Are you Type X or a Type Y Manager and why it matters?

In the next two blogs, I’m going to explore management styles and how impactful they are on motivating individuals and teams within your business.

Type X Managers believe that employees fear taking responsibility and need specific direction. Type X Managers believe that employees need to be coerced, controlled and micro-managed with the threat of punishment to ensure that adequate effort is put towards achieving the business’ goals.

Type Y Managers believe that employees being motivated at work is innate. People will accept, and even seek, taking on responsibility under the right conditions.

Type X management focuses on the extrinsic desires of employees around job security and rewards.

Type Y management focuses on the intrinsic desires of employees around autonomy and personal satisfaction within the activity itself.

What is the impact of being a Type X or Type Y Manager?

As a Type X Manager, you will see limited results. Managing people as mediocre workers that have to constantly achieve fixed outcomes under the threat of constant punishment will render poor results. The results they will ultimately deliver under this style are capped at the ceiling of the fixed outcome. As people are not robots, performance will be less than this fixed expectation and therefore destined to fail.

As a Type Y Manager, results are uncapped as management empowers individuals and teams to come up with strategies to be better, faster and cheaper.

There are three primary strategies for being a Type Y Manager and optimizing employee performance.


Give individuals and teams autonomy to achieve their deliverables.

That doesn’t mean not managing them.

The management framework simply pivots to having a clear objective for them, supporting them and defining deliverables on time, cost and quality.

Beyond the scope, allow your team to decide how they want to carry out the project. Let them use their ingenuity and creativity to deliver it.

As Manager, schedule periodic meetings and metrics to monitor on a macro (not micro) basis how they are tracking. This also provides a check-in mechanism to offer expertise and support where needed.


Make individuals and teams the heroes of what your business delivers.

By adopting a philosophy of mastery within your business, you can seek internal champions to become experts in key elements of your business offering.

Creating a culture where you can nominate champions, or even better have them nominate themselves or be nominated by the team, empowers individuals to embrace mastery and achieve outcomes beyond expectation. Internal champions often become better than you could ever become within certain areas of the business.

This leads to amazing win-win outcomes for team members, customers and business owners as mastery is unleashed throughout the organization.


Let’s recall that Theory Y Managers want to appeal to the intrinsic desires of an individual.

One of our intrinsic desires is to have a sense of purpose.

From ‘Why am I in this job?’ to ‘What do I want to achieve?’ - the subconscious questions around our sense of purpose are constantly on our mind.

If you are to make someone autonomous and encourage them to adopt mastery, don’t you need to tell them what the purpose is in what they are doing?

Every great quest has a purpose.

You are on a solo mission (autonomy) where you will need to become a cloaked traveller in enemy territory (mastery) and when you reach the destination you can come home.


Oh sorry, I forgot to mention that when you reach your destination you are to recover the Queen’s Jewels from the international jewellery thief and return them to Her Majesty (Purpose).

Think Wizard of Oz or Indiana Jones.

People need to understand purpose to buy-in to the journey.

Many business owners have great goals and ambitions in their head on where they want to take the business only to fail to share it with their team.

It is the team, not just you, that will achieve your purpose in business so don’t forget the pivotal step of explaining purpose. Understanding purpose provides context and meaning to allow people to better carry out their roles.

I encourage you to reflect on management within your business and how you can adopt a Type Y management style.

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