The Leadership Grid and Situational Leadership.

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Introduction

The Leadership Grid and Situational Leadership Though lacking in empirical research, leadership theories can teach managers how to become more flexible and efficient in a variety of situations. Popular leadership theories of the day include The Leadership grid by Blake and Mouton, and situational theories like Fiedler's Contingency Model, the Path-Goal theory originated by Robert House, and Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership theory. The Leadership Grid by Blake and Mouton uses a grid to show a range of management styles. The Leadership Grid provides a framework for understanding different types of leadership styles and consists of two behavioral dimensions; concern for production and concern for people. The grid identifies five different leadership styles according to a manager's emphasis on the two differing dimensions. Blake and Mouton suggest that managers with a high concern for production and a high concern for people characterize the most effective leadership style. The theory of the grid takes leadership beyond mere trait analysis to examine behaviors of effective managers. The basic two-dimensional model, however, fails to account for the endless combinations of organizational settings, situations, and leadership orientations that managers will encounter throughout their career. These two approaches, concern for production and concern for people, together show that there is no best style of leadership. In fact, situational theories tell us that effective leadership depends on the situation at hand. They require us to interact with our employees. They encourage us to listen, to involve, to coach, to develop, to enrich, to motivate, to risk, to credit, to care, and to express concern for those that we manage. Situational theories include the Contingency Model, the Path-Goal theory, and the Situational Leadership theory.

Middle

* leaders motivate people to get things done-mostly through persuasion * leaders provide a vision * leadership is facilitation; leaders empower people to do what they want There are problems with all of these but overall they convey the notion that we expect a leader to influence through noncoercive means, to produce some degree of cooeprative effort, and to pursue goals that transcend his or her own narrow self-interest. Leadership and Management: Are they the same? Intuitively we sense that a good leader may be a poor manager and a good manager need not be a leader. Bennis and Nanus suggested that "managers do things right and leaders do the right thing." We should be careful in taking the difference too far or else we will end up thinking of leaders having to be like Patton and managers unimaginative clods. We do expect our managers to be leaders to some degree. A more realistic approach: the leader isn't always a hero Certainly Hollywood creates a distorted and romanticized view of the leader as hero: Star Wars' Luke Skywalker, Stallone's Rocky, George C. Scott's Patton are examples. It is important to recognize that leadership is situational and relational. Some simple generalizations are: * the myth of leader as hero focuses too much on the leader as a person, and too little on the context in which leadership plays itself out. The context influences both what leaders must do and what they can do. Given the vast range of situations leaders face, it is unwise to try to create one single formula for leadership * leadership as relationship: Popular myths also convey the notion that leadership is one way-leader to follower.

Conclusion

* Structural Leaders focus on structure, strategy, environment; focus on implementation, experimentation, adapatation * Human Resource Leaders believe in people and communicate that belief; they are visible and * * accessible; they empower, increase participation, support, share information, and move decision making down into the organization * Political leaders clarify what they want and what they can get; they assess the distribution of power and interests; they build linkages to other stakeholders; use persuasion first, then negotiation and coercion only if necessary * Symbolic leaders view organizations as a stage or theater to play certain roles and give impressions; these leaders use symbols to capture attention; they try to frame experience by providing pplausible interpreations of experiences; finally they discover and communicate a vision Any one of these approaches alone would be inadequate. Similarly the literature and popular myths about leadership tend to focus on one. Today much attention is focused on the leader as visionary (here symbolic). This model suggests that we should be very conscious of all four approaches and not just rely on one. At a particular time a structural leader may be far more effective than a visionary leader. We also need to understand ourselves. Each of us tends to have a preferred approach. We need to be conscious of this and aware of the limitations of our favored approach. Conclusion Leadership theory has moved from trait approaches, to behavioral approaches, to contingency and situational models. It probably makes most sense to forget about finding universal "truths" about leadership. Leadership at the executive level is different from leadership at mid-management, which is different than first line leadership

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