Leadership Grid – Leadership Theories Series

Use the leadership grid to confirm your preferred leadership style while recognizing that you can change your style as circumstances require.

Blake and Mouton built upon basic style theory and produced their leadership grid. The grid identifies how much concern the leader has for getting the job done (task-centered) and for their staff (person-centered). They identified five leadership styles.

Country club management: Leader has little interest in task completion but a high concern for the social needs of staff.

Task compliance management: Leader has little concern for staff’s needs. Their overwhelming concern is with achievement of task/targets.

Middle-of-the road management: Leader is content to compromise. They seek to satisfy rather than maximize both the well-being of staff and production.

Impoverished management: Leader has very little interest in either staff or task. They do the bare minimum to get by.

Team management: Leader emphasizes both the need for high levels of achievement and excellent staff relations. Blake and Mouton suggest that this is the approach all leaders should use.

How to use the leadership grid

Complete Blake and Mouton’s leadership questionnaire. This will identify your default leadership style.

If you’re a team manager, great. But beware. You need to appear committed and caring not frantic and fawning.

If a country club manager this approach may be appropriate after a particularly tough period of work, but it can’t continue indefinitely. You must eventually place greater emphasis on task completion.

If you’re a middle-of-the-road manager Blake and Mouton will tell you that this approach has little merit. But is it realistic to expect staff to consistently work flat out? An approach that produces work levels in the 80-90% range, with an ability to perform at the 90%+ level when required may be a good strategy for longevity. Only you can decide if this is an acceptable approach in your organization.

If you’re a task manager with an emphasis on getting the job done then your approach will be clearly appropriate in periods of crisis or extreme pressure. However, if used as your default position you should aim to achieve a better balance between a concern for work and people.

If you are an impoverished manager you are either in the wrong organization and you need to change jobs or you have no interest in management, in which case you need to change careers.

Recognize that a single style will not work in every situation. Therefore remain flexible and adapt your management style to changing circumstances.

Questions to ask

  1. Which leadership style is used by the most respected/successful leaders in my organization?
  2. Does my leadership style reflect or clash with the most popular style in the organization?
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