Hemphill and Coons' Ohio State Studies provided research on behavioral approaches that emphasize structure and consideration.2 According to their studies, structure describes the extent to which a leader is task-oriented and directs subordinates’ work activities toward goal achievement. This includes organizing work, giving structure to work context, defining role responsibilities and scheduling work activities. Consideration describes the extent to which a leader is sensitive to subordinates, respects their ideas and feelings, and establishes mutual trust. It includes building camaraderie, respect, trust and liking between leaders and followers. The Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) was developed as a result of Hemphill and Coons' research.
In 1960, Cartwright and Zander conducted what is known as the University of Michigan Studies.3 Their research established behavioral approaches that emphasize employee and production orientations. Employee orientation mirrors consideration; production orientation mirrors structure. In the studies, employee orientation describes the behavior of leaders who approach subordinates with a strong human relations emphasis. They take an interest in workers as human beings, value their individuality, and give special attention to their personal needs. Production orientation refers to leadership behaviors that stress the technical and production aspects of a job.
The Managerial Leadership Grid established by Blake and Mouton in 1964 emphasizes concern for production and concern for people.4 Their grid portrays five major leadership styles, including authority-compliance, country club management, impoverished management, middle-of-the-road management and team management. The managerial leadership grid is an example of a practical model of leadership that is based on the two major leadership behaviors: task and relationship. According to Northouse, it closely parallels the ideas and findings that emerged in the Ohio State and University of Michigan studies.
The five major Leadership Grid styles include:
This style is results driven, where people are regarded as tools to that end. The 9,1 leader is often seen as controlling, demanding, hard-driving and overpowering.
Country Club Management (1,9)
This style represents low concern for task accomplishment coupled with high concern for interpersonal relationships.
Impoverished Management (1,1)
This style is representative of a leader who is unconcerned with both the task and interpersonal relationships. This type of leader goes through the motions of being a leader, but acts uninvolved and withdrawn.
Middle-of-the-Road Management (5,5)
Describes leaders who are compromisers, who have an immediate concern for the task and an intermediate concern for the people who do the task. The 5,5 leader avoids conflict and emphasizes moderate levels of production and interpersonal relationships.
Team Management (9,9)
This style places a strong emphasis on both task and interpersonal relationships. It promotes a high degree of participation and teamwork in the organization, and satisfies a basic need in employees to be involved and committed to their work.
Where do you think Ben falls within this behavioral matrix? He basically started off as a 9,1 (Authority-Compliance Management), where his emphasis was on task orientation. Once he got organizational staff back on track regarding the new policy and protocol changes, he moved to 9,9 (Team Management). While his focus was still on task accomplishment, he modified his behavior and leadership style to build strong, motivated, cohesive, collaborative relationships both within and outside his EMS organization.
According to Daft,5 the behavioral approach says that anyone who adopts appropriate behavior can be a good leader. Behaviors can be learned responsively and enable leadership to be accessible to all members of a team or organization. Our behavior as EMS leaders is important, and we must be aware of how we apply our behavior and how it is perceived by our EMS team members. The behavioral approach provides us with a broad conceptual map that is useful in gaining an understanding of our own leadership behaviors.1 I believe you will agree that negative behavior is counter- productive to building and sustaining an effective operational environment. Our patient care and emergency response teams need to function in an environment conducive to organizational success and building respectful relationships. Your behavior as a leader is very important in maintaining a successful and effective EMS organization and team environment.