Just like any organization, the criminal justice agencies need to cope with management issues by employing the different management styles in order to achieve their objectives. Over the years, management science has attempted to come up with different management styles that can be applied to state and local criminal justice agencies including the courts and correctional facilities. Therefore, the type of management style adopted has a great impact on the different practices and operations in correctional institutions. Some of the management styles that will be explored in this paper include transformational, transactional, autocratic, democratic, and bureaucratic.
According to Johnson (2014), transformational style is a type of management approach that relies on high levels of communication from the management in order to meet some set goals and objectives. In this type of leadership, managers or leaders make use of motivation in order to encourage employees to improve productivity. Johnson (2014) asserts that this style relies on the involvement of the management in order to meet some set goals. In correctional institutions, Campbell and Kodz (2011, p. 3) point out that police leaders who use this style “…seek to inspire, set a vision, offer intellectual stimulation and appeal to followers’ moral values, desire to fulfill potential and make a positive contribution may be viewed as more effective leaders than those that don’t.” personally, I believe that this style is best suited for a female because they have the tendency to see to it that the activities and processes undertaken by officers are effective.
This style entails managers using rewards and punishments based on the performance of the followers. Manager and team members collaborate and set some goals so that the team members follow the direction agreed upon in order to achieve set objectives. As noted by Iqbal (2011), the leader or manager has the power to review the performance results and correct team members whenever goals are not met. However, when team members achieve set goals, they receive rewards such as pay increases, promotion, recognition, or monetary rewards. I believe that this style is best suited for a male because males have the ability to influence followers using rewards and punishment. According to Campbell and Kodz (2011), evidence shows that police leaders who rely on this type of style receive fewer positive impacts on subordinates. This means that if a female uses this style, then the impact on subordinates may be negative.
Autocratic style of leadership describes a kind of style where managers make decisions independently without involving others. In other words, managers have the absolute authority to impose their will on subordinates (Johnson, 2014). The decisions that are made by autocratic managers or leaders cannot be challenged as asserted by Iqbal (2011). In most instances, this style is best suited for correctional institutions since there is always resistance from staff whenever decisions are made. Unfortunately, the problem with this style is that the staff will eventually lose the morale to work because they are not involved in the decision making processes. In fact, working in an environment where an individual has no say is very daunting. This subsequently affects the productivity (Iqbal, 2011). This style is best suited for a male because they are more domineering compared to females. It is only on rare occasions that we can get a female police leader with the ability to control staff mostly consisting of males. For instance, instructions from a female are less likely to be taken seriously in a correctional institution dominated by male staff. Therefore, a male can successfully use this type of style in order to get things done.
The democratic style is where a manager is willing to share duties with the staff in order to get the job done (Johnson, 2014). Subordinates normally like this type of leadership because they feel part of the organization and that their efforts are being recognized. Compared to the autocratic style, the performance of staff in this type of style is likely to be better. However, Adeniyi (2010) warns that giving employees too much authority to share work may lead some employees to heavily rely on others which may jeopardize the project that is being worked on. Besides, involving too many people to work on a particular job may slow down the progress of the project. A manager will also get minimal time to work on other tasks because employees get preoccupied asking questions and waiting for answers. In my view, this style can best be adopted by a female because females detest resistance and usually like to bring teams to work together. Females are usually accommodative and would like to see employees moving in the right direction while at the same time limiting conflicts that may arise. Females are also soft-hearted and would like to see employees feeling involved and part of the process.
Bureaucratic leadership is where managers ensure that team members follow procedures and rules consistently and accurately. In this style, a manager expects the staff to exhibit a formal attitude in the workplace by respecting the existing procedures and methods, with the manager having the final decision regarding an issue (Klofas, Kalinich, & Stojkovic, 2007). Where safety is of great importance, this style is ideal for such situations. The advantage with this style is that it ensures that staff maintains high quality standards in situations requiring greater attention to detail (Klofas et al., 2007). However, the disadvantage is that it limits employee creativity and independence in decision making. This then leads to resentment and frequent absenteeism. In addition, the bureaucratic style reduces the long-term productivity of the organization because employees become bored with the work that they do. In the context of correctional institutions, this style can best be adopted by a female because they usually detest being victims of blame whenever problems occur. A female will ensure that existing rules, procedures, and methods are followed in order to ensure that what officers are doing conform to the rules and policies of the organizations they serve.
My Preferred Management Style
In my view, the democratic management style is what I prefer the most. In this type of style, employees play a greater role along with the manager in order to get the job done. In the current democratic societies, people are always critical of every aspect that is aimed at bringing change. In order to avoid resistance and its associated repercussions, it is essential to involve all employees in decision making and to ensure that everyone participates in processes that are aimed at accomplishing tasks. What is very frustrating is to have a workforce always willing to criticize every idea or policy that is aimed at improving productivity. In such cases, the manager will always be viewed as an isolated person whose role is to oversee what others are doing without making any input. For me, this is not the best environment to work in. Thus, by adopting the democratic leadership style, I believe that I will get the support of all the staff in achieving some set goals. Although this style has some setbacks such as slowing the progress of projects, I consider the style as able to change the perceptions of followers so that they can focus their efforts towards a common goal.
Management Style Used by My former Manager
The management style that was used by my former manager is that of transactional. According to the manager, good performance should be rewarded and bad performance should accordingly be punished. The manager used rewards in monetary terms or recognition during public meetings in order to encourage the staff with exceptional performance to further improve. However, for the poor performers, the manager reprimanded them. One good thing about this punishment was that the manager never did it in public. He would call me or any other staff and demand to know why performance was not as expected. In some instances, the manager would deny requests for a leave as a punishment for goals not achieved. I believe that this style is appropriate because it ensures that top performers are rewarded and those who do not perform struggle to work towards the attainment of organizational goals.
Indeed, management is a complex phenomenon and deals with finding ways to meet the needs of employees in order to improve productivity. Just like business institutions, managers and practitioners in prison systems have to adopt good management practices in order to conform to international and national law. Leaders and managers of these institutions, therefore, need to look for a proper management style that best addresses the challenges and the needs of the people they lead. In times of change, managers need to be flexible by adopting the appropriate management style in order to suit the changing circumstances. In this way, the operations and processes in correctional institutions will become efficient.