Consider this: you’re facing a new task. Perhaps it’s a new team member who just joined in last week, or delivering a new project requested by the Board. What would your priority be? Would you like to obtain results for the new project as efficiently as possible, pouring all focus on the said task? Or would you begin by organizing your team based on their strengths and interests, so that all members perform to the best of their abilities?
Your answer to the question is indicative of your preferred management style, along with your chosen approach to solving managerial concerns. There are plenty of viable leadership theories, but one of the most popular is the Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid, which was built around two themes: people focus and task orientation approach.
The Managerial Grid Model emerged during a momentous and fruitful time in leadership studies, a time that yielded many of the central tenets organizations still adhere to well into the 21st century. Truth be told, the model is actually a culmination of other findings in various leadership studies in an attempt to identify the different ways an individual can lead. The Managerial Grid was developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton, where they postulate that leadership styles can be determined based on a manager’s concern for both people and production. Also known as a leadership grid, here the concern for people denotes an individual’s degree of commitment to goal achievement, where sustaining self-esteem and satisfaction of interpersonal relationships serve as prime factors. The concern for production, on the other hand, refers to the attitude of superiors towards the quality of policies and procedure, along with effectiveness of staff, creativeness of research, output volume, and work efficiency.
Simply put, the Managerial Grid is a tool for understanding your leadership style. It helps examine solutions to the most relevant dilemma of managers: direct your focus to the tasks or the people?
The Managerial Grid
Impoverished Management (1,1):
Managers with this leadership style deliver minimum effort to encourage subordinates to get work done. There is also minimal concern for both production and people, and they mostly function to preserve their seniority and job post. Here, disorganization and disharmony arise.
Task Management/Authority-Compliance Management (9,1):
The leader here is far more concerned with the production, putting it above the personal needs of his subordinates. This style is also referred to as the dictatorial style or the perish style, as subordinates are mandated to perform each and every task as directed by the superior. Here, output in the short run increases drastically, but due to the rigid rules and procedures, high labor turnover is present.
Middle of the Road (5,5):
Managers with this style try to strike balance between the personal needs of his subordinates and the organizational goals. The leader focuses on adequate performance between morale and work. Both the requirements and the people’s concerns are not entirely met, so the entire organization continually churns in an average performance.
Country Club Management(1,9):
In this style, the leader obviously prioritizes the personal needs of the subordinates than the organization’s goals. Managers who adopt this style usually have the intent to have a comfortable and friendly working environment for the subordinates, which then encourages them to work harder on their own. However, it is important to know that less attention leads to complacency, which, in turn, can affect the work goals and may result to unsatisfactory performance.
Team Management (9,9):
According to Blake and Mouton, the Team Management is the most effective leadership style. Here, the leader focuses on both production and people. This was developed based on McGregor’s Theory Y, wherein it is believed that employees can become committed towards goal achievement, thereby not needing the manager’s intervention each stop of the process. A leader adopting this style believes in nurturing the team with empowerment, trust, commitment, and respect, as they believe this results to increased overall production and employee satisfaction.
Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid: Significance
As you analyse your behaviour or that of other managers, keep the Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid in mind. The five core leadership styles are highly useful, but remember to keep your analyses within context. While the proponents of the theory believe that the most effective management style is Team Management, it isn’t always the case. Different circumstances call for different styles, but the vital role of this theory remains learning these styles and how to use them can help you become a better leader/manager.
Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid is a seminal instrument in the field of people and organizational management. Knowledge thereof can manifest in success in the corporate setting. However, it can also be helpful in other endeavours in which optimum interpersonal relationships, teamwork, and commitment are instrumental, like in academics. Whether it is a dissertation or debate team, or a team presentation, qualities of good leader/manager should include mastery of Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid.
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