Blake Mouton Leadership Grid states
Impoverished Leadership – Low Production/Low People
This leader is mostly ineffective. He/she has neither a high regard for creating systems for getting the job done, nor for creating a work environment that is satisfying and motivating. The result is disorganization, dissatisfaction and disharmony.
Country Club Leadership – High People/Low Production
This style of leader is most concerned about the needs and feelings of members of his/her team. These people operate under the assumption that as long as team members are happy and secure then they will work hard. What tends to result is a work environment that is very relaxed and fun but where production suffers due to lack of direction and control.
Produce or Perish Leadership – High Production/Low People
Also known as Authoritarian or Compliance Leaders, people in this category believe that employees are simply a means to an end. Employee needs are always secondary to the need for efficient and productive workplaces. This type of leader is very autocratic, has strict work rules, policies, and procedures, and views punishment as the most effective means to motivate employees. (See also our article on Theory X/Theory Y.)
Middle-of-the-Road Leadership – Medium Production/Medium People
This style seems to be a balance of the two competing concerns, and it may at first appear to be an ideal compromise. Therein lies the problem, though: When you compromise, you necessarily give away a bit of each concern, so that neither production nor people needs are fully met. Leaders who use this style settle for average performance and often believe that this is the most anyone can expect.
Team Leadership – High Production/High People
According to the Blake Mouton model, this is the best managerial style. These leaders stress production needs and the needs of the people equally highly.
The premise here is that employees understand the organizations purpose and are involved in determining production needs. When employees are committed to, and have a stake in the organization’s success, their needs and production needs coincide. This creates a team environment based on trust and respect, which leads to high satisfaction and motivation and, as a result, high production. (See also our article on Theory Y .)
Applying the Blake Mouton Managerial Grid
Being aware of the various approaches is the first step in understanding and improving how well you perform as a manager. It is important to understand how you currently operate, so that you can then identify ways of becoming effective in both areas.
Step One: Identify your leadership style
- Think of some recent situations where you were the leader.
- For each of these situations, place yourself on the grid according to where you believe you fit.
Step Two: Identify areas of improvement and develop your leadership skills
- Look at your current leadership approach, and think about whether it suits the context.
- Look at ways that you could improve. Are you settling for ‘middle of the road’ because it is easier than reaching for more?
- Identify ways to get the skills you need to reach the Team Leadership position. These may include involving others in problem solving or improving how you communicate with them, if you feel you are too task-oriented. Or it may mean becoming clearer about scheduling or monitoring project progress if you tend to focus too much on people.
- Continually monitor your performance and watch for situations where you slip back into bad old habits.
Step Three: Put the Grid in Context
It is important to recognize that the Team Leadership style isn’t always the most effective approach in every situation. While the benefits of democratic and participative management are widely accepted, there are times that call for more attention in one area than another.
If your company is in the midst of a merger or some other significant change, it can be acceptable to place a higher emphasis on people than on production. Likewise, when faced with an economic hardship or physical risk, people concerns may be placed on the back burner, for the short-term at least, to achieve high productivity and efficiency.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument consists of thirty pairs of statements. For each pair, the respondent must choose either the A or B item (for example, one item depicts collaborating while the other item describes avoiding). Each pair of statements was specifically designed, through a multi-stage research process, to be equal in social desirability.
The TKI uses two axes (influenced by the Mouton and Blake axes) called “assertiveness” and “cooperativeness.” The TKI identifies five different styles of conflict: Competing (assertive, uncooperative), Avoiding (unassertive, uncooperative), Accommodating (unassertive, cooperative), Collaborating (assertive, cooperative), and Compromising (intermediate assertiveness and cooperativeness). There are some seemingly obvious, but difficult to support, similarities between anger resolution-management style ideas with other tools and theories, such as DISC assessment, Social styles, and even the theory of Five Temperaments, which is based in the theories of ancient Greece.
A similar inventory is the Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory, which is also based on the Mouton-Blake Managerial Grid and identifies five styles of response to conflict.
The TKI can be quickly administered and interpreted, requiring about 15 minutes to answer the questions and about an hour for interpretation by a trainer. Interpretation materials help respondents identify the appropriate use of the styles and help them become more comfortable with styles they are less familiar with. The TKI is widely known and is available in English, French, and Spanish versions.
Compared to some other conflict instruments, the TKI has shown that it reduces the social desirability bias from over 90% to less than 20%. Also, other instruments that do not use a forced-choice format may inadvertently confuse the frequency of using each mode with the amount of conflict in the situation.
Some respondents find the forced choice questionnaire to be frustrating. The questionnaire assumes that all respondents have a similar cultural background. Some trainers report frustration among respondents from minority backgrounds or from outside the United States. Also, the TKI interpretation materials are not extensive. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kilmann_Conflict_Mode_Instrument