Before talking about the situational leadership theory, lets see what meant by the leader. The leader is a person in the organization who has the ability & power to influence other employees by assisting them in establishing their goals & by supporting them to accomplish those established goals effectively. The process through which the leader performs his functions of assistance & support is called leadership. There are many roles that a leader plays at one time. The leader not only performs the function of supporter in the accomplishment of the goals of other employees but he also Motivates his subordinates along with the tackling of conflicts & other issue of other employees. The potential leader gives a vision about the future direction of the organization to the employees so that the employees feel positive emotions for the achievement of such future direction.
Researchers are trying to find a certain group of traits that are essential for the success of leadership in the organization for many years. Recently, certain basic traits are ascertained that are important for the success of the leader in the organization. These influential traits of the leadership are as follows.
- The desire to lead
- Honesty & Integrity
- Cognitive ability
- Knowledge of the organization
The Leadership Behavior
Studies have been made in the area of leadership to find the most suitable behavior that a leader should show for his success. The main focus is on the conduct of the leader that can influence his followers. Moreover the studies also concentrate on the important functions of leader like how to effectively complete the tasks & how the needs of the group members should be satisfied.
- Initiating Structure & Consideration
The leadership behavior has two important descriptions which are initiating structure & consideration. The studies made in Ohio University provide these concepts. Initiating structure includes the organization of job into different activities, specification of the roles or relationships, the communication channels & the methods of accomplishing the activities. The consideration behavior of leadership is related to the friendship, mutual trust, respect, support & warmth. In certain cases although the subordinates of the considerate leader are more satisfied but the employees’ performance is not affected consistently by the considerate leadership. Similarly the initiating structure cannot affect the performance of the employees consistently.
- Participative & Autocratic Styles
The leader in the organization can show either participative or autocratic style of behavior. The autocratic leader makes decision & solves problems with him with the help of the currently available information. The participative leaders share the issues with their group members or subordinates & he works together with other members to find alternative solutions & agree on any one by consensus.
- Transformational Leadership Behavior
Transformational leader is the one who encourages & get the performance of the employees above the established standards by rooting vision in his subordinates & inspiring them to pursue the vision, develop the motivation & commitment in the employees for the vision & showing the employees a broader picture. The transformational leader is said to be considerate, charismatic, inspirational & stimulating. Another style of leadership is transactional in which the leader concentrates on the completion of the available task & maintain pleasant working relationships with other employees by giving rewards to the good performers in the organization.
Situational Leadership Theory
Following are the important situational theory of the leadership.
- Fiedler’s Contingency Theory of Leadership
Fiedler employed a scale of a least preferred coworker (LPC) for the measurement of the leadership potential by considering the lenient leader who softly evaluates the performance of all his coworkers to obtain a high producing group as compared to another leader who is more discriminating & demanding. Following are three components that determine which leadership style is more effective.
- Position power
- Task Structure
- Leader-member relations
The Fiedler gave the conclusion that when there is unfavorable or favorable situation for the leader, the low LPC, more task oriented leader is suitable. When the situation lies in the middle of the extreme, then a leader with high LPC & more people oriented behavior is more suitable. However, these findings are doubted on the basis of recent researches.
- Path-Goal Leadership Theory
This Situational Leadership theory is presented by the house and it is based on the theory of expectancy. According to this theory, the motivation of an employee for any specified task is based on the perception of that employee that he posses the potential to accomplish that task along with his desire also. This theory explains that the leader in the organization should give the rewards to the employees who perform very well & the path of performing the effective performance should be made easier. The style of the leadership should be based on the available situation so the leader should have flexibility in them to adopt any particular style.
- Leader-Member Exchange Theory
According to this situational leadership theory (LMX), the leader in the organization adopts different styles of leadership for different members of the same group of employees. All the followers or members of the group are categorized as out-group members or in-group members by the leader. The perception of the leader about the similarity of attitude & extroversion of the followers provides the basis for maintaining the quality of leader-member exchange. This theory shows that the in-group should be kept more inclusive by the leader; the followers of the leader should concentrate more on the similarity of their attitudes so that they can be categorized into the in-group members.