Situational Leadership

What is Situational Leadership?

Situational leadership is tailoring your management style to each specific situation or activity in order to meet the demands of the team or individual team members. Situational Leadership is also called as a flexible or adaptive leadership style that encourages leaders to assess their teams, consider the multiple variables at work, and select the leadership style that best suits their objectives and circumstances.

What is the Situational Leadership Theory?

Situational Leadership Theory, sometimes known as the Situational Leadership Model, was established by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard while working on Organizational Behaviour Management. The situational leadership model's primary tenet is that there is no single "best" leadership style.  

What are the 2 fundamental concepts of Situational Leadership?

The Situational Leadership Model is based on two key concepts: leadership style and a person's or a group's performance readiness level, also known as maturity or development level.  

Note: Situational Leadership grew as one of a related group of two-factor theories of leadership that arose from research conducted at Ohio State University. According to these two-factor theories, leadership style options are made up of a combination of two key variables: task behaviour and relationship behaviour.

What are the 4 situational leadership styles?

Leadership style was defined by Hersey and Blanchard in terms of the amount of task behaviour and relationship behaviour provided to followers. They divided all leadership types into four behavioural categories, dubbed S1 through S4. Three of these styles have different names depending on which version of the model is utilised.  

S4: Delegating

The majority of duty is delegated to the group by the leader. They keep an eye on things but aren't involved in the decision-making process.  

S3: Participating

Leaders are more concerned with building relationships than with giving orders. They collaborate with the team and take turns making decisions.

S2: Selling

Leaders set the tone for the group. However, they make an effort to market their views in order to gain support.

S1: Telling

Leaders instruct their followers on what to do and how to do it.

Also read: 18 attributes of an ideal boss

The appropriate leadership style will be determined by the individual or group being led. M1 through M4 are the four levels of maturity described by the Hersey–Blanchard situational leadership theory:

M4: High level of maturity

Individuals are capable of completing the activity on their own and confident in their abilities. They are capable and willing to not only do the task, but also to take ownership of it.

M3: Medium maturity - higher skills, but a lack of self-assurance

Individuals are prepared and eager to complete the assignment. They have the skills, but they are unsure of themselves.

M2: Medium maturity - limited skills

Individuals are willing to complete the assignment but lack the necessary abilities.

M1: Low maturity

Individuals often lack the information, skills, or confidence to work independently, and they are hesitant to embark on the task.

Also read: 5 things every leader should say

What are the advantages of situational leadership?

Both the leader and the team or organisation can benefit from situational leadership. The following are some of the benefits of this sort of leadership:  

  • Leaders have the freedom to employ whichever leadership style they believe is most appropriate in a given situation.
  • For good leaders who know how to use it, a situational leadership style might be more comfortable.
  • This sort of leadership is extremely straightforward, as all that is required is the ability to assess and respond to changing circumstances.
  • Employees will feel more at ease in a situational leadership setting since the leadership style used will often match their demands.
  • This form of leadership takes into account employees' varied stages of development and helps to address each employee's skill set and needs.

What are the disadvantages of situational leadership?

There are possible pitfalls to applying a situational leadership style within a company, in addition to the benefits. The following are some disadvantages to consider when employing this leadership style:  

  • Since a situational leader may constantly adjust their approach to address the demands of each team or individual, situational leadership may cause uncertainty inside an organisation.  
  • Situational leadership is prone to focusing solely on short-term objectives and, as a result, may ignore long-term objectives.  
  • Because situational leadership is flexible and many task-driven organisations are not, it often does not perform well when repetitive tasks must be completed.  
  • The capacity of a leader to assess an employee's maturity level is crucial in situational leadership. Some leaders are unable to do so effectively and may, as a result, create a leadership style.
  • The capacity of a leader to assess an employee's maturity level is crucial in situational leadership. Some leaders are unable to do so effectively, and as a result, they may deliver a leadership style that is inappropriate for a particular individual or team.

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