Situational model of leadership is a factor that emphasizes the behavior of the leaders regarding different situations. Specifically, situational leadership theories or model is known to be a utilized, effective and the most recognized style of leadership. The beginning of this model was originally stated in the situational leadership theory proposed by Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in the early 1980’s or late 1970’s. This theory will also be discussed on this page along with multiple other theories that comprise influence on this factor. At some point, these theories are helping millions of individuals across the globe, to recognize their potential, effectiveness, and leadership nature and utilize available resources with the aim to create a role model for upcoming times in the organizational environment.
Situational Leadership Theories
Situational leadership theories are those leadership theories that emphasize certain specific situation that may cause lack of success. Actually, the lack of success regarding identification of efficient leadership style gave birth to the idea of situation factors as an effective and specific style of leadership. While on the other hand, contingency leadership theories are also similar to the situational leadership theories. The contingency theories cover a set of instructions for behaviors of leaders regarding relevant situations.
Fielder’s Contingency Model
It is a situational approach developed by Fred Fielder along with his companions, associates and subordinates. In this contingency model, Fielder introduced a new scale, named as LPC which is an abbreviation of Least Preferred Coworker, to measure the leadership efficiency and effectiveness of a leader. LPC Orientation of a leader is a personality trait that can be measured using LPC Scale. The scale contains 1 to 8 ratings for the leader of the individual with whom the leader may work least well. Typically, the interpretation of the LPC Scale seemed controversial, but nowadays, an orthodox interpretation has been found. There are two points on LPC Scale that are Low-LPC Leaders, and High-LPC Leaders.
Low LPC Leaders: – The Low-LPC point elaborates the least preferred coworker in similarly negative terms, whereas these leaders seem to be task-oriented.
High-LPC Leaders: – The High-LPC point elaborates the least preferred coworker in similar positive terms, whereas these leaders seem to be employee-oriented.
Fred Fielder argued that the LPC Orientation management style is hard to change, so this makes it very critical to compare the personality and approach of the leader with relative situation factors. Taking this step very carefully shall lead to success. Further, following are a few key points that help in matching a leader’s personality with the situation entirely.
- To elaborate the level of situational control of the leader, the situation must be assessed properly.
- The most necessary as well as important situational element is a leader-member relation or in simple words, the relation by which a leader has strong group member’s support.
Besides, there are two other terms introduced by Fred Fielder, i.e. task structure and position power.
Task Structure: – The neat specification of the task with respect to goals, manners of performance and methods.
Position Power: – It is a limited quantity of the power or authority which is handed over to the leader in order to accomplish assigned tasks or organizational goals.
Regarding situational performance, Low-LPC leaders are either extremely low favorable or high favorable on the basis of the particular situation and tend to do the best. While on the other hand, High-LPC leaders are moderate favorable.
The Normative Leadership Theory
It is a model that helps leaders in assessing such influential situational factors that comprise direct impact on the extent to which the leader should involve associate and subordinates for a specific decision. There are a few management methods for five different types stated in this model with the aim to solve group problems easily.
- Autocratic (I): – The leader solves the problem and makes a decision by self using available information.
- Autocratic (II): – The leader obtains information from subordinates or associates without involving them and eventually makes a decision by self.
- Consultative (I): – The leader shares the problems and relative information with a specific group of subordinates individually and then makes a decision that may or not be suggested by subordinates.
- Consultative (II): – The leader gets recommendations and ideas from subordinates through arranging a group gathering where the leader makes the decision by self.
- Group (II): – The leader shares the problem with a group of subordinates and asks their different views and solutions to solve the problem.
These all five types can also be termed as AI, AII, CI, CII and GII. Along with the five types, a relative questionnaire was also given featuring eight different questions that will surely help the leader to know which type to choose from above given five. The questions are:
- What is the importance of the technical quality associated with the decision?
- What is the importance of subordinate’s commitment to the decision?
- Does the leader know required information in order to make the effective decision?
- Whether the problem is well structured or not?
- Would subordinates be committed to the decision if the leader makes the decision by self?
- Do the subordinates hold the right to share goals in solving the specific problem?
- Is there any conflict among subordinates?
- Whether the subordinates know sufficient information to make an effective decision?
The Situational Leadership Theory
As mentioned above, the Situational Leadership Theory was originally proposed by Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. The basis of the theory is the assumption that the leaders need to perform changes in their behavior depending on the willingness or readiness of the followers. There were two dimensions in which the leader’s behavior is considered to be independent, i.e. Task Behavior and Relationship Behavior, which are stated below.
- Task Behavior is a term where the leader gets engaged in sorting out responsibilities and duties of a group or an individual.
- Relationship Behavior is a term where the leader gets engaged in multi-way or two-way communication.
Further, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard also introduced four levels of readiness in classification as from low to high that determine the effective leadership style. The following are the four main levels of readiness named as telling, selling, participating, and delegating.
- Telling level is used in certain low readiness conditions when followers are not able and willing to obtain the responsibility for any particular task.
- Selling is used in certain low to moderate readiness conditions where followers are not capable of a certain responsibility, but are confident and willing to get it.
- Participating is used in certain moderate to high readiness conditions where followers are able for the opportunity but are unwilling to get it.
- Delegating is used in certain high readiness conditions where followers are able, highly confident and willing to obtain the responsibility.