Situational Leadership

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Leadership is as much a function of the situation in which the participants find themselves as it is of the characteristic of a leader. (Discuss)

The characteristics of a leader are most important; however, one needs to take into consideration that different situations call for different types of leadership. Previous research by Luccier & Achua (2010) states that different situations need different types of leadership. Therefore, leadership, organisational culture, situational leadership, personality and other traits need to be defined. Furthermore, an exploration of the impact of situations in relation to the characteristics of a leader and/or their leadership style shall be discussed, as will argue how this impacts upon the organisation and its leadership. A discussion of what abilities should be displayed by a leader in different situations, especially in education will ensue.

Evidence suggests (Palmer 2011) that leadership changes its meaning, revealing different thoughts as well as different viewpoints. It “is the influencing process of leaders and followers to achieve organisational objectives through change” (Luccier & Achua 2010, p6.) Daft (2005) highlights that there is a connection between leaders and followers, and the goals they wish to attain. In other words, leadership affects power or control, and it takes place amongst people, and those people wanting critical change (Richard & Andrew, (2009). Above all, leadership is about motivating “confidence and support” who are required to realise the objectives of the organisation (Palmer 2011; Dubrin, 2004, p.3)

A number of writers have defined traits as “distinguishing personal characteristics” of a leader for example honesty, appearance, intelligence and self-confidence. (Luccier & Achua 2010 p 33; Palmer 2011; Samson &Draft 2003) Personality is the mixture (combination) of traits in regards to specific behaviour. In other words, personality is character, and it affects our decisions. (Palmer 2011; Luccier & Achua, 2004, p.29)

Organisation culture relates to a collection of, standards, and understandings shared by members of an organisation, including new members. (Richard & Andrew 2009) In addition, it is viewed as a “shared mental model” or “social glue” that brings an organisation together. (Luccier &Achua 2010; p.370) The staff at a school, led by a Principal should possess such a model.

Situational leadership is a theory identified by Harsey & Blanchard (1969) that purports that “effective leaders are those that reflect greater change in their leadership style in respect to task orientation and directive orientation in support of individual follower’s abilities and requirements”. Fuchs (2007; p. 15) It is also based on the thought that leadership moves between business followers according to the needs of an individual group at a specific time. (Sousa 2003) Ministers of Education, Principals and Education Department heads should all embrace this theory, so that they can instigate positive development and/or change in their respective organisations.

Leadership style is the mixture or combination of personalities, abilities and behaviours leaders use as they relate with followers. (Luccier & Achua 2010) Observations of followers can suggest the favoured approach or forms of behaviour used by different leaders. (Fuchs (2007) Thus, a school leader would need to know their staff reasonably well to be able to do so.

Organisational success is not only influenced by leadership, but, also by the organisation’s vision, cultural mission and support from the public. However, many specialists argue that strong leadership is very important to organisational needs (Richard & Andrew 2009). Above all, effective leaders are ethos or beliefs makers (Luccier & Achua 2010).

According to Palmer (2011) leadership is the skill to encourage, impact and inspire staff to achieve excellent work, and states that...
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