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Leadership Grid - a simple assessment tool for leaders

Leadership grid, previously known as managerial grid is a simple tool for leaders to assess their own style of
working – what they do and how do they act and behave with their subordinates. Leadership grid was first given
shape by Blake and Mouton in 1960s (then known as Managerial Grid) and has since been revised several times
and extensively used for leadership assessment and development across the world. Leadership grid has its
genesis in style approach to leadership study.

Leadership from the perspective of style approach


Leadership style has always fascinated researchers. Researchers studying style approach have broadly based
their thinking on two types of leadership behaviour – task orientation or production orientation and relationship
orientation or employee orientation. Task behaviour or production orientation is about leaders facilitate and
reinforce achievement of a given task. This behaviour includes acts such as organizing, structuring and
scheduling work, clarifying roles and responsibilities, attention to policy decisions, processes, product
development and results. Relationship orientation or employee orientation is about leaders making subordinates
feel comfortable with themselves and the job, building trust, commitment and respect in the teams, emphasizing
human relations and providing good working conditions.

Blake & Mouton’s Leadership Grid


Leadership grid explains how leaders help organizations to achieve to achieve their objectives through the factors
of concern for production or results (task behaviour) and concern for people (relationship behaviour). The grid
consists of two axes – Y-axis representing concern for production while X-axis representing concern for people on
a scale 9 points. 1 represents minimum concern and 9 the maximum.

Authority – Compliance Management or task management (9,1)


Leaders who fall in this category heavily emphasize results with minimum concern for people. They consider
people merely as a means to achieve desired results. The leader is often characterized as controlling,
overpowering, over driving and coercive.

Country club management (1,9)


Leaders falling in this category are those who are concerned more welfare and personal needs of people and lack
the focus on task accomplishment. The leader is often characterized democratic but also is seen as ineffective in
driving the people toward achievement of goals.
Impoverished management (1,1)
Leaders in this category are generally those who arrived here merely by means of their position, and are simply
viewed as going through the motions of being a leader. They are characterized as indifferent, non-committal, un-
involved and withdrawn.

Middle of the road management (5,5)


Leaders in this category seem to achieve a “balance” between people relationships and results, but are basically
compromisers in nature. They compromise on conviction to make some progress and as a result miss out on
push for results and also on drive for creating a true team culture. Such leader is characterized as avoiding
conflicts.

Team management (9,9)


Leaders in this category consider people relation, commitment and empowerment as a means of achieving goals.
They are open to learning, view conflicts as opportunity for innovative thinking, clarify goals and set high
expectation and provide learning opportunity for people in the course of completion of the task. Such leader is
characterized as driving trust and learning in the teams.

Other type of leader exists who uses both (1,9) and (9,1) styles, which means that rewards are bestowed to
people in return for loyalty and punishment for non compliance.

Leadership grid provides a framework for assessing leadership in a broad way. Leaders can use their scores on
the grid to examine their behaviours in the two dimensions and can determine how they can change to improve
their effectiveness required in the given situation.

For all the advantages of simplicity of the tool, the leadership grid is not with out any criticism. It is only a mirror
for leadership qualities with respect to two dimensions; it does not identify any universal standards of leadership
that is effective under various situations. Common sense says that the emphasis on tasks or relations is a
function of situation in which leader operates. Also the leadership grid identifies dominant behaviours of but
under pressure leaders may resort to what is called by experts as backup style. This means that leaders shift
their style to gain maximum mileage. This practice of adapting different styles for personal gains is called
opportunism.
Managerial grid model
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A graphical representation of the Managerial Grid

The managerial grid model (1957) is a behavioral leadership model developed by


Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. This model originally identified five different leadership
styles based on the concern for people and the concern for production. The optimal
leadership style in this model is based on Theory Y.

The grid theory has continued to evolve and develop. Robert Blake updated it with (?) in
(?) (Daft, 2008). The theory was updated with two additional leadership styles and with a
new element, resilience. In 1999, the grid managerial seminar began using a new text,
The Power to Change.

