In this paper the team was asked to discuss the similarities and differences of the four situational leadership models. In the following paper I will discuss the SLT models which are Fielder’s Contingency Model, Vroom, Yetton and Jago Model, House’s Path-Goal Model, and Hersey-Blanchard theory. I will define the theories as well as compare and contrast the SLT models.
Introduction to Situational Leadership Styles
The situational theory model addresses the fact that “one size does not fit all” in the realm of leadership styles. There is no single best approach to manage a workforce; rather it is about choosing the appropriate leadership style for the right people to maximize communication and performance. Employee’s motivation is driven by a manager’s capability to adapt to their workforce and culture. These four SLT models combine a range of managerial styles that are tailored to adapt to the different personalities within an organization. Some are more flexible than others. Overall, they seek to expand the knowledge base on leadership theories and provides a more modern approach to understanding effective leadership models compared to the traditional model that states the same leadership tactics will be effective across the entire organization (Irgens, O. M. 1995). The following sections will provide insight into each of the models. Based on Fiedler’s theory, a leader’s behavior is dependent upon the favorability of the leadership situation. Three factors work together to determine how favorable a situation is to a leader.
These are: Leader-member relations – The degree to which the leaders is trusted and liked by the group members, and the willingness of the group members to follow the leader’s guidance. Task structure – The degree, to which the group’s task has been described as structured or unstructured, has been clearly defined and the extent to which it can be carried out by detailed instructions. Position power – The power of the leader by virtue of the organizational position and the degree to which the leader can exercise authority on group members in order to comply with and accept his direction and leadership (Ivancevich, Konopaske & Matteson, 2011). The biggest criticism this model has faced is that it is considered rigid because he believed one’s natural leadership style is fixed rather than being so adaptable to employees and that one’s position of power plays a role in one’s task and position. Leaders are suited based on their leadership style in which they are categorized as either task-oriented or relationship oriented. According to of the Vroom, Yetton and Jago Model, there are 3 leadership styles described below.
Autocratic Type 1 (AI) – Leader makes own decision using information that is readily available to him at the time. This type is completely autocratic. Autocratic Type 2 (AII) – Leader collects required information from followers, then makes decision alone. Problem or decision may or may not be informed to followers. Here, followers’ involvement is just providing information. Consultative Type 1 (CI) – Leader shares problem to relevant followers individually and seeks their ideas and suggestions and makes decision alone. Here followers do not meet each other and the leader’s decision may or may not reflect his followers’ influence. So, here follower’s involvement is at the level of providing alternatives individually (Vroom, 2003). Leaders have five styles of leadership in which they can either group or individual decisions. House’s Path-Goal Model the four The four leadership styles are: Directive: Here the leader provides guidelines, lets subordinates know what is expected of them, sets performance standards for them, and controls behavior when performance standards are not met. He makes judicious use of rewards and disciplinary action. The style is the same as task-oriented one.
Supportive: The leader is friendly towards subordinates and displays personal concern for their needs, welfare, and well-being. This style is the same as people-oriented leadership. Participative: The leader believes in group decision-making and shares information with subordinates. He consults his subordinates on important decisions related to work, task goals, and paths to resolve goals. Achievement-oriented: The leader sets challenging goals and encourages employees to reach their peak performance. The leader believes that employees are responsible enough to accomplish challenging goals. This is the same as goal-setting theory (“House’s path goal,”). This theory has a correlation between an employee’s effort and performance I which the employees believe the leader behavior is affected by their productivity. The term servant leadership guides leaders as they coach and develop their workforce through encouragement, and proper training, and tools to do their job. Based on the Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Models there are four leadership styles listed below.
Telling (S1) – Leaders tell their people exactly what to do, and how to do it and considered task oriented in nature. Selling (S2) – Leaders still provide information and direction, but there’s more communication with followers. Leaders “sell” their message to get the team on board. This is also considered task oriented in nature. Participating (S3) – Leaders focus more on the relationship and less on direction. The leader works with the team, and shares decision-making responsibilities. This is considered individual development. Delegating (S4) – Leaders pass most of the responsibility onto the follower or group. The leaders still monitor progress, but they’re less involved in decisions. This is also considered more individual development (Ivancevich, Konopaske & Matteson, 2011).
According to the SLT Theory, the appropriate leadership style selected by the manager is based on the amount of direction and socio-emotional support the manager provides given the level of maturity and the situation. There are some critics that question if this is an effective model because there is not conclusive evidence that support the model. There is also question about how adaptable can a manager truly be to fit the needs of each employee? The outlook for the approach has been well received by leadership in various organizations because it does train newly positioned manager to think like a leader. (Ivancevich, Konopaske & Matteson, 2011) In looking at the similarities, much of the research about these theories reveal that they all have in common a focus on the dynamics of leadership, they have expanded the research field for leadership theories, and they also are viewed as highly controversial based on the lack of supportive evidence to validate the data (Ivancevich, Konopaske & Matteson, 2011).
In conclusion, these theories all are a means to provide a means as to how managers can encourage and support their employees while connecting with them in terms of their personality and skill set. The ultimate goal of each one is to make a clear and concise guide for employees to follow so as to reduce setbacks or miscommunication about performing a task and to reward those who meet the expectations. There is still much research to be done on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of all the models discussed but they do provide a general road map to help leader’s better manager their human capital.
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