Situational Leadership, one of the most widely used leadership approaches in the business world today was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in 1969. It is a leadership approach that focuses on leadership in different situations and is based on the premise that different situations demand different kinds of leadership. This approach stresses that a leader has to adapt his style of leadership according to the situation of his group. There are four different leadership styles based on Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model. Although scholars have questioned this style of leadership due to lack of research and obvious biases in initial studies, situational leadership style is regarded as one of the most successful styles due to the adaptive style leaders must display according to the situation and the group or organization’s ability and willingness to perform the task at hand.
Situational Leadership is a leadership theory based on the idea that leaders are most effective when they alter their leadership approach to fit the needs of individual employees as opposed to his own leadership style. This leadership approach is regarded as one of the most effective styles of leadership and is becoming more prevalent in businesses today, due to the more diverse workforces (Kokemuller, 2011). This approach offers four different styles of leadership, which allows the leader to assess each employee’s strengths and weaknesses then determine the best course of action for the task at hand. “These leadership styles are: the directing approach, the coaching approach, the supporting approach, and the delegating approach” (Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Zigarmi; 1985). Given the fact that each employee works differently and require a different type of attention from his or her leader makes this approach more feasible. However, like all other leadership approaches, there are pros and cons to the situational approach.
According to The Situational Leadership Model devised by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey (1969), there is no “one size fits all” approach to leadership. Blanchard and Hersey suggested that depending on the situation, varying levels of “leadership” and “management” are necessary. However, leaders must identify the most important tasks, and then consider the readiness level of their followers by analyzing the group’s ability and willingness. Depending on the level of these variables, leaders must apply the most appropriate leadership style to fit the given situation (Blanchard, 1985). According to Neil Kokemuller (2011), “other variables include: effort from subordinates; skilled employees that understand their roles; an organized work environment; unity in the workplace; availability of resources; and necessary support along with coordination and collaboration with other work groups. The availability of all these variables makes an effective setting for Situational Leadership.”
When the employees lack the appropriate skills and are not highly motivated to perform the task at hand, the leader should use the Directing Approach. This approach requires the leader to define the task at hand in detail as well as define the roles of the employees. In the directing approach, communication is basically one-way. The leader makes all the decisions, closely supervise the employees and sustain a commanding position to ensure the task is completed in an efficient and effective manner.
The next style of leadership under The Situational Leadership Model is the Coaching Approach. This approach is suitable when the followers’ skill set is inadequate to perform the task at hand but they are extremely interested in learning the task and getting the job done. Like the Directing Approach, this approach still requires the leader to define the employees’ roles and the tasks at hand in detail, but the employees are allowed to make suggestions and present their ideas. The...
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