Michael McCann, FSMPS, CPSM led an engaging and informative Leadership Lunch on October 23rd. The focus of his lunch was on the Grid Theory of Leadership and how the different styles of leadership may be seen in the actions of the characters in Pleasantville. In the movie, the character David is transported from his 1990s hometown into a black and white 1950s television show, and the film focuses on how his presence changes the environment.
Click here to read more about the October 2015 Leadership Lunch...
Michael prepared handouts for the attendees with a brief questionnaire that provided insight into each person’s leadership style and where they fall on the leadership grid. After everyone had determined their results, Michael shared a presentation that defined the different styles according to the Blake Mouton grid. The grid is based upon two overarching behaviors; concern for people and concern for results. A leader concerned for people focuses on the individual team members’ interests, needs and overall development. If a leader is more results-focused, he or she will focus more on efficiently completing objectives for any given task.
Depending upon how concerned a leader is with either people or results, Blake and Mouton determined that there are seven categories in which a leader may fall. During specific scenes in Pleasantville, Michael highlighted how certain leadership styles manifested themselves in the characters of David, the mayor, the burger shop proprietor and George, the father. Michael broke down the leadership styles into easy to remember qualities, noted below:
Country Club Management: A high concern for people and low concern for results, this style focuses on team member contentment to produce results. While the work environment is relaxed, productivity may suffer from lack of direction.
Team Management: A high concern for both people and results, this is considered the strongest leadership style for overall positive productivity and team satisfaction. As the character of David embraces his leadership role, he evolves from an authoritative leader who wants to keep Pleasantville the same to a team-oriented leader. He encourages the townspeople to ask questions about life beyond Pleasantville and responds through captivating storytelling.
Middle of the Road Management: This style falls in the middle of the grid, with a medium concern for people and results. With a medium concern for both, often the needs of team members are not met and productivity is not as efficient as it could be. The father figure George falls into this category, especially in regard to his wife, Betty. As his wife begins to embrace the changes in Pleasantville, George wants everything to stay the same. His inability to adapt to Betty’s new interests results in mutual dissatisfaction and poor results, as she ultimately leaves him.
Impoverished Management: With a low concern for people and results, this style is ineffective in creating a content work environment and results in poor productivity.
Authoritative/Dictatorial Management: This style has a high concern for results and a low concern for people, where productivity and results are valued much higher than employee satisfaction and personal development. In Pleasantville, the soda shop represents this authoritative environment. The proprietor is dissatisfied that must serve the food as ordered and in a timely manner, as he is a person with many creative aspirations and feels stifled in this rigid environment.
Opportunistic: This style employs manipulation and exploitation in order to get the desired results. Their concern for people and results is not fixed on the leadership grid.
Paternalistic: The paternalistic style of leadership involves praising and supporting the team, but does not appreciate being challenged. The Pleasantville mayor employs this leadership style, as he supports the town before it starts to change. As soon as the town begins to be impacted by color and other adjustments, the mayor fights against these changes and employs strict rules to restore the town to his preference.
A helpful takeaway Michael provided through his analysis of the main character, David, is that one’s leadership style is not fixed. David’s leadership style evolves throughout the film, and we are all able to look at our skills and adapt them to be more effective leaders.