Working out the best management style for your development team depends on the varying levels of experience of your team, 11 bit Studios producer Stan Just argued at GDC Europe today.
The Anomaly Warzone Earth producer discussed a range of popular studio management styles, and explored which styles are best in different situations, concluding that a combination of styles can work best.
The "Selling" approach for example, in which a manager tells employees what they need to be doing specifically, and then keeps a close eye on the execution, can lead to the best control and most intuitive approach -- however, this can prove rather demotivating for employees, and lead to low levels of creativity, as developers cannot then explore and innovative as much.
The "Participating" approach, in which the team comes together with the leader to make decisions, and the leader is actually an integral part of the team, can lead to great creativity in comparison, and often leads to the best quality game. But it can be hard to pull off this structure, especially when a quick, hard decision is required.
Meanwhile the "Delegating" angle -- with the leader handing tasks out to the team and rarely checking up on them, essentially trusting them to create the best possible content -- can be the most satisfying approach and provide a lot of team freedom, but can also be hugely risky, and is pretty awful for an inexperienced developer.
But Just argues that applying different elements of each approach can have great effect. Delegating to more experienced employees while selling to the lesser experienced team members, for example, can be a good approach.
"Assist when important work may not be appropriately delivered," he reasoned, "and participate with your best talents to deliver greatest quality." Allowing the more experienced team members to keep checks on the less experienced can also be a great way to effectively manage the team.