In your organization, if you want to manage and develop people, time, and resources effectively, situational leadership is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and practical method. Perhaps you have heard the often repeated saying – A leader’s best actions depend on a wide variety of situational factors. No wonder that leaders often trespass transformational or transactional methods in favor of what they call situational decisions.
Let’s take a look at the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory, and how you can use it in different leadership situations.
The theory states that the leadership styles of successful leaders should be based on the details of the task and the maturity of the people that they are leading, and not adhere to just one style. Thus, depending on how a job can be done successfully, varying degrees of emphasis can be given to the task, and the relationship of the leader with the people he/she is leading.
The theory of Hersey and Blanchard puts forward four styles as:
• Telling (S1): People are told what to do and how to do it by their leaders.
• Selling (S2): Information and direction still comes from the leaders, though more communication takes place with the followers in order to get the team involved.
• Participating (S3): Focus of the leaders is more on the relationship, where they work with the team and share decision-making responsibilities; focus on direction in this case is less.
• Delegating (S4): Most of the responsibility to get the job done is passed onto the follower or group by the leaders, though the latter still monitor the progress, while being less involved in decisions.
Thus, S1 and S2 focus on getting the job done, while development of team members' abilities is given priority in S3 and S4 so that they are able to work independently.
The above mentioned styles should be used based on the maturity of the group or person you are leading. There are four different maturity levels as:
• M1: Lying at the bottom level of the scale, these people lack the skills, knowledge, or confidence to get a job done on their own, and often need to be pushed.
• M2: People at this level might be enthusiastic to work, but they don't possess the requisite skills to do it effectively.
• M3: Though people in this group have more skills than those in M2 and are willing to help with the task, they lack the confidence in their capabilities.
• M4: These people have strong skills and high confidence levels, and can work on their own once they are committed to the task.
How to match maturity level and style?
For M1, M2, M3, and M4, the most appropriate leadership style is S1, S2, S3, and S4 respectively. However, you should consider the maturity of individuals within your team and asses the job on hand before selecting the leadership style.
Very good insight....
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