Studying Leadership

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Studying Leadership
March 26, 2012

Studying Leadership
Leadership is a vital part in any organization. Although there is not one set definition when it comes to leadership, words that are often associated with leadership include guidance, facilitator, and structure (Yukl, 2010). “After a comprehensive review of the leadership literature, Stogdill (1974, p. 259) concluded that ‘there are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept.’” (Yukl, 2010, p. 2). As convoluted as this concept may be, it is undeniable that such a complex behavior is not an easy task. Thus, there are several different approaches to studying leadership. Among these approaches is the situational approach. Situational Approach

The situational leadership theory, developed by Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, focuses on the importance of contextual factors that manipulate leadership practices. “Major situational variables include the characteristics of followers, the nature of the work performed by the leader’s unit, the type of organization, and the nature of the external environment” (Yukl, 2010, p. 14). According to the situational leadership theory, the style of leadership that should be used is based on the maturity level of the followers. There are four types of maturity levels that range from high maturity to low maturity. Based on the maturity level of the group, there are four leadership styles that are appropriate: telling, selling, participating, and delegating (Hersey & Keilty, 1980). Strengths and Weaknesses

The situational approach to studying leadership has been very successful. Determining what type of leadership style upon the maturity level of the group seems to be effective in many situations. However, determining the accurate maturity level of followers may not always be possible. That is where problems can occur. If the maturity level of the group is not correctly determined, the wrong...
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