Organisation : Business Leadership for Industry

Prof. Thomas J. Vanderbeck has written and taught 150 courses in organizational leadership and education at the University of California (Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Irvine, and La Jolla), California State University (Hayward, Stanislaus and San Marcos), San Diego State University, and the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, Houston, Northern Kentucky, North Carolina, South Florida, and Utah.

Clients include America On Line, Bose Stereo, Hewlett-Packard Printer Design, Lenoir Police Department, Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals, Premier Commercial Builders, San Diego Crime Commission and TRW Aerospace.

Originally, Tom worked as an electrician with his father at Vanderbeck Electric in Glen Rock, New Jersey; and later built models and special effects for Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, and the Spruce Goose Project in New York City.

Thomas James Vanderbeck, High Performance Leadership

University Heights, San Diego, CA  USA

TVELM@Cox.net    Home: +1 619-546-6626 (Noon to 8pm, PST)


There seems to be a common belief among executives, supervisors, and “bosses” that associates and employees are solely accountable for their own growth, achievement, professional development, and success as they work in an organization.

This illusion enables leaders to abdicate accountability for purposefully developing independent achievers and peak performers. Our field research reveals that this practice retards staff development, inhibits team collaboration, restricts effective achievement of critical tasks, and dramatically diminishes profitability.

In times of economic turbulence, business construction leaders may be wise to learn and employ innovative leadership processes that will enable them to be pro-active in addressing the challenges inherent in increasingly complex and competitive commercial, government, and residential markets.

The Enlightened Leadership Matrix delivers a proven, comprehensive, and profit-driven methodology for quantifying all levels of organizational performance, determining straightforward responses to complex management challenges, and confidently planning and conducting precise, timely, and results-focused leadership intervention strategies that result in maximizing business results and profitability.

In every situation in which a job Boss (project manager, supervisor, foreman, or team leader) wants to make sure that a Tradesman (journeyman, apprentice, or helper) properly achieves a specific construction task, the Boss must first carefully observe the tradesman’s currently demonstrated performance level. That performance level can then be assessed as one of four combinations of competence and commitment, called Development Levels.

The Boss must then respond with the most appropriate of six leadership styles (below) to advance the Tradesman’s demonstrated competence and commitment in all relevant construction knowledge, codes, planning, and building skills.

Most Tradesmen (journeymen, apprentices, and helpers) will not have been trained in this leadership method, will be unaware of their own Development Levels, and cannot be expected to be accountable for determining what leadership style(s) they need from their Boss(s). This is especially so as Tradesmen face so many new challenges in learning and mastering construction knowledge, skills, and codes. As these Tradesmen learn and grow professionally, they will necessarily experience significant time advancing through the four Development Levels. 

So, the Bosses must be accountable for diagnosing a Tradesman’s task-specific Development Level (“D-Level”), and for responding with the most appropriate and responsive Leadership Style (“Lead-Style”). This means that a Boss must not rely on using one convenient, regular, or fixed leadership style; but rather, become flexible in using any one of six responsively chosen leadership styles. On occasion, a Boss may need to use all six leadership styles, addressing a variety of tradesmen, construction tasks, and job site situations; and all in the course of just one hour!

If a team of Bosses is committed to effectively leading Tradesmen in learning and mastering construction knowledge, skills, and codes, it is critical and essential that these Bosses are consistent in their use of this "Leadership for Construction Bosses" methodology. When the Bosses are not on the same page, and some always use only one leadership style in all situations, while others use inappropriate leadership responses because of unrealistic expectations and/or stress, the effect on the Tradesmen is to retard their development.

There are four aligned sets of Development Level (demonstrated competence and commitment), Leadership Style (responsive structure, direction, and support), and ownership of Accountability.


Enlighted Leadership Matrix

Development Level 1 (D1) - A Tradesman demonstrates low competence and high commitment, and the behaviors of an "enthusiastic beginner".

"This is new and interesting, and I'm eager to learn and master this skill set!"

Leadership Style 1 (S1) - The Boss provides high direction, structure, and low support. He shows and tells the Tradesman exactly how, where, and when to properly achieve the assigned task.

Accountability Factor 1 (A1) - The Boss is entirely Accountable for assessment, assign-ment, orientation, training, goal setting, decision-making, problem solving, evaluations of performance, and documentation..


Development Level 2 (D2) A Tradesman demonstrates some competence and low commitment. During this "disenchanted learner" stage of development, a Tradesman will experience predictable experience of confusion and frustration. Many of us adults have experienced D2 during our first weeks as helpers and apprentices, as we were indoctrinated into military boot camp, when we began having working at our first real job, after several months of marriage, and even after only a few days caring for our first child.

"What have I gotten myself into? This is way more difficult and challenging than I imagined that it would be. I'm not sure that I can do this!"

Leadership Style 2 (S2) The Boss continues to provide structure and high direction. However, the discouragement and temporarily diminished commitment of the D2 Tradesman requires that the Boss additionally provide regular encouragement and consistent high support. 

Accountability Factor 2 (A2) The Boss is still solely Accountable, (as in A1).


Development Level 3 A (D3) Tradesman demonstrates moderate competence and variable commitment. This "rising star" is well on the way to mastering this particular critical task.

"I'm fairly confident now; but still unsure about planning and problem-solving."

Leadership Style 3 (S3) The Boss now provides low direction while maintaining consistent high support. The Boss now begins to collaborate with the Tradesman. The Boss initially takes a strong lead, then becomes a partner, and eventually hands the task off entirely to the Tradesman.

Accountability Factor 3 (A3) The Boss slowly transfers the burden of Accountability to the Tradesman.


Development Level 4 (D4) A Tradesman now consistently demonstrates high competence and high commitment in working alone as an independent achiever.

