Paternalistic management style stems from the old and still relevant practice of paternalism. We still live in a deeply paternalistic society and when the same practices, principles and policies encompass a style of leadership, it is called paternalistic management style.
Despite the term being applicable to males, it also applies to female leaders or managers who would take a parental approach to management. In paternalistic management style, the manager or the business owner is like a father figure or the guardian. The workers or everyone in the company are members of the family. Just as a parent would guide and work with the kids, a paternalistic manager would behave in a similar fashion to lead the team.
Pros & Cons Of Paternalistic Management Style
Paternalistic management style can be illustrated in two ways. One, it is a very warm approach to management where the owner feels for the employees and vice versa. That instills a sense of fellow feeling or bonding which is stronger than just a leader and a team member or a business owner and an employee. In effect, the company is like a family. All workers feel comfortable sharing all kinds of problems with the leader and the business owner feels comfortable sharing more than professional stuffs with the workers. The paternalistic management style aims at instilling loyalty and a sense of ownership where everyone feels part of a family and thus would do more than what a professional feeling like an employee would.
There lies the greatest advantage of paternalistic management style. Employees are often truthful, more dedicated to the larger goal of the business, feel for the manager or owner, consider the company’s problems as their own and often do much more than what their job needs them to do.
But that is also where the biggest problem emerges from. Employees are not allowed to enjoy freedom. They are confined. Their growth is confined in the garb of the larger interest of the company. Often, emotional compulsions or influences can ruin rationale. Even the common instincts which motivate people to leave jobs looking for better opportunities can get suppressed.
Paternalistic management style may also lead to preferential treatments, taking advantage of those who are gullible and the approach doesn’t necessarily help in grooming great leaders. It is quite possible that the leader, manager or business owner practicing paternalistic management style would hinder the growth of all workers for the sake of the company’s sustainability, which will also be threatened due to lack of transformation.