Leadership is a very valuable concept when it comes to team building and business growth. There are many different leadership models that are prevalent across the globe. The most dynamic leadership model available is situational leadership.
This model is given by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. Blanchard and Hersey did not connect well with the argument that there should be rigid leadership styles and there is ‘one best’ leadership style for every situation faced by the leader. Situational Leadership entails that it is not just the leadership style that matters but also the nature of the situation. It includes the traits and abilities of the leader to handle the situation and not just the leadership guidance that the leader can follow. It is progressive and multi-dimensional.
The model focused on two major components – leadership styles and maturity levels. Leadership style is dictated in terms of relationship with the members of the team/employees and the work given to them. The different styles are – telling, selling, participating and delegating.
The traditional model also gave different maturity levels, ranging from M1 to M4, with M1 being the lowest and M4 the highest. The levels of maturity required can differ from task to task, thus it does not promote a monotonous leadership pattern. It says that a leader must match the levels of maturity with the task at hand and then accordingly work on a leadership style.
Since it is a rather wide leadership style, many theorists have added a lot of framework within it. Daniel Goleman paid a lot of attention on situational leadership and recommended that it should comprise of further six more sub leadership patterns –
- Coaching leadership – the leader focuses on the development of the subordinates as well
- Pacesetting leadership – the leader guides and sets standards and deadlines for the members of his/her team
- Democratic leadership – the leader shares the power of decision making with all the members
- Affiliate leadership – the leader puts the subordinates first in most of the situations
- Authoritative leadership – the leader commands the members of the team
- Coercive leadership – the leader acts as a guide to the subordinates
Goleman suggested that a leader should be a mixture of these six leadership styles and the styles should be followed according to the need of the situation. It is up to the leader to evaluate the situation accurately and choose the style accordingly. This philosophy of ‘leading according to the situation’ provides this leadership model an edge over the other authoritarian and authoritative leadership patterns. Also, the flexibility of this model makes it a successful style to follow.
Situational leadership has been promoted in many workplaces all around the world. Organizations are now training their leaders according to its principles and concepts. A leader who can work through turbulent situations and match the needs of the situation with the abilities of the members of the team is a successful leader; such leaders are required for the growth of an organization. A leader who is trained as per this model can guide his/her team through any situation. Therefore, majority of the leaders and managers are trained to be situational leaders, for the effective development of the team and the organization.