Advantages And Disadvantages Explained
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It is up to a strong leader to ensure that he brings out the best in his team.
A leader has to walk alongside the team, taking charge when required. He can’t be rigid in his conduct or have a fixed strategy that he refuses to change. After all, a team comprises of all sorts of people. This is why situational leadership is said to be the ideal tactic to succeed.
Situational leadership is adopted by organisations worldwide to achieve the following goals;
- Enhance productivity by bringing out the best in people
- Establish rapport among teams
- Develop workgroups
What Is Situational Leadership?
So what is a situational leader required to do? How can he incorporate situational leadership theory into his conduct?
Understanding what is situational leadership is imperative if you want to take your team to greater heights. In essence, the situational leadership theory teaches us that no style of leadership is best. A situational leader has to adapt to the type of leading depending on the work environment and the team’s requirements.
The skills of the leader are not as critical as his ability to understand the requirements of his team and organisation. Sometimes, you have to sit back and let other team members take charge and present their ideas. At other times, you have to pull back the reins and take control. Knowing when to adapt which strategy is what situational leadership is all about.
Experts in situational leadership theory have identified four factors for the leaders. These should be considered while analysing a situation.
The Relationship Between The Leaders And Team Members
The interpersonal and social relations can help a leader decide which approach would work best for the team.
The Task At Hand
The nature and complexity of the job determine how the leader should proceed to complete it successfully.
How much power the leader has in his hands influences how seriously the team members take him.
The leader should consider the maturity level of each team member before giving anyone a task
Understanding The Situational Leadership Theory
The situational leadership theory was developed by Dr. Kenneth Blanchard, the writer of “One-Minute Manager, and Dr. Paul Hersey, the author of “The Situational Leader.” Thus, it is also called the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory.
According to the developers, typically, there are four leadership styles. These include;
- Telling wherein the leader tells his team what to do and the process to be followed
- Selling in which case the leader sells his message and idea to the team members and prompts them to follow the process
- Participating during which the leader takes a backseat and lets the members come up with ideas and decisions
- Delegating wherein the leader doesn’t get too involved, and the team members are responsible for their actions.
The appropriate leadership style depends on the maturity level of the team members.
The four levels of maturity include;
- Level 1: the members don’t have the knowledge or skills to complete the job
- Level 2: although the members are willing to do the task, they don’t have the skills
- Level 3: the team members have the ability and willingness to complete the task but don’t want to take the responsibility
- Level 4: the team members are competent and enthusiastic to complete the job
Kenneth Blanchard further developed the situational leadership theory. The revised version states that situational leaders should decide their approach as per the team members’ development.
The Ideal Situational Leadership Styles
As we discuss, a leader needs to know when to pull back and when to take the command into his hands. He has to be capable of both directing and supporting.
Directing implies that the leader gives specific instructions for the team members to follow. Thus, he is in total control. On the other hand, supporting means that the leader encourages the group members and provides feedback for improvement.
So what is situational leadership? To put it simply, it is knowing when to adopt a particular leadership style. It is to identify when to coach, direct, and support the team.
Situational Leadership Advantages And Disadvantages
No phenomenon yields the same results for all. Indeed, situational leadership advantages and disadvantages tell us that everything has two sides. What you need to ensure is that the pros outweigh the cons.
Benefits Of Situational Leadership
- The leaders have the freedom to decide the leadership style to adapt. They take the team members’ competence, maturity, and attitude into account.
- Situational leadership makes it easier for the leader to carry the whole team forward.
- Adapting to this leadership style is simple as you only need to analyse the situation and adjust accordingly.
- It creates a more comfortable working environment for all.
- It brings forth the strengths of all the employees and lets the organisation know their skill levels.
The pitfalls of situational leadership
As incredulous as it might sound, sometimes, situational leadership can pose problems as well.
For one thing, it can be a source of confusion within the organisation since there is no consistency. The leader can change approach in various situations tailoring it according to an individual’s needs. Thus, the organisation might have a hard time predicting the reactions in a particular case.
Situational leadership theory is mostly based on short-term goals. Sometimes, long-term goals end up suffering.
A situational leader has to judge the maturity level of the team member. Not everyone has this ability. As a result, sometimes, the style doesn’t suit a particular member.
Conclusion on Situational Leadership
Situational leadership is all about flexibility. It is about easing the employees into a change. It focuses on building a rapport with the team members.
Situational leaders are strategic thinkers. They understand their team well and can counter any challenge. They get the work done and hence are ideal for leading a team to success.
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