The art of managing people has been analysed in great detail by theorists in the past, and commendably so. McGregor was bang on target when he came up with the X and Y approach to managing people. Also, Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton came up with their Management Grid concept, where the X-axis has ‘Concern for Production’ and the Y-axis has ‘Concern for People’. This proved to be a very useful tool to classify leadership styles.
With due respects to the brilliant work done by those mentioned earlier, one would like to make the concept of a Management Grid more contemporary by adding a new dimension, Z. This axis covers our ‘Concern for Ethics and Values’.
Based on the concept of this grid, leadership styles may well be categorized as follows:
1,1,1: Charmless Charlies
One can only wish their organizations the best of luck.
9,1,1: Road Rollers
They would achieve a target by ruthlessly crushing anything that comes in their way.
1,9,1: Sponge Comforters
As long as employees have an identity crisis, they are in high demand, ready with a bucket and a towel to listen to their woes and comfort them.
9,9,1: Arsonist Achievers
Under them, short-term goals would get achieved. Means be damned.
1,1,9: Missionary Zealots
Saint-like souls who have willy-nilly ventured into the business world.
9,1,9: Crazy Conformists
Those working under them could soon get referred to a lunatic asylum.
1,9,9: Armchair Revolutionists
They could be assets to political outfits owing an allegiance to some outdated doctrines.
5,5,5: Incompetent Chiefs
A middle-level successful manager on whom greatness has been thrust by a benevolent fate.
9,9,9: Super Leaders
A balanced Chief Executive Officer who leads his team successfully in the long run. To be spotted, head-hunted, and hired without further delay.
When it comes to corporate governance, most businesses are driven more by greed than by the norms of propriety. Compliance with statutory provisions and indulging in tax avoidance rather than blatant tax evasion are given a short shrift. As a repercussion, we end up having more controls and complex laws, thereby making non-compliance even more attractive.
The good news is that there are indeed enlightened businesses and right thinking managers who score high on the Z-axis as well. Such businesses have been around for more than a century and have done well for themselves; they have also given back to society in terms of advanced medical facilities, support to fine arts and sports, and several other Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. The Tata group of India is a shining example of the same.