"I know exactly what I need to do and how to go about it. I'll let you know what resources I need, and when I require any coaching or resources (assistance, tools, and/or building materials."

Leadership Style 4 (S4) The Boss can now delegate to the Tradesman, and provides low direction and low support. The Boss’s primary role is to facilitate and provide for the Tradesman’s sustained independent achievement.  

Accountability Factor 4 (A4) The Tradesman is now Accountable for partnering for performance with the Boss in order to maximize his or her own peak performance.


There are four varieties of Resistance and two best Lead-Style responses.

If a Tradesman at D1 (Enthusiastic Beginner) does not receive adequate S1 (Orientation) and then S1 (Training), he will quickly begin to experience D2 (Disillusioned Learner). At D2, if that Tradesman is not provided with substantial S2 (Coaching), he will experience confusion and frustration. This can lead to Resistance, when demonstrated performance has drifted away from the developmental curve.
 
If a Boss does not first accurately diagnose a Tradesman’s currently demonstrated D-Level, then that Boss will be unable to select and provide the appropriate Leadership Style to the Tradesman. If Bosses (leaders) do not provide Tradesmen (followers) with all necessary orientation, training, and coaching, then their development will be retarded, limited, and delayed. They will have been "set up to fail" as a consequence of inadequate leadership.
 
When a Tradesman demonstrates Resistance, showing little or no competence and commitment, that individual is certainly accountable for his own behavior. However, the Boss is primarily accountable for having created Resistance, because the leader has failed to diagnose the developmental need(s) of the follower and to respond with the appropriate leadership style(s). At this point, the leader becomes entirely accountable for clarifying and resolving the Resistance, and for re-establishing the client on the developmental path to D4.
 
The first three Resistance Factors and the appropriate Lead-Style response.

R1 - Willful ignorance of risk, threat, and safety concerns, or clear and present dangers.
R2 - Non-responsiveness to leadership, coaching and/or counseling.
Lies of commission and omission. Abdicating personal accountability.
R3 - Unwillingness to follow best practices, building codes, or policies and procedures.
Abusing trust. Stealing time, tools, and/or materials. Being covertly dishonest.

Mandate Accountability is necessary in these circumstances.

MA  Mandate Accountability: Bosses imposing MA are accountable for their Tradesman’s compliance with safety policies and emergency procedures, responsiveness to leadership, adherence to best practices and building codes, keeping agreements, maintaining critical standards, following policies and procedures, behaving ethically, and obeying the law.

If a Tradesman demonstrates any behaviors that suggest that indicate that he is at risk regarding R1, R2, and/or R3, it is appropriate and necessary that the Boss observes performance, inquire about questionable behavior, and initiate a detailed conversation with the Tradesman.  The Boss must clearly communicate positive demands and expectations; as well as definite negative logical consequences for failure to comply. The Tradesman’s performance must be scrutinized closely, and in ways that are sometimes unpredictable and random.

MA responds with consistent control, high direction, low support, and close monitoring. This is a take charge and “up against the wall” version of S1. This is extraordinarily necessary and appropriate when a Tradesman demonstrates the triple threat of R1, R2, and R3!

The fourth Resistance Factor and the appropriate Lead-Style response.

R4 - This type of Resistance occurs when a Tradesman is simply unable to perform an assigned critical task; and clearly demonstrates no competence or commitment.

Temporary Unassignment, is appropriate in one panoramic circumstance

TU Temporary Unassignment: On those occasions in which a Boss diagnoses that a Tradesman is unable to achieve a certain task, it is sensible to stop expecting that the Tradesman can or will suddenly somehow succeed. It is time to temporarily unassign that Tradesman, and to investigate the problem.
 
The Boss must discover how the Tradesman’s developmental needs were not properly addressed; and then consider and plan how to re-engage the Tradesman on the developmental path, most likely at D1 (orientation and training); but possibly at D2. In this circumstance, more structured and intensive S1 or S2 than usual will be required.
 
TU provides a corrective intervention with high structure/direction and consistent moderate support. This is an assertive and pro-active form of S2.

Naturally, the ideal remedy for Resistance is its prevention by consistent use of enlightened leadership with deliberate assessment, testing, and verification; followed by timely orientation, training, coaching, and collaborating.
 
Leaders would be wise to invest the time to properly diagnose followers' Development Levels, and to then provide appropriate and adequate S1 (Orientation), S1 (Training), and S2 (Coaching). Then they must be especially scrupulous in providing maximum support (and moderate structure and direction) as these followers cross the "top of the curve" from D2 to D3, at which point leaders can begin collaboration.
 
To be successful and profitable in the construction industry requires that Bosses work together purposefully and accountably to provide responsive and effective leadership for their tradesmen, and to set a positive example by getting their own leadership jobs done right and on schedule, every time. The quality of construction, percentage of first-time inspection passages, and ultimate reputation and profitability of the company are all directly related to the employment of best leadership practices by all levels of Bosses!
 
This program is even more effective if Tradesmen are trained in this system so that they can be involved in discussions about their training needs, developing pro-active skills for self-leadership, and being empowered to coach, cross train, and mentor their co-workers and colleagues by confidently employing Enlightened Leadership.

MATRIX SCORING:  D1 = +1, D2 = +2, D3 = +3, D4 = +4; and R = -4


See the Ed Norton Case study using Tom's Enlightened Leadership Matrix

Ken Blanchard, author of ‘Situational Leadership II" originated the four development levels and four responsive leadership styles. (These are protected by his copyrights and included here with permission.)  Tom Vanderbeck created and developed the Models for Resistance, Temporary Unassignment, and Mandate Accountability; and he originated the Enlightened Leadership Matrix Analysis and Applications System. (These are protected by his copyrights.) 


Copyright Thomas J. Vanderbeck 2010

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