¶ … leadership is a theory, developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, that argues "successful leaders should change their leadership styles based on the maturity of the people they're leading and the details of the task" (MindTools, 2014). This contrasts with most views prevailing in leadership scholarship, which tend to argue that leaders will have one leadership style. The underlying argument that Hersey and Blanchard are making is that in this world, there are so many different situations that arise that a single leader with just one leadership style will never be as effective as a leader who can adapt his/her style to suit the situation.
According to the Hersey-Blanchard situational leadership theory, there are four main leadership styles -- telling, selling, participating and delegating. These are then applied to four different maturity levels. The authors argue that at the lowest maturity level, the leader needs to focus on telling/directing, and then this goes up to a high maturity level where people can work on their own. Those people require leadership that is focused on delegating (MindTools, 2014). The middle levels require...
At maturity level three, which is where a lot of people are, participating is required. The participating leader "focuses on the relationship and direction, working with the team and sharing decision-making responsibilities" (MindTools, 2014).
In healthcare, there is no one leadership style that is appropriate. This is pretty much the principle of situational leadership, because task behavior is also an important variable, but also because the different employees have differing maturity levels. Most workers in health care are at least at the second level of maturity, which is characterized by followers who are willing to work on a task but maybe need help to complete it properly. For many jobs, there is a high learning curve, so many employees start at this level and move up to level 3. At level 2, situational leadership calls for "selling," where the leader explains the decision, the rationale, and seeks to motivate people that way. There might also be some teaching involved, a holdover from the lowest maturity level, but that depends on whether the task is high directive or low directive (Schermerhorn, 1997).
Many workers still fall into the third maturity level, which is characterized as "followers who are willing to help with the task, have the skills, but maybe lack the confidence." One would think that in the health care setting most people would have confidence but my experience is that unless the task is low directive (i.e. routine) most workers…
Nursing The greatest challenges facing nursing leadership and the profession as a whole include, but are not limited to, "highly political environments, budget reductions, changing reimbursement patterns, staffing shortages, and rapidly evolving technological advances," (Schmidt, 2006, p. 34). In addition to these environmental and organizational challenges, nurses and nurse leaders contend with issues related to communications, public relations, and personal psychological barriers to greatness. Nurses are endowed with more formal and
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