Syllabus D. Leading And Managing Individuals And Teams D1. Leadership, Management and Supervision

D1e. Leadership Styles and Contexts 5 / 5

Syllabus D1e)

Describe leadership styles and contexts: using the models of Ashridge, and Blake and Mouton.


Blake and Mouton

Robert Blake and Jane Mouton carried out research into managerial behaviour and observed two basic dimensions of leadership: concern for production (or task performance) and concern for people. 

Based on the results of staff questionnaires, managers can then be plotted on Blake and Mouton’s grid.

  • Management impoverished: this manager only makes minimum effort in either area and will make the smallest possible effort required to get the job done.

  • ‘Country Club’ management: this manager is thoughtful and attentive to the needs of the people, which leads to a comfortable friendly organisation atmosphere but very little work is actually achieved.

  • Task management: this manager is only concerned with production and arranges work in such a way that people interference is minimised.

  • 'Middle of the road management': this manager is able to balance the task in hand and motivate the people to achieve these tasks.

  • Team management: this manager integrates the two areas to foster working together and high production to produce true team leadership.

benefits drawbacks
1. the grid shows areas where
management faults can be
identified and can then
provide the basis for training
and for management

2. as an appraisal and
management development
tool to inform managers that
attention to both task and
people is possible and

3. managers can determine how
they are viewed by their

1. the grid assumes that
leadership style can be
categorised into the two
dimensions and that
results can be plotted on
the grid.

2. the position of team
management is accepted
as the best form of
leadership. this may not
be practical or indeed
advisable. in many
industries, concern for the
task may be more
important than concern for
people, and visa versa
and will always depend on
the individual situation.


Research at Ashridge Management College focuses on four different management styles.

  1. Tells (autocratic)

    The manager makes all the decisions and issues instructions which must be obeyed without question.

    • Strengths

      - Quick decisions can be made when required.
      - The most efficient type of leadership for highly programmed work.

    • Weaknesses

      - Communications are one way, neglecting feedback and potential for upward communication or team member input.
      - Does not encourage initiative or commitment from subordinates, merely compliance.

  2. Sells (persuasive)

    The manager still makes all the decisions, but believes that team members must be motivated to accept them in order to carry them out properly.

    • Strengths

      - Team members understand the reason for decisions.
      - Team members may be more committed.
      - Team members may be able to function slightly better in the absence of instruction.

    • Weaknesses

      - Communications are still largely one way.
      - Team members are not necessarily motivated to accept the decision.
      - It still doesn’t encourage initiative or commitment.

  3. Consults (participative)

    The manager confers with the team and takes their views into account, although still retains the final say.

    • Strengths

      - Involves team members in decisions, encouraging motivation through greater interest and involvement.
      - Consensus may be reached, enhancing the acceptability of the decision to team members.
      - The quality of the decision may benefit from the input of those who do the work.
      - Encourages upward communication.

    • Weaknesses

      - May take longer to reach decisions (especially if consensus is sought).
      - Team member input may not enhance the quality of the decision.
      - Consultation can be a façade for a basic ‘sells’ style.

  4. Joins (democratic)

    The leader and the team members make the decision together on the basis of consensus.

    • Strengths

      - Can provide high motivation and commitment from team members.
      - Empowers a team member to take the initiative (e g. in responding flexibly to customer demands and problems).
      - Shares other advantages of the ‘consults’ style (especially where team members can add value).

    • Weaknesses

      - May undermine the authority of the manager.
      - May further lengthen the decision making process.
      - May reduce the quality of the decision because of the politics of decision because of the politics of decision making.