Theory x and theory y management styles are two contrasting approaches designed to lead two very different kinds of employees. The management styles are aimed at effectively leading a person or people depending on their nature and attributes. Let us understand theory x and theory y before delving into the management styles.
Theory x is basically a group of people who are lazy, lack motivation, don’t have much passion and are unhappy with what they are doing. These people basically don’t have any inspiration, don’t have any major goals in life and would rather laze around and spend their hours than do something proactive. They don’t have the will to do something unless prodded by someone.
Theory y forms the contrasting group. It is for people who are ambitious, driven or motivated, want to achieve greater heights and would work hard to get what they want. These people are invested in their lives and thus professions. They will endeavor to do better and would naturally draw more satiation from what they do.
Theory X & Theory Y Management Styles
Theory x management style involves an approach that is hands-on. It is more dictatorial or authoritative. People classified in theory x need constant supervision. They have to be told what they should do and often they need handholding. They need to be consistently monitored, motivated and have to be pushed to get the job done. They need leaders who are authoritative and would indulge in the proverbial breathing down the neck. Such people work effectively when they have a boss. They don’t care much about participative or open work environments. They don’t work well in any setting that doesn’t compel them to work hard.
Theory y management style is more like laissez faire leadership. The manager or leader has the power to make decisions but one allows a certain degree of autonomy to every individual working in the team. Since the professionals in this group are motivated and also talented, they don’t need to be told what to do exactly and they don’t have to be monitored continually. They know there is a job to be done and they would get it done.
Theory x and theory y management styles are necessary in every company. Any business will have people belonging to both groups. Having the same leadership approach for both these groups of people would be ineffective.