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Managerial Grid Model

One leadership style does not work in all situations.  A variety of management and leadership styles exist for people in leadership roles, but each individual utilizes a unique style to get work done.  Successful leaders need to understand the pros and cons of various leadership approaches, their impact on the people they command, and the anticipated results.

The Managerial Grid Model developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton, provides a method to understand the various leadership styles and how they work.  The framework is useful for leaders to comprehend their innate management style, and develop skills that they are missing out on.

Leaders need to account for both tasks and people.  The Managerial Grid, or Leadership Grid, is a useful framework to illustrate a leader’s concern for people or concern for results—the 2 dimensions of the model that exhibit an individual’s task versus person inclination.  The model is represented as a grid that plots a leader’s degree of task-centeredness versus person-centeredness on the 4 quadrants of a grid—on X and Y axes.  Each axis of the grid ranges from a score of 1 (Low) to 9 (High).  The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid suggests that when concern for both people and results is high employee engagement and productivity stands out.

The Managerial Grid identified 5 different leadership styles based on the concern for people and the concern for delivering results:

  1. The Impoverished (or Indifferent) Style
  2. The Country Club (or Accommodating) Style
  3. The Produce or Perish (or Dictatorial) Style
  4. The Middle-of-the-Road (or Status Quo) Style
  5. The Team (or Sound) Style

Over the years, the Managerial Grid Model has continued to evolve, and got updated with 2 additional leadership styles:  Paternalistic Style and the Opportunistic Style.

Let’s, now, discuss the first 3 leadership styles further.

Impoverished Management Style 

The impoverished managers have little concern for people and results, and they largely fail in both areas.  The Impoverished manager is typically ineffective, is least interested in developing practices to get the task done and creating an encouraging team environment.  Their work is often sub-optimal and does not meet the organizational requirements.  Their team members do not get proper guidance required to accomplish their jobs appropriately, either.  These managers use this style to keep the job and their seniority level, and strive to safeguard themselves by avoiding getting into trouble.  Their sole concern is not to be held accountable for any mistakes.  Consequently, their decisions making is sluggish and the culture lacks innovation and is marred with inefficiency, discontent, and conflict.

Country Club (or Accommodating) Management

The country club style of management has high value for people but low value for results.  These managers are quite concerned about their team members’ needs and feelings.  In hopes to improve productivity, they keep their teams happy and secure, which results in a fun work culture, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into a productive environment and often results in miserable outcomes owing to lack of direction and control.  The top management is generally not satisfied by the performance of these managers, since their long-term results fall short of expectations.

Produce or Perish (or Dictatorial) Management Style

The dictatorial style of management has high value for results and low value for people.  These managers put the needs of their team members secondary to results, and believe that employees are naturally unmotivated and dislike working.  The authoritative leaders are autocratic, follow strict rules and procedures, and consider punishment a critical method to achieve organizational goals.  This approach can drive impressive performance results in the near term, however, low team morale and motivation eventually knock over employee performance and leads to attrition and retention issues.

Interested in learning more about the 5 leadership styles, the behavioral dimensions, and 7 Key Managerial Behaviors?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on the Managerial Grid Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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