The managerial grid model is a very popular framework that unfolds the “task versus people” orientation. This was developed by Robert.R.Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964. This model identifies five different leadership styles based on the concern for production and concern for people. The perspective of people orientation and task orientation as two independent dimensions was a big step in leadership studies. The managerial grid model is represented as a matrix with concern for people at the Y-axis and concern for production at the X-axis, each dimension ranging from low (1) to high (9); creating 81 different combinations in which a leader’s style may fall. This theory has been continued to evolve and develop.
The grid highlights how focusing too much on one dimension at the expense of the other leads to a fall in overall productivity. In other words, it signifies that too much of just one thing is not a good thing. It is essential to balance the team for an effective team building.
Example- When a manager is concerned only with the output and constantly pushes or drives his team with little empowerment, communication and interaction, the employees will soon be demoralized and the productivity is bound to suffer. While, on the other hand, if a manager is concerned only with his people, without direction and support, the targets will not be accomplished and in turn suffers productivity.
In Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid, leadership styles are subdivided into 4 quadrants, 2 dimensions, and 5 basic leadership styles namely
- Impoverished Management
- Country Club
- Task Management
- Middle of the road and
- Team Management
Understanding The Model
The 2 main behavioural dimensions of this model are
- Concern for people and
- Concern for production
Concern For People
This is the degree at which a leader considers his team members interests, areas of personal development and needs while determining how to attain goals.
Concern For Production
This is a degree to which the leader emphasizes organizational efficiency, productivity and concrete objectives while determining how to accomplish the task.
Impoverished Management (1, 1):
In this approach, managers harbor low concern for both people and production. The leader has no or very low concern for work deadlines or employee satisfaction, because of which, the organization exhibits disorganization and disharmony. Leaders are ineffective and actions are aimed at safeguarding their jobs. This form of leadership is mostly employed to safeguard their position in the organization; by shielding themselves from getting into trouble. This leadership style results in low levels of productivity and innovation.
Task Management (9, 1):
The leader is completely task-oriented. Employee well-being is neglected; as production is the only point of focus. The leader exerts disciplinary pressure and is authoritative or dictatorial by nature. The leader here believes that efficiency is a result of properly organized work systems by eliminating people whenever required. Task management certainly increases the output of an organization in a very short term and also results in high labour turnover due to rigid procedures and policies. Jane Mouton and Robert Blake specify that there are situations in which this form of leadership needs to be employed.
Middle of The Road (5, 5):
The happy medium is adopted in this form of leadership. This is a compromising leadership style where the leader strikes a balance between people and production; scoring an average mark on both the criteria. The leaders here do not focus on the boundaries of accomplishment which results in average organizational performance. Here, neither the production nor the people needs are rightfully met. Robert Blake and John Mouton suggest that this is not the best style of leadership, but can be applied to encourage employees to meet their deadlines.
Country Club (1, 9):
Most leaders are driven by this style, which focuses on high concern for people and low concern for production. This is a collegial style, where the leaders don’t come across as too authoritarian and are characterized by a high on people orientation and low on tasks, wherein the leader pays a thoughtful attention to the needs of the employees; enabling a comfortable and compassionate work environment. The leader believes that it will result in self-motivated employees. Nonetheless, too much focus on people can hamper production; resulting in a questionable outcome.
Team Management (9, 9):
In this form of leadership, a high degree of concern towards both, people and production, is noticed. Managers employing this style encourage commitment and teamwork among employees. The leaders following this leadership style succeed in clinching a lot of respect from his employees who also entrusts and motivates them. Here, the employees tend to be recognized as a productive part of the organization with high mutual involvement.
How to use the Model?
- Identify your natural leadership style
- Identify real-world examples
- Identify ways to improve
- Reflect regularly
Advantages of Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid
The managerial grid is employed to aid managers in analyzing their leadership styles using a tool known as grid training. This is achieved by administering a questionnaire that helps in identifying where they stand with respect to their concern for people and production. This training aims to aid leaders to get the ideal 9, 9 mark.
Disadvantages of Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid
This managerial grid model disregards the significance of external and internal limits, scenario, and context.
The Green Zone
Leadership styles are often determined by the situations the leaders get into. Robert Blake and Jane Mouton suggested that the best point in the Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid is 5, 5 [middle of the road] and 9, 9 [team management]. They named this space the ‘Green Zone.’ It is recommended to annihilate emotions towards the employees and focus on production, but a leader would do well focusing on his people when emotions run high amongst his employees. Therefore, Leadership can be effective only when it is applied according to the situation.
It is crucial to remind yourself that great managers have a very strong understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. The managerial grid is great techniques to aid you to appraise your style and equip you with a useful insight into various leadership styles. There is no one right way or a wrong way, per se, nevertheless just like there is no one leadership style that is beneficial for all situations.