Management Paper: Task vs People Reaction

Leadership Matrix

Leadership Matrix (Photo credit: Don Clark)

I was surprised with my results on this questionnaire. During class, when concern for task versus concern for people was described, I thought I would be considered much more task-oriented than people-oriented (perhaps 7.3). I think the source of the discrepancies between my self-assessment and the results of this questionnaire lie with the number of times I answered occasionally.

My score was only 2 on concern for task and 5 on concern for people. I was not surprised that I would frequently want to keep work moving at a rapid pace and push for increased production. Many of the items that show concern for people seem like they would increase productivity. Permitting members to use their own judgment helps keep people engaged in the task at hand. Giving people the freedom to do their work helps avoid resentment and, if team members are committed to the task, would ensure the work gets done. I think communicating why certain decisions must be made helps people understand why certain tasks must be done so that they will complete what needs to get done.

I had 6 items that I marked as occasionally. Many decisions that are good for production are good for people too. These are often situation-dependent decisions. I would only needle members for greater effort if necessary, always needling might de-motivate team members and never needling might not serve team members that occasionally need a push. Assigning group members to particular tasks might be necessary occasionally; on the other hand, letting team members self-select tasks may occasionally lead to greater job satisfaction. Of course, I would be willing to make changes, but only when necessary. As with assigning tasks, self-selecting a pace may occasionally be best for productivity.

Since I was surprised with my results, I wonder about the validity of the test. Why would my self-assessment be so different from the results of this questionnaire? Was I not thinking about enough specific situations. Perhaps my attitudes, intentions, and actions are not in alignment. If so, I wonder why. I also wonder how effective each manager type can be. I suspect in most cases, as with other aspects of management and organizational behavior, effectiveness is dependent on the situation.

Resources:
Clark, D. R. (2010). Leadership Matrix Survey. Retrieved Dec 11, 2012 from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/matrix.html

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