The four important Situational Leadership styles that were created by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard are those of Delegating, Participating, Selling and Telling. (Chapter 8, Leadership)
This model is significant and important because of the fact that it is basically a contingency theory that has as its primary focus the followers of the instructions that the situational leader gives them. The reality is that the effectiveness of the leader can only be judges by the willingness and ability of the followers to follow the instructions. (Effective Leadership in the 21st Century - Part. 1) the four concepts of Delegating, Participating, Selling and Telling in fact form the basis of the 'maturity curve' that is laid over the 'four box model' that has as its vertical axis the 'Supportive Behavior', and as its horizontal axis the 'Directive Behavior' that must be followed by the situational leader in order to achieve the maximum effort out of his various followers. (Kenneth Blanchard)
Is it possible to match a manager's leadership style to his employees' readiness levels, and how can this be achieved? It is a fact that most organizations have employees with different levels of abilities, capabilities, skills, willingness to learn and to adapt, and the person who is in charge or is the leader os the group of employees must remember this. Situational leadership is a concept that helps these leaders to match the appropriate and exact management style of leadership with the capabilities and skills of their employees. This means that when the leaders use those management styles that would best suit their followers, as would suit each and every individual follower, in fact, a more efficient and an ultimately more productive team would be built. How can the readiness levels of each employee be determined? There are several easy to follow steps recommended for the purpose, and the first one is that the leader must at the outset determine the specific job tasks for each job title that he is in charge of managing, and after this, he must limit the number of tasks for each title to a maximum of three or four very important ones, and then go about assessing and analyzing the readiness levels of each and every employee within the organization.
Since the leader would be already aware of the fact that the readiness of the employee may be assessed by the two most important features of 'willingness' and 'skill' of the employee, he would be able to learn whether the employee has the ability as well as the desire to do the job to the best of his ability. Four specific areas must be evaluated for the purpose of determining whether the employee's skill levels are at the levels that are actually required by the organization. These are: has the employee had sufficient training with which to perform the job well, does he comprehend the job that he is supposed to perform, would he be able to apply the tasks as he is required to, does he have the experience needed to finish the job well, and so on.
The employee's will can also be determined by a set of conditions, and these are: does the employee have the initiative required to complete the task that has been given to him, does he demonstrate the initiative that is required, does the organization provide a 'safety net' on which the employee can fall back in case he fails at his given task, and is he confident enough to trust himself and his ability to perform the task satisfactorily? When the leader also evaluates the employee's innate readiness to perform the given tasks too, then he would be more successful a leader, because he would then discover the different types of readiness levels of the employee that are: low will/low skill, low skill / high will, high skill/low will, high skill/high will. With this in mind, the leader can assess and group his employees, and allocate the various tasks within the organization according to the readiness and the willingness and the capabilities of his followers. In a nutshell, the management and the leadership style must be altered according to the needs of the employees, and this is what would ensure the continued success of the situational leader. (Tips to help you maximize your Group's performance)
The leader would not only be able to decide on the objective that he wants to accomplish within the firm, but would also be able to assess the readiness levels of the group that he must motivate, and then decide on the particular style of leadership techniques that he must utilize in order to get the best out of his followers. When the leader has accomplished all the above and then motivated the followers, he would then be able to assess the results of his leadership, and then decide on what he has been able to accomplish as a leader, and finally decide on the type of follow up action he must follow, if any is required. A good situational leader would be able to lead the organization in an efficient and effective manner, and when he follows the model developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard, he would be acknowledged as one of the best leaders.
Boyens, John. Tips to help you maximize your Group's performance. Nashville Business Journal. February 28, 2003. Retrieved at http://www.boyens.com/articles/item.asp?id=113Accessed on 24 February, 2005
Chapter 8, Leadership. Retrieved at http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:pzqifEl1a5cJ:www.oup.co.uk/pdf/bt/fincham/Chapter8.pdf+Delegating,+Participating,+Selling+and+Telling+management+styles&hl=enAccessed on 23 February, 2005
Famous Models, Situational Leadership. 1999. Retrieved at http://www.chimaeraconsulting.com/sitleader.htm. Accessed on 23 February, 2005
Holverson, Michelle. Effective Leadership in the 21st Century - Part. 1. We Lead Online Magazine. Retrieved at http://www.leadingtoday.org/Onmag/sepoct04/mh-sepoct04.html. Accessed on 23 February, 2005
Kenneth Blanchard. Retrieved at http://www.theworkingmanager.com/articles/detail.asp?ArticleNo=293Accessed on 24 February, 2005
Situational Leadership, Balancing Tasks and Relationships. Retrieved at http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:WtuJvpgRONgJ:www.oznet.ksu.edu/LEADS/FACT%2520Sheets/. Accessed on 23 February, 2005