Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid

The Blake and Mouton managerial grid is a framework that managers can use to identify their particular leadership style.

Understanding the Blake and Mouton managerial grid

The Blake and Mouton managerial grid was created by academics Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964. To find ways to increase managerial efficiency, the pair observed leaders at Exxon and discovered that each could be categorized according to two key dimensions:

  1. Concern for production (task completion), and
  2. Concern for people (support for individuals).

From varying degrees of these two behavioral dimensions arose five leadership styles that are represented in a grid. In the next section, we’ll discuss each of these styles in more detail.

Blake and Mouton’s five leadership styles

Imagine that each dimension is represented on a graph, with concern for production on the x-axis and concern for people on the y-axis. The graph is then split into four quadrants plus a “middle of the road” point in the center.

In total, this defines five leadership styles:

Impoverished management (low concern for people and production)

These are some of the most undesirable leaders who exert the least effort possible to preserve their job or maintain seniority. They tend to promote disharmony, disorganization, and dissatisfaction within the company.

Task management (low concern for people, high concern for production)

These leaders are ultra-focused on task completion with little regard for their subordinates. With a primary focus on productivity, this style results in employee burnout, a lack of motivation and coordination, and high staff turnover.

Middle of the road (medium concern for people and production)

Here, the leader attempts to take a more balanced approach to management. In many cases, however, their efforts may become diluted as they strive to focus on both dimensions simultaneously. This results in average organizational performance at best.

Country club (high concern for people, low concern for production)

Leaders that take a human-centric approach to management. Subordinate well-being may sometimes be given precedence over task completion, deadlines, and general productivity. The main challenge for these leaders is maintaining a professional, somewhat authoritative demeanor while not sacrificing the quality of their personal relationships.

Team management (high concern for people, high concern for production)

Team management is the “model” approach to leadership where employee concerns are respected and heard without impacting productivity. Here, collaborative and motivated teams have clearly defined objectives and are skilled at solving problems or managing conflict. Leadership is clear, direct, fair, and honest. 

Key takeaways:

  • The Blake and Mouton managerial grid is a framework that managers can use to identify their particular leadership style. It was developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964 after observing leader behavior at Exxon.
  • The pair observed that leaders in the company exhibited behavior that could be explained by two key dimensions: concern for production and concern for people.
  • The extent to which each leader exhibits behavior along the two dimensions yields five leadership styles: impoverished management, task management, middle of the road, country club, and team management. Most will agree that the team management style is the most desirable.

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