Contents
[hide]

• 1 The model
• 2 Behavioral Elements
• 3 See also

• 4 References

[edit] The model

The model is represented as a grid with concern for production as the [x-axis]] and
concern for people as the Y-axis; each axis ranges from 1 (Low) to 9 (High). The
resulting leadership styles are as follows:
• The indifferent (previously called impoverished) style (1,1) : evade and elude. In
this style, managers have low concern for both people and production. Managers
use this style to preserve job and job seniority, protecting themselves by avoiding
getting into trouble. The main concern for the manager is not to be held
responsible for any mistakes, which results in less innovative decisions.

• The accommodating (previously, country club) style (1,9): yield and comply. This
style has a high concern for people and a low concern for production. Managers
using this style pay much attention to the security and comfort of the employees,
in hopes that this will increase performance. The resulting atmosphere is usually
friendly, but not necessarily very productive.

• The dictatorial (previously, produce or perish) style (9,1): control and dominate.
With a high concern for production, and a low concern for people, managers
using this style find employee needs unimportant; they provide their employees
with money and expect performance in return. Managers using this style also
pressure their employees through rules and punishments to achieve the company
goals. This dictatorial style is based on Theory X of Douglas McGregor, and is
commonly applied by companies on the edge of real or perceived failure. This
style is often used in case of crisis management.by

• The status quo (previously, middle-of-the-road) style (5,5): balance and


compromise. Managers using this style try to balance between company goals and
workers' needs. By giving some concern to both people and production, managers
who use this style hope to achieve suitable performance but doing so gives away a
bit of each concern so that neither production nor people needs are met.

• The sound (previously, team) style (9,9): contribute and commit. In this style,
high concern is paid both to people and production. As suggested by the
propositions of Theory Y, managers choosing to use this style encourage
teamwork and commitment among employees. This method relies heavily on
making employees feel themselves to be constructive parts of the company.

• The opportunistic style: exploit and manipulate. Individuals using this style,
which was added to the grid theory before 1999, do not have a fixed location on
the grid. They adopt whichever behaviour offers the greatest personal benefit.

• The paternalistic style: prescribe and guide. This style was added to the grid
theory before 1999. In The Power to Change, it was redefined to alternate
between the (1,9) and (9,1) locations on the grid. Managers using this style praise
and support, but discourage challenges to their thinking.
Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid

Blake and Mouton studied leadership behavior and described two extremes of leadership
concern:

Concern for Production: The leader cares little about people and operates in fear of
something going wrong. This person's focus is on achieving results and productivity.

Concern for People: This leader cares little about productivity and operates wholly from
a desire to be loved and approved of.

The grid Blake and Mouton created from these two dimensions can help you to
understand your predominant style on the scale of concern for productivity and concern
for people.
The scales run from 1-9 with, nine meaning a high amount of concern

The Five Styles Explained


Here's a snapshot of the five different leadership styles resulting from the grid:

(1,1) 'Impoverished' The leader exerts (and expects) minimal effort and has little
concern for either staff satisfaction or work targets. This is a leader who is going through
the motions is indifferent, non-committal, resigned and apathetic. S/he is doing just
enough to keep their job

(1,9) 'Country Club' The leader is attentive to his/her people's needs and has developed
satisfying relationships and work culture - but at the expense of achieving results. The
leader is defined as agreeable, eager to help, non-confrontational, comforting and
uncontroversial.

(5,5) 'Middle of the Road' (Politician)


This leader is a compromiser who wants to maintain the status quo and avoid any
problems. Is aware of and wants a focus on productivity but not at the expense of the
morale of his/her team.

(9,1) 'Authoritarian' The leader concentrates almost exclusively on achieving results.


People are viewed as a commodity to be used to get the job done. Communication is de-
emphasized and conflict is resolved by suppressing it. Leadership is controlling,
demanding and over-powering.

(9,9) 'Team' The leader achieves high work performance through 'leading' his/her people
to become dedicated to the organizational goals. There is a high degree of participation
and teamwork, which satisfies the basic need of people to be involved and committed to
their work. The leader may be characterized as open-minded, flexible and one who
inspires involvement.

Cautionary note: This model could lead you to think there is one best style. Please avoid
that mistake. Certain styles work extremely well in different circumstances. If your plane
is crashing you'd want the captain to use a 9,1 style of leadership in that moment. At
another time a different style of leadership may be more appropriate.

Take this Blake and Mouton self-assessment to see whether you are a more task oriented
or people oriented leader