Up to the 1950s, the fledgling studies on leadership theory looked mainly the leader herself – specifically defining various types of leaders. You had the autocratic leader, the democratic leader, the laissez-faire leader, and the charismatic leader.
Then in 1964 Robert Blake and Jane Mouton moved the discussion to an area where it began to focus more on the follower. You can see their creation below – the Blake-Mouton grid – which plots two measurements of leadership against each other on different axes to produce 5 styles of leadership.
Leaders will differ on whether the concern for their team members or the concern for results is more important, and I’m sure we can all think of leaders we have encountered who land at various points on the grid above.
Two successful sporting managers come to my mind when looking at this graph however. Dublin GAA and Liverpool FC are currently not only two slick and successful sporting teams, but also equally adept on the PR front.
Never having played under Jim Gavin or Jurgen Klopp, I amn’t qualified to assess their style of leadership, and can only go on what I read and hear about them. However if this is true, or even approaching the truth, then it is good news. Because not only do they achieve great results, but they do so while keeping the well-being of the people on their teams as a high priority.
It can be done. And it’s something to which we all can aspire.