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The situational leadership model

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Introduction

Situational leadership is interplay between the amounts of direction that a leader allows in: 1) the amount of directive (task) behavior and 2) the amount of relationship behavior (supportive behavior). What this means is that when an individual first begins a new task they require a lot of direction and managerial guidance. As they learn more about the task, the amount of direction decreases until they can make many of the decisions with the manager providing little input. The situational leadership model developed and refined by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard divides the model into four quadrants. An explanation of the four segments is below. Envision starting a new job with many assigned tasks. Fear of the unknown takes hold and feelings of self-doubt rise. How am I going to learn all of this? The situational leadership model, if followed by your new manager, can provide him/her direction to ensure positive reinforced learning. The model is described as a four-block diagram with text inside with an X-axis (bottom) and Y-axis (left) and more text. Below the X-axis is a rectangular object with arrows pointing to the left with more text. Does not mean much yet, but wait for a clearer explanation. ...read more.

Middle

More learning, through increases in development level, allows the leader to use his/her time on other things. The situational leadership model will be further explained utilizing phases that we all went through during our childhood. How we learned to ride a bicycle will be broken down into the four stages. In the directing stage, the leader (usually a parent) provides a lot of direction on how the follower (usually one of their kids) is suppose to mount the bicycle, how to sit, how to hold the handlebars, how to peddle to attain speed so that it does not tilt, and how to turn right and left. The parent approach is slow and involves telling, showing, and doing. This occurs through a lot of verbal communication with little hands-on time for the child. The child does not have the skills developed and lacks the confidence to perform the task alone. The directive behavior is high since the parent is providing many directions and supportive behavior is low since the parent is providing minimal support. This is acceptable since the child is not really performing. As the lessons progress, the parent switches more to the coaching phase by encouraging the child to get on the bicycle. ...read more.

Conclusion

Entering into the coaching phase, follower has gained some confidence through learning but is still unable to perform well on his/her own. This is like the child that thought washing dishes was great because they never had to wash them. After a few lessons, the child got somewhat motivated about wanting to do the dishes. As time progressed, they learned more about the ways to wash and it became a requirement that he/she was the dishes after every meal. Motivation was high and began to decrease. This is the shift to the supporting quadrant, where the follower is able to perform but the motivation (willingness) is falling off. Through the support, encouragement, and praise from the leader motivation returns upon crossing into the delegating stage. Here we have the follower fully motivated and able to perform. In summary, the situational leadership model provides a leader a shifting process for teaching a follower through their varying learning phases. As the follower learns a skill and gains the confidence to perform it alone, the leader reduces the amount of direction and support provide. Both the leader and the follower undergo changes during the learning but the adaptability of each will determine the degree of success. Billy R. Sainz Situational Leadership Management 4314 Pg 1 of 9 ...read more.

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