Criticism of Situational Leadership Model

12manage is looking for students!

Situational Leadership
Knowledge Center


Next Topic

Situational Leadership > Forum > Criticism of Situational Leadership Model

Criticism of Situational Leadership Model
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
For me Hersey-Blanchard have, badly, mixed the Managerial Grid and the Tannenbaum-Schmidt Continuum.
Some descriptions are illogical:
  1. Coaching is not a management ‘style’ and doesn't correlate with “Telling”. I consider that the 'Manager' role includes leading (management activities are to do with the task aspects [planning, organising &c.] while leading activities are to do with the people aspects [communicating, motivating &c.] These need to be balanced (Blake-Mouton, Adair et al).
  2. Although the SL model does distinguish between "low", "some" and "high" competence, it doesn't distinguish trained workers from experienced workers. The S1 aspect relates to Trained Worker Standard but the S2/3 aspects seem confused over the Experienced Worker Standard.
    TRAINED WORKER STANDARD is when the person has been trained and is 'competent' in how to do 'it' while concentrating on and thinking about 'it' but not yet sufficiently practised/experienced to do it "unthinkingly".
    EXPERIENCED WORKER STANDARD. When the person has the full (kinesthetic-'muscle sense) 'feel' of 'it' they are at the Experienced Worker Standard. In this sense it refers to physical activities but the concept is also applicable to thinking (managerial, management, leadership) activities in which routines and processes are carried out as a matter of "second nature". For example sub-consciously adapting ones behaviour to the situation and the experience of the person you are working (managing-leading) with.

Analyzing Readiness is not a Problem with SL
Michael Horwitz, Professor, United States, Member
I’m not sure I understand how you describe a problem with SL.
Trained versus experienced only matter when analyzing readiness: is a person able to perform the task at an acceptable and sustainable level? That’s all. Yes or no? Then you look at ability and willingness to further analyze and choose the best approximate behavior that creates movement.

Competence Subcategories Missing in Situational Leadership?
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@Michael Horwitz: The extent to which a person is competent (you call this readiness) or not is one of the 2 main variables that determine how you should lead/manage that person in this job according to the SL model. So it is important.
I think I agree with Maurice that being trained plus having experience in the job at hand is another, higher level of competence than only being trained for the job.
Could a different leadership style be adopted depending on this difference?

Readiness in Situational Leadership is Key
Michael Horwitz, Professor, United States, Member
The first step in the SL model is to determine readiness (not competence) of the follower, which is a defined term and its determination is a described process. It’s a yes or no question that then guides the leader to select the appropriate behavior that meets the followers needs.
It’s about successive approximations and creating movement such that the followers move on the path to being able and willing, what is described in the model as readiness level 4.
Coaching is a behavior that is inside the S2 leadership style as are several other behaviors.
You may choose to disagree, yet it's it this prescriptive process that makes applying the model simple.
It’s not about being perfect because in the world of leadership and management we are not seeking perfect, it's about helping the followers on their path to growth and success.

SL Model Dissonances
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
@Michael Horwitz: Concerns:
1. There are several variations on the style label referents.
2. "Is the person able to perform the task?" "Yes". So they have the ability. On what basis do we "then look at ability..."?
3. The dissonances are too distracting.
How do "Directing", S1 and "Telling", S2, differ?
Do the situations (S1-S4) relate to the same or different times-conditions, e.g. why would (S2) people be demotivated and unwilling to do the task at the time they are learning it?
How does Telling (S2) relate to countering demotivation or equate to Coaching?
If the model is about “readiness” for a style of management rather than adaptability for matching a style to particular competence-commitment levels aren't we simply playing with jargon to create a distinction?
4. Have realised that at S2 the individual is in training (by the Leader via Telling/ Coaching). It is at S3 that the individual is fully trained (i.e. TWS) and at S4 when they are at the EWS.

Special Interest Group Leader

Interested? Sign up for free.

Situational Leadership
Best Practices

Situational Leadership
Knowledge Center


Next Topic

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2019 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.1 - Last updated: 19-9-2019. All names ™ of their owners.