You are on page 1of 5

Leadership Grid

Definition of 'Leadership Grid'

A model of behavioral leadership developed in the 1950s by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. Previously
known as the Managerial Grid, it is based on two behavioral dimensions - concern for production,
plotted on the X-axis on a scale from one to nine points; and concern for people, plotted on a similar
scale along the Y-axis.

The model identified five leadership styles by their relative positions on the grid:
Impoverished (concern for production = 1, concern for people = 1)
Produce or Perish (9,1)
Middle of the Road (5,5)
Country Club (1, 9)
Team (9, 9)

The Leadership Grid demonstrates that placing undue emphasis on one area, while overlooking the
other, stifles productivity. The model proposes that the team leadership style, which displays a high
degree of concern for both production and people, may boost employee productivity.


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.
Examples of Leadership Grid Styles
In the 1960s, Robert Blake and Jane Mouton developed a grid that provides a framework for describing
a person's leadership style based on her concern for tasks and production or her concern for people.
According to this model, when concern for both people and tasks increase, productivity increases as
well. If leaders focus only on completing tasks, the needs of individuals suffer and morale plummets. If
leaders focus only their people, their ability to consistently produce profitable results tends to
decreases.

A leadership grid allows managers to determine where their leadership style falls within the continuum
of management approaches. The grid reflects the interaction of two vital leadership variables: concern
for people and concern for productivity. The grid encompasses 81 possible combinations of these two
variables, summarized in five general categories of leadership styles.

Impoverished Leadership Style
An impoverished leadership style involves a low level of concern for people and the organization's
productivity. This sort of leader does the minimum necessary to maintain her position, but no more. For
example, an impoverished leader of a construction company might assign workers jobs without
considering their abilities and experience and also might ignore productivity and quality-control
problems.

Team Leadership Style
Team leadership style reflects a high level of concern for both people and productivity. For example, a
team leader of a construction company would assign workers jobs based on their abilities and career
development goals and carefully oversee jobs to ensure maximum quality and efficiency.

Middle-of-the-Road Leadership Style
A middle-of-the-road style of leadership involves a balanced but moderate level of concern for people
and productivity. The middle-of-the-road leader doesn't let the needs of the worker outweigh the
organization’s need for productivity, or vice versa. But the middle-of-the-road leader doesn't put as
much effort and thought into performing his managerial duties as a team leader might. For example, a
middle-of-the-road leader of a construction company might casually monitor job progress and allow
workers to sort duties themselves.

Country-Club Leadership Style
A country-club leader pays more attention to the needs of people than to increasing productivity. For
example, a leader with a country-club approach in a clothing store might allow employees to take long,
unscheduled breaks and come in as late as they like, making it difficult for customers to get assistance
with purchases.

Authority-Compliance Leadership Style
An authority-compliance leadership style focuses on increasing productivity, even at the expense of
worker morale. For example, this sort of leader in a clothing store might enforce strict rules governing
worker scheduling in an effort to keep the store functioning smoothly, ignoring legitimate employee
needs for scheduling flexibility. The end result is low morale and high worker turnover, both of which
hurt productivity.


Apply the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid in 3 Easy Steps

Similar to the way we can gain some critical insight into our personality types using Myers-Briggs or our
work styles using DISC, the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid was designed to help us understand our
leadership styles.
The basic idea is that managers’ level of concern for people is measured against their concern for
production.
On the grid, there are 5 leadership styles outlined. There are also 2 more styles that were added to the
model.

The Model

The Indifferent (Impoverished) – This leadership style features low production and low concern for
people. This means that not much work is getting done and the workers are not provided with an
environment that is motivating or rewarding.

The Accommodating (Country Club Style) – This leadership style features high concern for people and
low concern for production. While the work environment may be enjoyable, production suffers as a
result of the lack of leadership.

The Dictatorial (Produce or Perish) – This leadership style features high concern for production and low
concern for people. In this work environment, the needs of the employees are always secondary to the
bottom line. These managers are autocratic, with strict work rules, and they prefer to use punishment to
control their employees.

The Status Quo (Middle-of-the-Road) – This leadership style features medium production and medium
concern for people. Leaders who use this style are often satisfied with average production and might
even believe this is the most that can be expected.

The Sound (Team Style) – This type of leadership style features high production and high concern for
people. Team style managers ensure employees understand and contribute to the direction of the
company. This is an environment where people’s needs are met and production goals are reached.
Not on the grid:

The Opportunistic Style: This type of leadership style features exploitation and manipulation. This style
does not have a position on the grid because this type of manager adopts behaviours that net the
greatest personal benefit.

The Paternalistic Style: This type of leadership style features praise and support, but discourages
challenges to their own thinking. This style does not have a fixed place on the grid as well.




How to Apply the Grid in 3 Easy Steps
The value of the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid is that it can help you become cognizant of your
leadership style so that you can place high emphasis on both people and production. You may find that
you use different approaches based on the situation, and there are certainly circumstances when the
Team Style leadership approach wouldn’t be as effective as others.
Step One: Identify Your Leadership Style – There is probably a leadership style on the grid that you can
best relate to, but you may employ different approaches based on the circumstance. Recall some of
these situations, and then use your best judgment to mark their positions on the grid.
Step Two: Identify Areas of Improvement – If you recognize that you score high in one concern and low
in another, you now know that you have an imbalanced approach and can begin to make improvements.
You can now look for ways to hit on all cylinders and develop the skills necessary to be a more team
oriented manager.
Step 3: Identify the Context – While you may strive to score high in concern for both people and
production, there are times and situations when a different leadership style is more effective than the
team approach. For instance, you may have employees doing dangerous jobs that require an
authoritative approach emphasizing a rigid adherence to protocol. Or if you’re taking over for a
domineering manager and inherit a deflated, overtaxed staff, you might want to take a Country Club
approach to build the morale up before transitioning to the team oriented approach.
In reality, there is no one best style you should always use. Just like you have to use different
psychological approaches with different personalities, certain styles work better in certain situations.
The grid is helpful because it helps you to be mindful of both people and production when you adapt a
style to a situation, and it also give you insight into your own general style and how you can make
improvements.