Tannnebaum & Schmidt's Continuum of Leadership Theory (Task, Followers, and Him/Herself)

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Review Tannenbaum & Schmidt's theory and use it to explain why leaders should consider the task, the followers, and their own inclinations when selecting a leadership style.

Tannenbaum and Schmidt's continuum of leadership styles

3 factors must be taken into account before choosing a leadership style

1) TASK:
Factors that should be considered when choosing the right leadership style: - Options available to perform the task i.e. only one best way to do it? Or many possible ways? - Is it a routinely or complex type of task?

- How important or critical is the task to the organisation and; - The timeframe

If a small group of highly skilled workers are performing a flexible task, a more employee-centred leadership would be more appropriate. Possibly a delegating type of leadership style would prove worthy as they are given more responsibility, capability to identify the issue, and resolving it so they can learn for themselves.

But, if the task is specific, critical and with a short time frame for instance, a more authoritative approach would be necessary.

2) FOLLOWERS or EMPLOYEES:
Employee related factors in choosing a leadership style:
- Which leadership style are the employees comfortable with
- How much independence and responsibility do they desire?
- Amount of followers
- Their competency and willingness and;
- How well they work with each other

If for instance, the staff are used to participative (sharing type of leadership), and expect it, an autocratic (a teller, or seller) would find it difficult to gain their cooperation.

3) LEADER or PERSON THEMSELF
In choosing the right leadership style:
- Leader him/herself must be comfortable with the leadership style - Show confidence in that type of style
- Implement an expected type of leadership style
- Conform to cultural norms and;
- Consider the values, traditions and policies

Some people would never be able to implement an autocratic telling style convincingly, while...
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