Management styles: Are you an autocratic manager?

Business Blogs IndiaWhether you are learning about management styles or supply chain management or strategy frameworks, in business schools much of the learning comes from your peers, many of whom might have had considerable experience in different industries, roles and functions. The case studies and management games that professors use in the class provide a good platform for MBA students to share their own experiences.
So we invited T V Srinivas Shenoy (TVS), a seasoned Sales & Marketing professional, to interact with our readers. With over two decades of varied experience, TVS understands the nuances of the corporate world and the inter-personal relationships that come with it. He sets the stage with a guest post on Management Styles.


Management styles: Are you an autocratic manager?

by T V Srinivas Shenoy

One of the key indicators of a successful and happy organization/team is how the members work across different functions i.e. the formal and informal relationships between the Sales, Marketing, Production, Finance, Strategy etc.

What makes the relationships even more interesting is when the Heads of each department start acting as the ‘Bosses’ of their respective turfs and do everything that they ‘think’ necessary to protect and defend their departments (thereby possibly missing the bigger picture of the organization’s goal).

This issue gets compounded when there is a large scale movement/transfers of Officers and department heads across the company or when there are recruited

Let me point out a very interesting story in this regard, where the Finance, Sales and Production Heads were all new to this Rs 3000 Cr Company.

The pompous head of Finance, CFO had recently moved into this role after being a part of the Audit and other service related functions. He was nick named ‘Mr. Bounce’ as he had the uncanny knack of bouncing problems off to various departments rather than solving or help the respective departments solve it.

He ended up being a ‘Finger Pointer’ – Shooting out mails on the various subjects to the CEO on the issues (which the CFO was expected to solve) and point the blame on various other departments on the various deviations observed as a part of the business.

He used to keep all the financial data to himself and be secretive about it , not sharing the relevant data across the team. Mr. Bounce could never step into his role as a true CFO where all the employees treated him with respect!

The Heads of other departments soon got defensive and were always on the lookout of protecting their department from Mr. Bounce and invariably never approached him for any solution or advice.

Things got to such a stage that there was a total break down between the various departments with the Finance Head. Mr. Bounce was under the false impression that he was always right and all the other departments were always wrong.

This resulted in the entire organization energy being diverted from where it should have been – focusing on customers/ new customer acquisition, new product development, internal improvements and other crucial tasks.

We come across such people all the time. In all probability, you may have played a similar role at some point in your career too.

This is where the learning kicks in:

As a Boss of a department or a colleague, how have you reacted when told that your colleague has made a mistake or error?

Would you go to help him to correct it or immediately rush to your CEO and earn brownie points by pointing out the error made by the unsuspecting colleague? Is this the kind of culture prevalent in your company or department where you work?

How could you help change it?

This is where the subtle difference between an average and a great boss come in: A great boss would surely enable help weed out the problem, spend time on the individual/team to enable grasp the ropes and move ahead, Hence carrying the team with him for future battles to be won!

So, what kind of Boss/Colleague are you – Mr. Bounce or otherwise?

What’s your management style?

Author Bio: T V Srinivas Shenoy is currently the Chief of Marketing and Sales for one of the largest private steel companies in India. An Engineering MBA graduate, he is an avid traveler and a very keen photographer as well.


Try answering some of the questions TVS has posed about management styles. If you have a differing views, that’s fine too. You’d be paying bschools 50 lakh rupees to have similar discussions, so why not start here? Post your thoughts below as comments.


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

4 Comments

  1. Anujan says:

    I can relate to this article very well. The line about the head of departments becoming protective about their teams thereby missing the bigger picture is spot on. While I am not at that level in my career, this article has good pointers to the future heads to work and develop better qualities.

  2. aditi says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have seen the same kind of management culture in Accenture India where bosses do not solve problems instead highlight it. In my 6 yrs experience with other two big firms along with Accenture. I have seen worst work culture in Accenture.

    The management at Accenture, Greater Noida in fact India follows completely different work culture approach which is not seen in any good company or managerial culture books or in any e-post for becoming good Managers (as you does).

    And do not understand the reason for this behavior as Accenture-Abroad follows good managerial approach. Strange!

    • Sameer Kamat says:

      An organisation’s culture has less to do with the brand and more to do with the people.

      Which is why it can change not only from country to country, but also across office to office in the same country.

      So it comes down to human behaviour more than anything else.

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