, Becoming. She's referring to really seeing and hearing people.
Communication isn't only about speaking your concerns, needs, and ideas. It's also about listening to others. But not just listening — actually hearing other people out. Active listening is especially important for managers because you need constructive criticism just as much as your team members, but it's not always given to you so directly. You may have to listen a little better for it.

Management Techniques to Avoid 

As mentioned, not all management techniques work all the time.  Sometimes, management techniques can work against you. While you may have all the best intentions, you can still fail your team. And, while you may be striving for success, you may try a little too hard in the wrong ways.
Here are three management techniques you want to avoid.

1. Dominating instead of motivating

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership," Dwight Eisenhower once said. And he's right. That's not an effective management technique.
As a a manager, it may feel easy to dominate the conversation at every meeting or to dominate the work by taking it all on yourself. But your job isn't to do everything all the time. Your job is to motivate your team to do it together. Your job is to help your team grow individually, together. It's to motivate your team, not to take over your team.

2. Letting things slide

Letting little things slide to "keep the peace" and keep efficient and working toward your goals can be alright from time to time. It's best to not focus on losses and keep your eyes set on the prize. But you also have to hold people accountable. Make sure that you're not letting things go so much that you're enabling, accepting, ultimately, encouraging the poor behavior.
If you let too much slide or you brush important mishaps under the rug can cause major problems, too. (Including legal problems, if you don't take appropriate action.) You need to make sure that you're holding everyone to the same standards and maintaining and respectful, safe work environment for everyone.

3. Taking the wheel

Sure, taking the wheel is important as a manager from time to time. But if you're always at the helm, you never give anyone else a chance to show up or to grow. Sometimes, it's smarter to cheer on your team from the sidelines. Give them the resources and support that they need while letting them do their thing — you know, that thing you hired them to do.
The last thing you want to be is a micro-manager always watching over your team members' shoulders. If you hire the right people, give them the right tools, and support them in the right ways, you'll build a culture of trust. You can trust that they're doing their best work to achieve a shared goal, and they can trust that you have their best interests in mind. And that will make business go 'round.


AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at by night.