July 23, 2014

The Skill / Will Matrix

The matrix can be used to assess your employee’s skill and willingness to do a specific task. Based on that assessment, you can choose how to best manage the employee towards success.

An employee is rarely in one quadrant all the time.  An employee will fall into one quadrant or another depending on the task and their

  • Skill: Experience with the task, training, knowledge, and natural talents.
  • Will: Desire or achieve, incentives to do task, security surrounding job, confidence in abilities, and feelings about task (“attitude”)

Guide

  • Be clear regarding expected outcomes (goals) and limitations of time, budget, etc.
  • Discuss and set methods.
  • Check for understanding
  • Identify and provide required training.
  • Accept early mistakes as important “coaching” moments.
  • Give responsibility and authority for the pieces of tasks employee can do.
  • Structure tasks to minimize possible risks to employee and company
  • Provide frequent feedback.
  • Require frequent check-ins (verbal or written) early in the project, but relax control as progress is shown
  • Praise and reward for success

Delegate

  • Be clear regarding expected outcomes (goals) and limitations of time, budget, etc.
  • Involve in decision-making
  • Frequently ask employee for opinions
  • Check for understanding
  • Give responsibility and authority because employee is competent and committed.
  • Provide feedback.
  • Ask for check-ins at key milestones or when employee has questions.
  • Praise and reward for success

Direct

  • Discuss what would motivate employee.   Agree on what is possible.
  • Be clear regarding expected outcomes (goals) and limitations of time, budget, etc.
  • Set clear rules, methods, and deadlines
  • Check for understanding
  • Give responsibility and authority for the pieces of tasks employee can do.
  • Structure tasks for quick wins
  • Identify and provide required training.
  • Provide frequent feedback.
  • Require frequent check-ins (verbal or written) early in the project, but relax control as progress is shown.
  • Praise and reward for success

Excite

  • Discuss why task is important and why employee is best choice.
  • Discuss what would motivate employee.   Agree on what is possible.
  • Be clear regarding expected outcomes (goals) and limitations of time, budget, etc.
  • Check for understanding
  • Give responsibility and authority because employee is competent
  • Provide frequent feedback.
  • Require frequent check-ins (verbal or written)
  • Praise and reward for success

Source: The Skill / Will Matrix is an adaptation of Keilty, Goldsmith and Co. Inc. of
Original work by Hershey and Blanchard

cf.: Blanchard’s Four Basic Leadership Styles.
cf.: Participatory Decision Making Styles
cf.: Leadership Style and Power Grid
cf:: Blumberg Model