The Leadership Grid

Robert Blake and Jane Mouton developed another theory called the Leadership Grid, focusing on production/relationship orientations uncovered in the Ohio State and Michigan University studies. They went a little further by creating a grid based on Leaders' concern for people (relationships) and production (tasks).

The grid combines "concern for production" with "concern for people" and presents five alternative behavioral styles of leadership. An individual who emphasized neither production was practicing "impoverished management" according to the grid. If a person emphasized concern for people and placed little emphasis on production, he was terms a "country-club" manager.

Conversely, a person who emphasized a concern for production but paid little attention to the concerns of subordinates was a "task" manager. A person who tried to balance concern for production and concern for people was termed a "middle-of-the-road" manager.

Finally, an individual who was able to simultaneously exhibit a high concern for production and a high concern for people was practicing "team management." According to the prescriptions of the grid, team management was the best leadership approach. The Managerial Grid became a major consulting tool and was the basis for a considerable amount of leadership training in the corporate world (Encyclopedia of Management, 2009).

You can find the Leadership Grid at the

In addition to these previously described five alternative behavioral styles of leadership, Blake and his colleagues identified two other styles that incorporate multiple aspects of the grid:

  • Paternalism/Maternalism
  • Opportunism

Paternalism/Maternalism refers to a leader who acts graciously but does so for the purpose of goal accomplishment. The leader of this style treats people as of they were dissociated from the task (Northouse, 2007, p.75).

Opportunism refers to a leader who acts using any combination of the basic five styles for the purpose of personal advancement. 

It is believed that a person usually has a dominant grid style, which she/he uses in most situations, and backup style. The backup style is what the leader reverts to when under pressure, when the usual way of accomplishing things does not work (Northouse, 2007, p.76).

Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009