Stephenís Self-Assessment Arcade

Task and Relationship Maturity

This is a tool for analyzing work performance. The idea is to locate where a person is in terms of the four statements on the matrix. For example, a person who does not understand how to perform a task, but views criticism as criticism of his performance, rather than of himself, is in the upper left quadrant. This person has low task maturity, but high relationship maturity.
From a personal development perspective, the objective is to get into the upper-right quadrant. If you can locate yourself on the matrix, you can better understand what you need to do.

When managing others, the objective is to relate to them in their current quadrant while helping those who are not already there move to the upper-right quadrant.

Task Maturity

Of the two dimensions, task maturity is the most specific. For example, a person might be a very effective accountant, with a highly developed task maturity, but the same person might be starting from zero when joining a fund-raising committee for a volunteer organization.

Experience shows that the most effective way to increase a personís task maturity is to give him a challenging task and be available to provide guidance, but avoid the temptation to rescue unless a catastrophic error threatens. This does not mean the removal of reporting and controls, but it does proscribe micromanagement. Tell him what you want, not how.

Relationship Maturity

A person having task maturity has the capability to perform the work on her own. Whether or not she will perform the work she is capable of depends on her relationship maturity. Sustained high performance requires a self-actualizing working mode.

At low levels of relationship maturity, the individual effectively perform independently because his self-worth is tied to othersí opinion of his work. He may be very needy when on task, may procrastinate or engage in avoidance behavior, and will almost certainly take negative feedback personally. Mr. Humphrey cites an example of an electrical engineer who, although well trained, responded to assignments by attempting to prove why they could not be completed.

A person operating at a high level of relationship maturity can separate criticism of his work from criticism of him. He will be able to approach new assignments without fearing their outcome. He will be able to work independently, not requiring routine feedback on work well within his capability.

Situations where teachers, supervisors and managers complain about someoneís attitude should be examined for relationship immaturity.

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coverManaging Technical People : Innovation, Teamwork, and the Software Process

Last modified Monday, 14-Jul-2014 16:38:19 EDT

The matrix on this page is from the above cited book.
All contents not otherwise identified copyright © 2001 Stephen Rojak. All rights reserved.
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