Situational leadership style is a way of adapting to the requirement of the situations or to the needs of the employees whom one as to influence. The leader shifts his style to suit the situation or the person. It also suggests that not always a single style would work and thus an effective leader has to adapt his/her style to the circumstances.
This model enables a leader to gain a perspective of the situation by exploring the opportunities and analysing the individuals and leading them in most suited way. While adopting this model of leadership three things are to be considered, which include: employee’s competencies, maturity of the employee and complexity of the task in hand.
Four types of leadership style:
There are four types of leadership style in this model: telling, selling, participating, delegating.
- Telling: This style refers to leaders or supervisors who constantly assist their employees by spoon feeding them with every detail and instructions relating to the tasks. They would assist them in ways, procedures and ideas to carry out the task.
- Selling: The leader who encourages ideas and inputs from their employees fall into this category. They involve in two way communication and listen to their employees, thus developing a sense of being valued in minds of their followers.
- Participating: This leader indulges in discussion with the employees about the solutions or ideas to be implemented. They seek opinion on the ways to carry out a particular task from the employees and come to concise decision. The leader focuses at forming a relation with his employees.
- Delegating: This refers to style of assigning tasks and ownerships to the employees and the leader monitors the progress. Delegation of task is the major role played here.
One important clue for leader to see what kind of style to pick would depend on the employees’ maturity; based on that there are four categories:
- D4 – High Competence, High Commitment: These employees sometimes turn to be more efficient in carrying out the tasks than their leaders.
- D3 – High Competence, Variable Commitment: This encompasses employees who are highly competent but inconsistence in their commitment level. They also lack self-confidence, thus hesitate to go and perform.
- D2 – Some Competence, Low Commitment: It suggests that the individual has the required level of competence but still seek help from others to carry out the task due to lack of commitment.
- D1 – Low Competence, High Commitment: Their skill set or competencies may not be to the optimal level but with their greater commitment and confidence level they focus on completing the assigned task and achieve it.
So these two factors, style of leadership and that of the follower has a relation and which serves as the base for situational leadership.