1. Managing employees effectively: The skill-will matrix

Managing employees effectively: The skill-will matrix

Placing employees on the four quadrants of ‘high skill-high will’; ‘high skill-low will’; ‘low skill-high will’; and ‘low skill-low will’ can help determine the right management approach for given staff members

Published: December 28, 2015 12:02 AM

Management of human resources is one of the imperatives for productivity. Among other tools, the Skill-Will matrix is one of the best. The management tool was made popular by Max Landsberg in his book “The Tao of Coaching”.

The tool is used to determine the best management approach for given staff members. The approach is based on two metrics: the level of their skill and the level of their will. Some crucial questions pertaining to staff management can be answered through this matrix. The person’s reliability on his own work or skills to complete the task, the willingness of the person to complete the task and other such critical questions can be answered by the application of this method.

The theoretical methodology is to place each staff member on a graph formed by the axis of skill and will. Depending on the level of skills, i.e. high or low, and the level of willingness, each member can be plotted on the graph. The four quadrants where the employees can be placed are high skill-high will; high skill-low will; low skill-high will; and low skill-low will. Depending on the position of an individual on the respective quadrants, management strategies can be applied on employee for holistic growth of both employees and the organisation.

For employees with low skill-low will combination, the manager’s role is crucial and comprises of both taking charge and monitoring employees. Supervision of employees implies strong guidelines, control and decision-making.

For employees with high skill-low will, the manager must induce confidence and enthusiasm in the workers and, for that, coaching is needed. The coach should try to motivate employees to take charge of their skills.

For employees with low skill-high will, management ‘support’ is crucial. It should be aimed at directing and channelling an employee’s actions and supporting them on their decisions.

For employees with high skill-high will, delegation is required. Such employees are the easiest to manage. The manager must provide a lot of leeway and responsibilities to such employees, even though the management must follow them closely. To keep up their motivation, challenging goals must be set for them.

The Skill-Will matrix is one of the best methods of managing human resource optimally and the outcomes of this methodology are generally fruitful. However, while utilising this methodology, it must be emphasised that the evaluation is unbiased. For this, the process should be carried out at regular intervals so that the plan of action can be effective and agile.

By Arpit Prakash Mathur

The author is founder & CEO, Talific Consulting

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